· cinema as a frame or as a window ·

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Frame from the short-movie entered by David Lynch (example of cinema used as a frame)

We came across the 53 second movies made by several distinguished film-makers from around the world in 1995. It was for the 100th anniversary of the invention of the Cinématographe camera by the Lumière brothers in 1985. We specially visualised the ones by the Americans directors David Lynch and Spike Lee. Despite being both of them no longer than 53 seconds that is enough time to notice the multiple differences between them.

The one by Spike Lee shows a close-up of a baby just staring at the lock-off camera throughout the entire single shot. It can be heard an off camera voice, which belongs to the actual film-maker, asking the baby to say the word ‘Daddy’. The fact that there are no cut and it is a long take builds up a tense feeling that has almost a magnetic effect on the audience since everyone is paying attention to whether the baby will say ‘daddy’ or not. This intimate scene bears a resemblance to a real family home-made video attempting to document the first words of the baby. Due to the off camera voice directly addressed to the baby, the audience assumes that the camera is also hold by the one talking and therefore it consist of a subjective frame although it is not a mobile shot. Therefore, this short-movie could be categorised as cinema used as a frame despite being an static shot because it is subjective.

For instance, a static single shot that can be considered cinema as a window, is the short-movie entered by the German director Wim Wenders where the two men enter and leave the scene and the camera do not follow them. It is an immobile scene that shows just a fragment of the whole as if the director would have opened a hole in the scene instead of moved the camera around the scene. This sort of cinema is supposed to be more objective since it shows life as it happens.

On the other hand, the short-movie by David Lynch is another good example of cinema as a frame in it is more dramatic way. Lynch makes a series of jump cuts from different scenes to build up the tension and story itself. That is to say that Lynch creates the expectation by cutting rapidly from one scene to another and adding some blank shots in the middle. This constructs a feeling of bewilderment since the movie just shows different key moments of the story and is the audience who needs to add the meaning of what is really going on. It is highly noticeable how in this case the facts, characters, and actions are deliberately brought into frame unlike in the case of Wenders.

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Frame from the short-movie entered by Wim Wenders (example of cinema as a window)

 

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