2 Superheros and 1 Super Couple

Subjective Camera

In his work Film, Space, and Mise-en-Scene, Bernard Dick describes subjective camera as a shot which “represents what the character sees”, contrasting an objective shot which “represents what the camera sees” (p. 56). The first application that comes to mind when thinking of this perspective is in horror films. It is very classic of horror film directors to portray the characters doing the horrifying with a subjective camera in order to make the viewer aware that danger lurks and to not give away what it looks like. Despite this typical usage, I immediately thought of the Spiderman series, not a horror film, and this scene with Peter Parker in the high school hallway fighting Flash.

In this scene, subjective camera is used to show Peter Parker acknowledging his newly formed “spidey sense”. This technique works well with this idea because the director is able to clearly inform the audience that Parker is experiencing a supernatural occurrence without him having to divulge it in the form of dialogue.

American Montage

Bernard Dick specially categorizes this style of montage as American because of its extensive use in American films from the 1930’s and 1940’s. In an American Montage, time moves forward at a rapid pace with brief scenes blending into each other (p. 68). The main idea I grasp from montages, and what makes them obvious, is that their is always sound uniting the blending of scenes passing through time. With most movies soundtracks containing created work specifically for movie soundtrack usage, this is a moment in many movies where you will here a song, maybe on radio maybe not, by an outside artist for upwards of 30 seconds. This scene is from the Pixar film Up showing the extend of a relationship.

Talk about the effectiveness of a montage, wow. This scene is so poignant in the film and really shows how dramatic and heartbreaking a montage scene can be in so little time. To be able to flesh out this much action and character development would be a whole movie series of its own.

Parallel Cut

In his explanation of cuts, Dick very simply says that parallel cuts (crosscutting or intercutting) “presents two actions occurring simultaneously” (p. 70). Currently I am reading a book titled Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen, and Hiaasen makes use of parallel cuts throughout the novel in order to show points of view, but it makes the novel feel a bit jumpy and hard to follow. Movies on the other hand can make use of this technique extremely smoothly by uniting time through dialogue, visual cuts, and audio. Sorry to use yet another superhero movie, but in this scene from The Dark Knight, Rachel and Harvey are in two separate locations and being saved by separate individuals (Batman and Commissioner Gordon) simultaneously.

Combined with an obviously dramatic soundtrack and mushy dialogue between Rachel and Harvey, the parallel cutting back and forth between both parties gives the viewer a strong sense of suspense. The parallel cutting is twofold as well, with Batman and Gordon being shown, and the viewer has no idea who is going to end up saving who. The Joker clearly wins this battle of wit.

Signing off

Will

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