Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'Watching' Documentary: RESEARCH

In class we watched the 'Watching' documentary on film openings and title sequences. It taught us a variety of techniques used to make the opening to a movie successful and famous directors who used specific techniques to make their opening 'seductive'.

Thomas Sutcliffe says "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible". By this Sutcliffe means that the first 5 minutes of a movie are crucially important. It makes the audience want to watch on, therefore drawing them in. This is usually done through 'a great sharp shock' or an out-bust of some sort, shocking the audience into watching on.

According to director Jean Jacques Beineix, there are many risks of 'constant arousal'. Such as if the audience's full attention is instantly grabbed at the start of the film, a film maker may find it difficult to try and maintain the audiences attention for the rest of the film that follows the title sequence. This is a key factor for film makers when making a film, as there is always the need to make sure that if the title sequence is a 'constant arousal' the rest of the film must need to keep the audience's interest too. 

Critic Stanley Kauffman describes a 'Classic Opening' as a film that begins with an establishing shot, following onto a window shot and a character shot. By doing so the film follows the characters life and establishes the setting straight away. This is done in the attempt of introducing the nature of the story to the audience, however classic openings tend to insinuate long stories and sagas.

Kyle Cooper's title sequence to thriller 'Seven' is so effective because, it sets the audience up for what is to come in the film and what type of movie to expect. It wakes the audiences up with its sharpness, and foreshadows certain events which are to come in the film and subtlely begins to explain the story.

Orson Welles wanted to achieve a certain affect with his opening to the film 'A Touch of Evil'. He wanted to plunge the audience straight into the film with no titles. However this controversial opening caused an outbust as Universal were unhappy with this as they wanted recognition in his film. Universal won the fight and managaed to get credits in 'A Touch of Evil'.
"A favourite trick of Film Noir" is a film which begins with an opening which seems like an ending. For example something dramatic happen to start of the movie, which instanly grabs the audiences attention.  
A final title sequence that we have analysed many a time is that of 'The Shining'. In the opening the camera stays fixed on a car driving through the mountains, to a place in the middle of nowhere. As the car goes further and further into the mountains, the tension building music gets louder and more dramatic. The car is being filmed from high up above, almost as if something or someone is watching over and following it. This builds a huge sense of suspense as we feel uneasy by the dramatic music and the car being in the middle of nowhere. This sets us up for what is to come in the film and connotes the danger that is yet to come.

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