Archive for Black Books

Shot/Reverse shot

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by dcairns

From the excellent sitcom Black Books. Series 1, Episode 2. Written by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan, directed by Graham Linehan.

This is as good an illustration of the principle of the eyeline as any I know of. By tricking the audience using shots which appear to match, something quite profound about the way the human mind processes montage is revealed. If I were called Kuleshov or something distinguished like that, I could put it into words. At any rate, the idea that our participation in creating the scene via edits is in any way voluntary would seem to be disproved. The two close-ups compel anybody familiar with film grammar to picture a face-to-face conversation.

And it’s a good joke. (The old lady’s great too.)

For my money, it beats the illustration of the eyeline that unexpectedly appears in the late Satoshi Kon’s PAPRIKA, although that one certainly has its charm (as does the anime reconstruction of ROMAN HOLIDAY).

Maybe breaking rules is the best way of illustrating them. The other clip I use most in discussing dialogue scenes is from INCENSE FOR THE DAMNED, AKA BLOODSUCKERS, a scene which is bad in just about every way possible — it not only provokes all kinds of thoughts about screenwriting, montage, framing, the problems of shooting large groups, and continuity, it gets them hysterical. Which I think is a good way of getting them to remember something. Expect that clip to arrive here soon…

Black Books – The Complete Box Set [DVD]

Paprika [DVD]

Paprika [Blu-ray][Region Free]

The Complete Black Books

Paprika [Blu-ray]

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