Posted on April 1, 2018
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Went Crazy Analyzing a Movie
Hello everybody! This week I was tasked with a couple of readings and watchings. In this post, I will reflect on all of these. SO STRAP IN.
To begin this week I read Roger Ebert’s “How To Read A Movie” article. I found this article very interesting, especially Ebert’s strong axis theory which demonstrates that placement in shots has a deeper meaning. What really resonated with me about this article is the fact that Ebert taught himself movie analysis. I relate to this as for the most part I self teach myself various skills (e.g. audio, video and movie editing). Moreover, Ebert’s notion of being loose when analyzing films hit home for me. I think what he was trying to say was that everything has layered meanings and sometimes things just have no meaning. It really depends.
The first watching I did was a compilation of Stanley Kubrick’s use of One-Point Perspective. This camera technique gives a tunnel vision effect to the shot. It also forces you to focus on the center and realize the importance of the object/person at the center.
The next video I watched was a compilation of Quentin Tarantino’s from Below shots. What I learned from watching these videos was that this effect demonstrates a person’s power. It also gives a foreboding feeling to the scene. In most of Tarantino’s movies, the from Below technique is used in place of a dead body so we can see others reactions to the corpse.
Another video I watched was the Top 20 Cinematic Techniques. Out of this list, I had a few favorite techniques. I loved the limitless zoom a lot. It is definitely a little much, but really cool simultaneously. Through this video I also understood what an Establishing Shot is. Before, I had no idea that it had a name. My last favorite from this video was the dutch angle. I liked the effect of it, especially that it led to sense that world was off somehow.
The last short video I watched was Hitchcock Loves Bikinis. I learned in this video that content matters. What happens in between a man smiling can make him either a creep or a sweet old man. This demonstration really impacted me as I saw how little changes influence the overall video.
The movie I watched this week was “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Honestly, I have watched some very weird shit (looks directly at Frank), but this really took it out there. It really did take me an hour after watching the film to absorb what I saw.
Martha tasked us to analyze a scene from the movies we chose. So, I decided to break down the Doomsday Machine scene in “Dr. Strangelove.” Below is my video.
I was actually surprised at how many concepts from my above readings/watchings were in the video. Mainly, Roger Ebert’s strong axis theory and the from below shots. I really did enjoy “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” I think that it’s off the wall humor worked very well. I mean, everything is so serious in the film, and then a character dies because he is sitting on a missile while it drops and he SWINGS HIS FUCKIN COWBOY HAT.
I was literally cackling. I do have to say that the movie was weirdly realistic and that really drew me in. The characters were almost familiar (e.g. the General being the typical overly patriotic man) and this led me to get more invested in the plot.
Well, that is it for now folks. Thanks for tuning in, I’ll catch you on the flipside.