Bernard Dick defines subjective camera as the “shot represents what the character sees” (Dick 56). What this basically means is that the camera is showing the audience what the actor is seeing instead of the entire scene taking place otherwise known as the objective shot. This shot is normally used to convey some kind of message to the audience that could be lost if looked at from the objective angle. One film that is pretty well known for it’s use of subjective camera is Dark Passage (1947). This movies follows escaped convict, Vincent Parry, on his journey to stay free.
This is an important scene for the movie because he undergoes his plastic surgery to change his appearance and hopefully secure his freedom. From Parry’s point of view it is easy to understand his apprehension. The audience feels it because they are put into Parry’s situation of undergoing the obviously illegal, rundown surgery with the somewhat terrifying doctor brandishing the knife and pointing out that he could make the whole thing go terribly wrong. It really makes you feel understand how Parry must really feel that he has no chance of being set free because he is choosing to dive headfirst into this situation the director thrusts the audience into.
Montage is “a series of shots spanning a period of time” (Dick 68). American montage, however, is when “time is collapsed as shots blend together” (68). The difference could seem minimal at first, and it is a little. However, American montage specifically is when the action seems to just be played out by one repetitive thing as time passes, and once this takes place the action can start back up again. My favorite example is one from the movie Up. The American montage portion of the scene takes place within a regular montage scene depicting the story of Carl and Ellie’s life together. At one point there is a skip of many years however the only image shown is Ellie fixing Carl’s tie.
I think this is one of the most heartbreaking montages I have ever seen. It begins by showing them as a young couple full of love and life, and the American montage portion where she fixes his tie for nearly 50 years brings it to an end where they still have both. This montage is important because it shows that their love never wavered. It proves their devotion and love for each other, which makes the end of the scene that much harder.
Cross cutting is when two actions that are occurring at the same time are “presented” to the audience (Dick 70). What this means is that two significant events are taking place in the movie and are being show back to back. This creates an immediate tie between the two events for the audience and allows them to look closer at each scene for the important correlations. One of the most chilling examples for me is in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King when Pippen is signing for Lord Denethor, who has just sent his final son into battle.
The use of cross cutting here was a fantastic choice because it clearly demonstrates the lack of concern Lord Denethor has for his remaining son, especially when he knows it is unlikely he will return. The way he eats the food, basically ripping it apart with red bloodlike juice running down his face, is a clear indicator of how the battle is going to go for the men he has just sent to meet the army awaiting them, disgustingly. The look of concern on Pippen’s face compared to the complete lack of interest on Denethor’s compared to the look of determination on the young captain’s face tells a story in and of itself.