Analysis Project #2

For this blog post analysis I will be discussing the short film we watched in class on 12/2 Hold Me While I’m Naked directed by George Kuchar in 1966.  I will look at the male gaze within the first few minutes minus the opening credits. Here is the link for the short on youtube

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QL3yU3fyxo

 

The first shot opens to an outdoor setting in what looks to be a run down part of New York City. The actress in the film being shot is running a long a chain link fence as George Kuchar (playing himself?) is holding the camera filming her from an eye level medium shot. As she is running Kuchar is directing her telling her to run and look scared. Towards the end of the fence, as Kuchar is trucking the camera alongside the fence until a young man comes into frame. He has his back against the fence as the actress (Donna Kerness) continues running in the background, and eventually out of frame as the shot stops on a close up of the young mans face. There is a sort of uneasy jump cut to the next shot, which is a long shot, where Kerness is running this time along the facade of a different building, she is running pretty clumsily and turns back to see if anyone is chasing or maybe watching her. There is another cut this time to a close up of Kerness, she is still looking to see if there is anybody there either chasing or possibly watching her, she is clearly distraught. She looks in the opposite direction of the camera and there is a cut to a long shot of what looks to be the same young man from earlier leaning on the side of a building, he is staring towards the camera from a distance. It cuts back to The close up of Kerness as she is turning her head back to the camera as if she had noticed the young man was looking at her, then she turns and runs away. The last shot before the title sequence is a close up on Kuchar, at first he is holding a hand held camera up, when he brings it down away from his face there is a huge smile on his face.

 

We can find the male gaze in this sequence, As Donna Kerness is the object, there are two characters gazing upon her: the young man, and George Kuchar, in addition we the audience is gazing upon her. Because Kuchar is behind the camera and she is not looking at him the shot has the voyeur effect on both Kuchar and the audience, as we are taking his point of view. Also the fact that he is speaking loudly to her and telling her what to do gives Kuchar more control over the voyeur effect, as it is his wanting for her to appear to be in more sadistic view. She also seems to not notice the the young man at first, either that or she is running away from him, if he was unnoticed by her, than he too would have a voyeur effect. In the second shot it seems as if Kerness has noticed the male gaze, as she is running she is looking around, but she does not look towards the camera so the audience and Kuchar still have the same voyeur effect. When she noticed the person leaning against the wall Kuchar gives a thumbs up afterwards, almost like its a game and he’s saying that its okay that she knows she’s being watched.

 

After the title sequence the short reopens with another sequence of Kuchar trying to create his film. There are two very similar shots in a row, at the beginning of the first one Kuchar directs the couple to kiss. There are two medium shots of this couple kissing with slight differences in how the actors physically interact with one another, between the two shots is a few frames of missing film, to give the feel that it is just unedited raw footage. The next shot is of the couple together in bed, the shot is from behind a stain glass window. There is a cut to Kuchar where there is silhouette lighting so you can only make out the shadow of his character. He directs the couple to re-do the take but this time Karness must do it with out a top on. They re-do the take and the shot is similar to the previous one, Kuchar interrupts again to tell them they are done for the day and starts to pack up. The couple goes back to what they were doing with out really caring that Kuchar is leaving.

 

This sequence of shots is another great example of the male gaze. The framing in the first to shots makes it feel like we are viewing the couple through a window, the couple starts moving out of frame but the camera does not move to keep the in sight. The framing makes it so that the viewer is like a voyeur looking through a window spying on the couple with out them realizing. The couple is also the object not only that the audience is viewing but we also must remember that Kuchar’s character is included in the off screen action. When Kuchar tells the couple what to do it puts him in control and allows him to see what he wants to see. The same effects of voyeurism from the first to shots also applies to the shots that are through the stained glass, except this time the camera actually is positioned outside of a window. The silhouetted shot of Kuchar adds to the voyeurism also. Because we can’t make out his details it is as if he were hiding filming them in secrecy through their window. Even when he leave they don’t even notice, just like a real voyeur.

 

From the portion of the short that I have analyzed I would definitely agree that Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze is present in the film, how ever i did notice that one part of her theory did not show up in these sequences. That is the “to-be-looked-at-ness”, the male gaze was used mainly in a voyeur sense, the gazer went relatively unnoticed in these shot sequences. But one could argue that in the first sequence when Kerness is running away she is playing into whoever is watching her’s game, by running clumsily and having that damsel in distress look. But all in all I felt that this was an excellent example of the male gaze.

 

 

 

Analysis Project 1

Here is the scene I used from Double Indemnity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r69dQZHjkmY 

1. American shot eye level high key lighting as Neff is trying to enter the house

2. Eye level MS high key lighting of Neff talking to the house keeper

3.Over the shoulder low angle shot of Phyllis coming out of the bedroom slightly key lower key lighting

4.High angle MCU of Neff taking off his hat to introduce himself to Phyllis, high key lighting on his face

5. Medium/long shot of Phyllis walking out in her bath towel, high key lighting on her while the foreground is left mainly dark

 

Shots 4 and 5 repeat a few times while Neff is explaining to Phyllis why he has shown up at her house

 

6. Low angle MS of Phyllis now in high key lighting as her interest in Neff is clearly growing

7. Eye level 2PS of Neff and the housekeeper much lower key lighting then in the last shot. Neff starts walking and the camera pans to follow him into the living room

