Enter the Toy Story CRASH

I would just like to first start off by saying THANK YOU to the creators of Netflix, because boy do I love films. Not just films though, I love the art of video in general. Since 2005 when YouTube took off, I have been addicted to watching videos. When I was younger, it used to be mainly funny videos: lolcats, hilarious accident videos, cartoon dubs, you name it. But then it developed into watching things more like news clips, Dr. Phil Show and The View clips, mini- documentaries… things that are more educational instead of funny. I would have to say that a lot of the knowledge that I have did not actually come from my school education, but in fact all of the multitudes of videos that I have seen on YouTube and on Netflix. If I am not listening to music (which I frequently am doing), I listen to Netflix TV shows and movies while I am doing other tasks.

As much as I love movies, and have even created some of my own movies and “artsy” videos, I have never thought about looking into the technical terms of film shooting and editing, so I found the reading Film, Space, and Mise-en-Scéne by Bernard Dick to be very interesting. There is a lot of great information, that was pretty accessible to read, concerning how and why certain film techniques are used, and I am going to explain a few of these concepts further by using example clips from films that I have seen.

Subjective Camera

In the reading, Bernard Dick defines subjective camera as showing “what the character sees… [to] offer a one-sided take on reality” (56). Subjective camera is a technique which portrays the events that are taking place through the eyes of the character, from their point-of-view, in order to experience what that character experiences. When I was reading this portion of the chapter, right away I thought of the incredible movie Enter the Void directed by Gaspar Noé. For roughly the whole first quarter of the movie, subjective camera is used to show the main character’s actions when he is walking through the city, talking with friends, tripping on drugs, and ultimately when he gets shot and killed by the police. One of the most memorable scenes when they are using the subjective camera shot, was when the main character is looking into the mirror at himself after his drug trip on DMT.

I think that Noé was brilliant to choose subjective camera for the entire beginning of the movie because not only is it extremely creative, but it makes the viewer feel as if they are in the movie as well, and therefore can feel the same emotions and reactions as the character through which the shot is being seen. When the viewer feels like they are the main character, especially when the character in the movie dies, it holds more weight and significance because the viewer has almost become that person.

American Montage

By Bernard Dick’s definition, American montage is when “time is collapsed as shots blend together, wipe each other away, or are superimposed on each other” (68). American montage shows how things in the shot change over time in a smooth, and subtle, way to where the director can just “cut to the chase” and the viewers understand what happened. Due to the fact that someone used my initial idea of the scene from New Moon where Bella is depressively staring out of the window and watching the seasons and months go by, I decided to use a shorter, simpler example of montage that is from Toy Story. In this clip, Woody sees that Andy has replaced all of his Woody items, with newer Buzz Lightyear items and decorations. The montage is shown at times 0:29-0:35.

Using the American montage for this part of the movie was very effective, especially with the “Strange Things Are Happening to Me” song playing in the background, because in a very simple way it reflected how drastic of a change Andy was making, and how that had an equal amount of impact on Woody and his feelings since he was being completely replaced by Buzz.

Parallel Cut

Bernard Dick describes parallel cut, also known as crosscutting or intercutting, as presenting “two actions simultaneously” (70). A parallel cut will show two events happening within the same space or time in order to provide some foreshadowing so that the viewer can guess what is going to happen, working sort of as a build up to an ultimate action, or also to portray the interconnectedness of the characters and actions within the scene. The movie Crash directed by Paul Haggins is centralized in the notion that all of the events in the film, and all of the characters in the film have some sort of connection to one another that becomes revealed as the movie goes on. Crash has several scenes where parallel cutting is used, but one that comes to mind is when the two Black men are walking down the street, and then it cuts to a White couple, showing how each group of characters react to one another.

Haggins chooses to utilize parallel cutting in this scene in order to establish a dynamic between the characters, and to show multiple reactions and experiences from the different character’s perspectives instead of just one point-of-view on the action.

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