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Old November 19th, 2004, 01:09 AM   #1
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Psychological Cinematography

I was wondering if there are articles, books or even you can list films that have this kind of cinematoraphy.

I don't know the correct name for it, but for example in the movie "The Motorcycle Diaries" there is a feel from the cinematography for example when Ernesto and Alberto are riding their bike on dirt road, and its shaking. The shots were done so well, it felt like you were riding on that bike and shaking.

Also I know there is a lot of these things in the movie "The Terminal" If you seen this you will know what I mean.

Well what is this called.. psychology and cinematoraphy mixed together.

I would love to learn more about this.
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Old November 19th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #2
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You're wondering into the translation of states of mind, emotions, and ideas into via cinematic expression. And isn't that what it's all about? Surely books and courses on film theory, in addition to your own experimentation would get you started. Remember, it's ALL psycological. My $0.02. Read what you're favorit filmmakers have to say.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 12:08 AM   #3
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One film that comes to mind that uses stark elements to bring across the mindset of the characters is Natural Born Killers.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 05:22 PM   #4
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Why did you remove your comment, John? POV was a good addition to the thread. Wish I'd thought of it.

Point of View.

"Russian Ark" utilizes camera perspective as first person main character/narrator.

"Julien Donkey-Boy" jumps into my head as a film that seems to work from the fractured perspective of a schizophrenic.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 07:27 PM   #5
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I thought it was as well but it disapeared mysteriously. I guess P - oint O-f V- iew was not a nice thing to say.

Originally a short reply, I guess we get so used to 'surfing by'. I was serious as well.

Anyway, yes. I think the POV shot is one of the tools that can have a affect on the audience, specifically as the one mentioned above in the "The Motorcycle Diaries".

Obviously, this subject is deeper than a POV shot.

I think a films Score can play into the psyche as well (subconciously as well as conciously). Reminds me of the old footage of an old man and there are two different perceptions of his reaction but its the music that keys the response; scary muisc/same response visually and sad music/same response visually.

This is an interesting thread and Im surprised more people havent chimed in on the effects used in film to trigger an audience.
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 07:59 PM   #6
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Absolutely on the soundtrack comment. And not just dramatic music. All aspects of sound temporalize and editorialize on the image/shot.

My man Tarkovsky made rather "psychological" films. He worked very closely with time and reality. Which isn't to say that he was a realist or used a lot gritty handheld motion or anything like that. It had to do with respecting time, our experience of time. His film, Stalker, was shot and cut in a way that kept the sense of real time always fresh. His special effects had more to do with subtle manipulations of time, via cinematography and editing and sparse pockets of dialogue, than with generated entities or sets, although the sets in the film had a lot to do with psychological effect of the piece. I think the moral of my story as it pertains to the thread is that cinema is psychological, you're always dealing with POV and perception, and that you the artist/director/filmmaker create the rules of engagement that you must, in as much detail as possible, then follow.

Psychology depends on many things, not the least of which is convention.
Watch Hitchcock, whether or not you're wanting to
a.) make suspense thrillers
b.) attempt to manipulate your audience so consciously

Psychology also greatly depends on what is seen and of course what is not seen.
A cinematographer must have to make choice after choice about what to "show", and what to imply. Often too this understanding doesn't occur until once in the editing room, when all the layers are once and for all being brought together, and even then, it isn't entirely a conscious process, it isn't always known until it's finished.

Psychology in film relies in part on the context of subsequent images edited together. How do they affect one another?

And psychology depends ultimately on the audience. You can control the response elicited only so much. But you are the creator. You create the rules of engagement.
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Old November 24th, 2004, 06:09 AM   #7
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I removed the post with POV, that's why it is missing. The reason
is that just the word "POV" is not very helpful. Not everyone
(remember there are also non-native english speakers on this
board!) might know what it means as well.

Thank you for your more thorough writeup now!
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Old November 24th, 2004, 06:11 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shawn Mielke :.

Psychology also greatly depends on what is seen and of course what is not seen.
-->>>

I think that's especially true in horror or suspense movies. The Ring scared the mess out of me for the first two thirds of the movie when you never really saw what was happening. At the end of the movie when they have to show you what was happening it all seemed kind of stupid. And then there is the classic don't show too much of Alien.

I hate it when writers/directors have to wrap everything up neatly at the end of the movie. They never leave any mystery. You don't really need to see the head in the box in Seven or Barton Fink, and I think that it adds to the movies that they left it up to me.
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Old November 24th, 2004, 06:38 AM   #9
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Cannon: you have some good points, but I really hated not
knowing what was in the briefcase for "Ronin". Also I though
that it was good in Se7en that they showed the head, that just
added so much to the "bad guy" for me. But I generally agree
with you, a lot of endings just try to wrap it up too much.
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Old November 24th, 2004, 09:48 PM   #10
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Interesting input guys... Just watched Persona, and I see this lots in Bergman's films.


Quote From Sven nykvist,

"Persona" 1966,

"When we came to Persona, we virtually discarded the medium shot. We
went from wide shots to close-ups and vice versa. Ingmar had seen a
certain resemblance between Liv Ullmann and Bibi Anderson,and the idea
had dawned of making a film about identification between two people who
come close together and start to think the same thoughts. The film gave me
the opportunity to explore my fasination with the face, which has earned me
my nickname,'two faces and a teacup'." Sven nykvist
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Old November 24th, 2004, 11:03 PM   #11
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I'm not a fan of not KNOWING what is in the briefcase; whether it be Ronin or Pulp Fiction. I dont like when filmmakers play 'tricks'.
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Old November 25th, 2004, 03:46 AM   #12
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For some reason I had that less with Pulp Fiction. Perhaps it was
the glow that gave you at least something, I don't know... hmmm....
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Old November 25th, 2004, 07:14 AM   #13
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I think that what was in the breifcase wasn't the point. You just knew that they were going to get it back no matter what.
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Old November 25th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #14
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That sort of plot device is called "The McGuffin". Look it up on Google. The point of the story is what the characters will do to get the McGuffin not what the thing actually is.
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Old November 26th, 2004, 02:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for the Nykvist quote, Matt. That's the kind of judgement and psychological shaping of perception in cinema that interests me most. How to shoot two people in such a way that helps the viewer "inhabit" their transpiring relationship, in all of it's complexity. Great stuff. Great great film.
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