Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sight and Sound

Directors, scripts and actors are important, but film is fundamentally an experience of sight and sound. Two recent articles from The Guardian:

One on music in films. The writer criticises Woody Allen's exploitative use of Gershwin in Manhattan.

Because Gershwin's music had already been enshrined in the cultural pantheon for decades, its use in Manhattan seems like an extraordinarily cunning trick, like citing Descartes in a school report and acting like you and René were old drinking buddies. Gershwin is not being recruited here merely to provide ambiance; Gershwin, with assistance from the great cinematographer Gordon Wills, is on hand to evoke the emotions that Allen's screenplay and characters cannot.

The second examines Michael Mann's obsession with architecture and design:

Manhunter is set in Atlanta. White tiles and neat Swiss typography establish the police station as a place of authority, but equally the whiteness and geometry of Lecter's cell is a diagram of depravity, a frame for deadly menace. Meanwhile, over in the serial killer's apartment, there are modernist Alvar Aalto stacking tables, nicely suggestive of tidy-paws preoccupations. A white version of Richard Sapper's low-voltage Tizio desk light coruscates in one scene, next to an old-generation white Bell telephone with a lasciviously curly flex. Everywhere Mann uses architecture to express a psychiatric state.


Manhattan music mystery

Star Vehicles

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