Through the Eyes of a Director

Subjective Camera

Subjective Camera, or Point-of-View Camera, represents showing the viewer what the character or actor sees (Dick 56). By comparison, objective camera merely shows the viewer what the camera sees (56). One benefit of using subjective camera is that the viewer becomes part of the movie, seeing only what the actor sees. A good example of this technique is from the The Graduate. In this scene, the viewer sees life through the main character, Ben Braddock’s, eyes. 

The use of subjective camera adds to viewer’s understanding of Benjamin. The viewer feels trapped inside, both in the mind of Benjamin and in the wet suit. This technique, within the context of this movie, conveys a sense of frustration. Because this scene is at the beginning of the movie, it is extremely important that the viewer is able to understand Benjamin’s life and what he goes through on a daily basis.

American Montage

Dick describes a montage as a “series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular order” (Dick 68). While that definition may seem somewhat vague, he goes on to add in a montage sequence, “the shots are arranged so that they follow each other in rapid succession, telescoping an event…into a couple of seconds of screen time” (68). American montage is a form of montage that was popular during the 1930s and 1940s (68). American montages were most commonly used in the form of spinning newspapers or calendar pages flipping across the scene (68). However, any technique that elapses longer periods of time while still conveying an idea is acceptable. Because American montages have gone out of style, they are less common in movies today. Check out this clip taken from the classic 1942 movie starring Bing Crosby, Holiday Inn.

At this point in the film the main character, Bing Crosby, decided to quit his show business job to run an inn only open on holidays. While he initially thinks of the new venture as a retirement opportunity, the clip shows tedious and labor intensive work that is required to run the inn. By showing the tasks in an American montage, the director adds emphasis to the amount of work Crosby must do to get the inn up and running. These tasks are not just one time chores, instead they are done on a very regular basis. Additionally, by putting the clips into a montage, the director saves valuable time and money that he could use for other scenes. Instead of drawing out each day and each task, he combines them to quickly make his point.

Cross-Cutting

Cross-cutting or parallel cutting “presents two actions occurring simultaneously” (Dick 70). Instead of having to finish one scene before moving on to another, the director chooses to switch off cutting into each scene to run them at the same time. Used correctly, the two events appear to be going on at the same time. Director Wilson Yip uses cross-cutting in his 2008 film, Ip Man to connect the main character’s training to his fights.

Because the protagonist is in both scenes, the director is not trying to make it seem like the two events are happening at the same time. However, he chooses to use cross-cutting to add dramatic effect to the scenes. By combining the scenes, he extends the length of the tournament fight. What may have only been several seconds of actual fighting is extended by adding the training scene. The director also very obviously is trying to tell the viewer that training is crucial for this character. His swift, fluid moves where well thought out and made to perfection through practice. By showing the viewer how meticulous the protagonist is in his training, the director adds addition depth to the character. The protagonist no longer remains just a fighter, but a thinker, and a concise planner.

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