Monday, May 18, 2015

Cinematic Reality: What is real? PART ELEVEN


Quite often, the "Hollywood way" of doing things is so closely entwined with the idea of fantasy, and artificiality, that filmmakers feel the need to rebel against the Hollywood production model in order to convey reality.

"Real-looking" actors (i.e. "not models"), natural lighting, unmounted cameras, hiccups in editing, discontinuity, drop-outs in audio, improvisation -- are all embraced by these renegade artists as artifacts of true beauty, of true reality, by virtue of their opposition to the Hollywood method.

Such has been the impetus behind many "realisms" and "waves" -- including "Italian Neo-realism," "The French New Wave," "The American New Wave," "The Dogme 95" movement in Denmark, and also the independent movement that took hold of America in the late '80s and early '90s, starting with Steven Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" (1989).

"Sex, Lies, and Videotape" is an excellent example of how pervasive technology (in this case the affordability of consumer camcorders) can become integral to the story itself.  "Sex, lies, and Videotape" capitalizes on the "VHS" culture that was revving up at the time, while being a reaction to the "impersonal" stories seen in big budget movies.

Stanley Kubrick also rebelled against the Hollywood way when he lit "Barry Lyndon" (1975) with candlelight.

Scene Lit by Candles from "Barry Lyndon" (1975)

Scene Lit by Candles from "Barry Lyndon" (1975)

So we can see how directors play with form and content when they rebel against the Hollywood way.

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