Monday, February 19, 2007

Appreciating movies

Not so long ago, I watched an interesting program on one of these movie channels: The Making of Cars. Cars, for the uninitiated, is an animation movie by the best animation company in the world: Pixar Animation Studio. The short feature touched upon many aspects of movie making. The most interesting part I thought was the "script writing and screenplay." Based on the overall story line, how does one come up with the exact sequence of actions and then of course, dialogs? What's the role of a director here in the animation movie?

"We went through a lot of brain storming," the screenplay writer was telling the interviewer. "We took out one of the scenes out of the script, went on gathering as many ideas as possible. It was very interesting to travel to the imaginary world and ask ourselves, 'what would I say if I were so-and-so.' How can we add that simple humour? and so on..."

He explained this with examples too. (he took the example of the scene in which Lightning McQueen goes for a long ride in the countryside with Sally. Lightning McQueen has never ridden for pleasure of riding. He has been always so much concerned with racing and racing alone. This entire scene is important as it changes his attitude towards life. The scene where he comes to the enchanting waterfall is my favourite. So, back to the topic, the design of screenplay involved coming up with the sequence: how these two cars will drive? McQueen first takes lead but soon he finds himself overwhelmed with the sheer beauty of the countryside and lets Sally take the lead. She drives fast, and vrrooom, mud is all over McQueen's face. The leaves are falling and all this creates a wonderful setting. On the bridge over the waterfall, Sally gives McQueen her charming smile. McQueen returns, and there - you see his teeth dirty with the mud... It is such a nice sequence.

Watching such programs teaches how to 'watch' movies (and not only 'see' movies). I watched "Dead Poets Society" the other day, and I could make use of this new outlook immediately! Peter Weir, the Aussie, (director of Gallipoli, The Truman Show, and, Master and Commander) is such a brilliant director! From the camera angles to music, from emotional scenes to a simple scene in which students are sneaking out of their hostel in the night, you could appreciate his technique and brilliance. Unfortunately, in this case only words cannot be sufficient to explain such excellence (probably a video feature could do, but I do not have the means!)...

So, for the time being, the best I can do is watch and appreciate :-)

By the way, there are certain workshops held on the topic of "Film Appreciation." I am looking forward to a session that I can attend. Let's see!

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