Lingo for the Movie Lover

Subjective Camera

According to Bernard Dick, a “subjective shot represents what the character sees.  This is sometimes referred to as subjective camera” (p. 6).  When trying to explain this concept to someone else, I would say that subjective camera is very similar to a point of view (POV) shot.  You are viewing the scene as if you were a particular character in the movie.  A good example of this is in the movie, Saving Private Ryan, directed by Stephen Spielberg.  The scene starts at 0:53 seconds and ends at 4:02 seconds of the video.  In this scene, there are times when you see the scene through the rifle scope of the German sniper, as if you were seeing it through his eyes.  The film makers use the subjective camera to set up the death of the German sniper who is the source of conflict in the scene.  It is also important because it allows you to see through the eyes of the portrayed enemy of the film.

Linear Temporal Montage

Bernard Dick describes a linear montage as “a montage sequence compressing a decade into ten seconds” (p. 69).  A linear montage is basically taking events that occur over a longer period of time and showing them in short periods of time.  Play some music during the scene and you have yourself a montage.  This training scene from Rocky, directed by John G. Avildsen, is a classic and iconic example of a linear temporal montage.  You see Rocky Balboa, the main character of the film, training for a boxing match.  The scene shows Rocky’s extensive training and preparation in a small amount of time.

Parallel Cut

As defined by Bernard Dick, “parallel cutting (also known as crosscutting or intercutting) presents two actions occurring simultaneously” (p. 70).  If I were explaining this concept to a friend, I would say basically the same thing.  You have two events in the movie that unfold at the same time.  Rather than show one right after the other, you use parallel cutting to switch back and forth between the two events, subsequently showing both as they occur.

An example of parallel cutting is in this scene from Silence of the Lambs, directed by Jonathan Demme.  In this scene, scenes of the set up and execution of an FBI raid are crosscut with scenes of Buffalo Bill interacting with another character in his house.  The filmmakers used this technique in this movie to set up the FBI leader’s realization that they were wrong and that their colleague was right and is now in danger.  This is important because it is a twist and it surprises the audience.

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