Reading Film

Creators of film use their unconscious to create scenes. There is no written guide to follow, but rather the individual’s aesthetic desires shape what is created. The same can be said of paintings or music. It’s mostly cultural influences that shape the unconscious mind. By stopping the film, we can catch a glimpse into these unconscious decisions and examine what shaped the filmmaker. Eberts analysis of the left (negative) and right (positive) of movie screens parallels that of Yin and Yang in Taoist thought, of two parallel sides that exist in tandem. They cannot exist without one another, but placing characters on either side can influence our unconscious into characterizing the individual as ‘good’ or ‘evil’, or can simply be used to reflect the feelings that the character has in the scene. This too, is a result of unconscious cultural decisions, how we examine the ‘left’ vs ‘right’ or at what angle the camera is tilted, or the coloring of the scene. Eberts analysis works, but only for films that exist within his same cultural sphere (western), as other cultures would have completely different views on the matter.

Kubrick commonly uses one aspect of filmmaking, that being the one point perspective. It allows the viewer to be drawn to a single point in the film, where something ought to happen. Everything in the periphery is simply that, in the background, shaping what is to come. In contrast, Tarantino uses a ‘from below’ viewpoint, which makes you feel as part of the movie. You are the person that the terrible thing happened to, you become part of the film, you feel what they are feeling. It makes you feel insignificant, a single part of the overwhelming whole.


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