Cinematic blend between subjective and objective POV

In February I read a great analysis of camera movements in Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows posted by digifruitella from filmschoolthrucommentaries. Particularly interesting was camera movement no. 6. It’s a nice and surprising blend between character’s subjective POV and our objective POV.

…is a nice blend of geography, and subjective shot. When Antoine walks into the room and it cuts to this, you have the camera slightly dollying and panning as if to show you the eyes and the physical movement of Antoine, before the shot goes from subjective (Antoine’s eyes, and ours as an audience) to an objective one with him walking into a frame. Two birds with one stone…

Now, I noticed the same camera technique at the beginning of Skyfall directed by Sam Mendes. Traditionally, you would cut on the character, then to his POV and then back to the character (to make it clear that the shot in between is his POV). However this blend is much better, it’s more effective. If you can say more than one thing in one camera movement (what the character sees, how he moves and where we are), than why not to do it?

Clearly, there were also other directors to use this technique – watch the video below:

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that these directors used the same camera technique as Truffaut did, but maybe not. Maybe they know their stuff really well…:-)

Looking closer in Skyfall

Skyfall was directed by my favorite director Sam Mendes, who by the way directed my beloved American Beauty. American Beauty is a very cinematic movie, because everything (staging, costumes, colors etc.) was carefully planned and elaborated. You just have to LOOK CLOSER to see it. The movie is also rich in symbolism, which we’ve discussed at length with my WordPress friend Andrew in the comment section.

Well, Andrew wrote yesterday a great article about the new Bond movie. There is a paragraph that deals with movie symbolism and I thought it would be a great example of cinematic storytelling. So with Andrew’s permission, I copied the aforementioned paragraph:

In my favourite scene for instance, Bond is fighting silhouetted on a rooftop, which speaks volumes to me.  The action is literally not in focus, and instead we get the idea that though we can see that Bond can keep perfect fighting form, when he kills as part of his job he loses his personality.. Boom, subtle art film.

Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall (2012)

In fact, I want to break this scene down even further. Let’s examine it at an artistic level (remember what Sam Mendes taught us in American Beauty …. to LOOK CLOSER!)  We see:

(a) a fight with the aforementioned silhouette implying that Bond has lost his personality, but also

(b) a jellyfish in the background.  Jellyfish, as you are all aware, have no brain.  The director has thus revisited the theme of Bond not knowing whether he should be “a blunt instrument” that acts without using his brain, or “half monk and half hitman” that not only pulls triggers but also knows when not to pull them, a dilemma he has been wrestling with since Casino Royale.

If you liked this post, I highly recommend to read the whole article by Andrew, it’s amazing.