8.Eye level LS, low key lighting with the shadows of the blinds all over the shot as Neff is still making his way into the living room. Camera pans right as Neff looks around the room. This shot is a longer take then the other shots in sequence (monologue starts here)

9.Over shoulder high angle shot of the pictures of mr diedricson and lola low key lighting venetian shadow

10. LS of Neff in the living room still lurking around feeding the fish. At the end of the shot he walks toward the camera (still has monologue) low key lighting and the venetian shadows are still there, it is a long take

11. This shot is defiantly a long take the shot last nearly 30 seconds. It stars with a close up of Phyllis’s feet coming down the stairs and as she is making progress down the stairs the camera stars dollying back so that more and more of Phyllis is in the shot as each frame goes by until she reaches the bottom of the stairs at which time the camera continues to dolly back now at an eye level medium shot. The camera continues to follow Phyllis as she heads in to the living room as she moves past Neff to the mirror the camera trucks and pans to stay out of the shot in the mirror while keeping the two in frame as Phyllis checks her make up and then walks past Neff again out of the shot while the camera remains on Neff for a few more seconds. The lighting in this shot starts off pretty even as she is coming down the stairs but as she is making her way to the living room the light ratio becomes slightly different with more shadows appearing in the foreground and background but not on Phyllis, then the light ratio evens out a little bit when the to are standing confront of the mirror

12. This is another long take, it starts as a 2PS while Neff may not be in it at the very first second the shot is still framed for a two person shot so it looks natural when Neff enters. Once Neff is seated the camera and the action stays stationary for a good 10 to 15 seconds as Neff and Phyllis are shooting dialogue back at each other. Phyllis stands as she seems to lose interest and the camera pedestals upward and then then pans in both directions as Phyllis paces back and forth in front of the fire place. The lighting starts off pretty even but as Phyllis stands you can see that in some areas of the shot there is a high contrast between light and shadows.

13. A quick eye level MCU of Neff sitting down talking then it cuts back to Phyllis pacing back and forth again until she sits down just as shot 12 had started

14. The same shot of Neff this time a bit tighter with cuts to a similar shot of Phyllis but there is a higher light ratio in her shot.

15. Back to the 2 person shot of them sitting down as in 12 this time again Phyllis rises from her seat but moves away from the camera this time. The camera pedestals and pans and dollys in to follow her until Neff stands up where the shot now becomes an over the shoulder low angle shot of Neff

16-20.Are Shot in interview style never breaking the vector line over the shoulder shots of both Neff and Phyllis as they rapidly fire flirtatious dialogue back at one another.

 

21. The last shot is a long take that starts with an over the shoulder of Neff until he turns to leave in which the camera follows him to the door as the lighting shifts into a lower key lighting ratio until he walks out the door.

In this scene any shot that is more than about 3 or 4 seconds is an important one. The two most important shots in this scene are 11 and 12, these are also two of the longest shots if not the two longest. In these shots it really starts the relationship between Phyllis and Neff, which leads to the development of the plot for this whole movie.

The lighting really sets the mood in the scene most of the lighting around Phyllis is more even and makes her appear to be the center of attention. Also the dialogue in the scene adds to its mood. As the viewer you can easily see that the two are flirting with each other even though phyllis is married, and I think that the Venetian shade shadows do well job of showing this. Its as if the shadows are representing prison bars in the sense that they know they can’t be too flirtatious towards each other.

Citizen Kane Challenge

I am analyzing the scene in Citizen Kane where he dies in the very beginning. Below is a link to Youtube so you can view the clip. The part of the clip i am analyzing is from about 2:23 to 3:00

 

 

Let me start with the shot that has the superimposition of the snow falling over the window. The window is the focal point of the very first two minutes of the movie. In my opinion the window represents Kane an how we the audience are observing him through the window. then when the snow is imposed over the shot of the window that is symbolic of Kane dying, because snow is often related to death. After the dissolve of the snow over the window the shot is then dissolved again to a snow globe. I don’t know what the snow globes connotation is, but it is a good way to show that Kane has died once he drops it. I enjoyed in this shot is how the camera zooms outward very quickly, so quickly that it is not steady, I wonder if this is due to the lack of technology at the time or if Welles wanted it to be like that. What ever the reason may be the zoom is so fast that it makes me feel very unsettled.

Next is the extreme close up of Kane’s mouth saying the infamous “Rosebud” line. Obviously the extreme close up implies importance to the line, it is basically the starting point of the plot for the reporters. Then there is the shot where he drops the snow globe. The snow globe does not break on its first impact nor its second or third. I think this is used to show that Kane was fighting to survive until the very end.

The two next shots after the snow globe exploding may be my favorite two of the whole movie. First there is a long shot of the nurse walking in the door but with this crazy “fish eye-ish” lens on the camera. If some one where to see only these two shots with this lens on the camera out of the whole movie they’d probably think this was some type of psychedelic horror film, and i think that is what Welles wanted out of these shots right after Kane’s death, as if to show that we should be in a state of delusion and confusion.

The next shot is pretty self explanatory but it makes great use of lighting. At first Kane’s body is fully lit and you can’t make out the face on the nurse. But then as she’s laying him to rest for the final time and pulling the sheet over him the shadow follows the sheet and creates only a silhouette of Kane while keeping the nurse in the shadow at the same time. I like the because it is almost symbolic to the point where the viewers feel that the nurse is a grim reaper of some sort.