Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

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Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Sun 5 Nov - 18:12

Per thread request, for past and future discussions about the role of cinematography (lightning, photography, and image/sound editing) in shaping the worlds, stories, and themes from the ST.  To start off, two posts I’ve written before about the role of color theory and classic film references

Guys, remember when @Xylo Ren went through the up close feeling the Force scene to break down how JJ shot the transfer of Red and Blue back and forth between each their faces?



Also RJ's cinematographer, Steven Yedlin is an evangelist for color theory, so everything is going to look amazing and have more than just an aesthetic purpose.

Cut for a big a** graphic breaking down the use of colors to convey mood/emotion/theme:
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Sun 5 Nov - 18:14

@shii405 - that’s the theory we had here, that the colors represented both sides of the Force shifting back and forth via their connection. Whether or not it’s intended, that series of shots looks like the classic sequence in Spellbound when Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman fall in love/obsession



Aaron Stewart-Ahn wrote:Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck collided in a supernatural, primordial, irrational moment, an act born from their dissolving psyches, and it’s summed up in one exchange of looks, one of those mythical, transcendent depictions of love as devastating as it is liberating, all heightened strings and so powerful as to change the very nature of light in the room. This love is the engine of Spellbound’s story, as two people draw out their anima from one another with insane devotion to their dark sides, to the brink of violence and affection.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Sun 5 Nov - 18:20

For TFA, there’s a list somewhere (TV tropes) of the references for some of the shots JJ uses. Like Rey’s introduction being like Nausicca of the Valkey, Kylo in her vision when she first sees him and he “sees” her is Seven Samurai, TIE fighters like Apocalypse Now, and several shots of Jakku and Rey and Finn being from Lawrence of Arabia. Also the shot of Luke saying “the Jedi must end” is straight up the final shot of Ethan in The Searchers, which GL mined for both the original movie and the PT. There are more from the full trailer, like Finn v Phasma wham shot being Three Outlaw Samurai. @panki had a great list a couple days ago if classic movies she was reminded of, especially musicals.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by Kylo Rey on Sun 5 Nov - 18:49

In terms of cinematic influences, I feel like the Ahch-to portion of the film was LOTR inspired. The beautiful aerial scenery of the mountains etc.





This looks straight like a shot ripped from Peter Jackson's trilogy. Very high fantasy, playing into the mythological and Arthurian aspects that was established in TFA:



You can't tell me this shot wasn't inspired by Hamlet:

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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Sun 5 Nov - 18:57

@“Kylo Rey” - excellent examples. I’m pretty excited about seeing the IMAX and 70mm versions alone for the cinematography.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by vaderito on Sun 5 Nov - 19:23

@Kylo Rey As a huge fan of Rick Heinrichs work (TLJ DP) I can tell you that the Force Tree is definitely inspired by his oscar-winning work on Sleepy Hollow:



Jelly-bean cafe on Canto Bight (that we haven't seen yet but Jason Ward has and described it as something out of CATCF) is inspired by his work on CATCF:



Crait's salt flats inspired by his work on POTC:AWE (salt flats):



However, for a movie with lightsabers which means sword-fights, I can't imagine that Rian didn't get Heinrichs mostly for that cause POTC has not just some of the best choreographed swordfights ever but also in stunning setting. I'm putting videos in spoilers so that we don't have media overload on one page:

Spoiler:







Bonus. I absolutely want a SW version of this (from 1 min - the music, the strip of sand, the looks that Will and Elizabeth exchange):



and this (Ben Rises like Will, of course):



Rian's loves Gore Verbinski movies and you can see why. I'm telling you, guys, you should start loving Verbinski's POTC.





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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Mon 6 Nov - 0:20

Forgot two more items:

1. The scene when Finn and Rey are being chased by the TIE fighter throughout Niima is a direct reference to Cary Grant being pursued by the crop duster in North by Northwest.

2. This got posted after the trailer came out, but somebody wrote a great great essay about the used of lighting, especially in the the bridge scene and trailer.

And can’t mention this topic without giving a shout out to @gemini for teaching us all about choker shots and the use of mirroring in Snow Fight.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by SkyStar on Mon 6 Nov - 6:04

Great thread. Smile

In the trailer of TLJ, I really noticed the things Rian bought from Letter Never Sent. First of all the wheater conditions as a metaphor for the inner turmoil of characters, which was a big thing when ,making LNS.  At first you can see Rey being in the sunny environment while meeting with Luke and showing him powers and then being in rain, thunderstorm and darkness when being angry at him. I am looking forward to seeing some moments of it in TLJ, haha.

Also, some shots that are bit unusual reminded me of the movie and I think we will see more in TLJ.



Or this a bit:


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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by SoloSideCousin on Mon 6 Nov - 6:10

@SkyStar wrote:Great thread. Smile

In the trailer of TLJ, I really noticed the things Rian bought from Letter Never Sent. First of all the wheater conditions as a metaphor for the inner turmoil of characters, which was a big thing when ,making LNS.  At first you can see Rey being in the sunny environment while meeting with Luke and showing him powers and then being in rain, thunderstorm and darkness when being angry at him. I am looking forward to seeing some moments of it in TLJ, haha.

Also, some shots that are bit unusual reminded me of the movie and I think we will see more in TLJ.



Or this a bit:

@SkyStar

Ooohh that is a great insight! You know what else I am seeing with the comparison of the first two pictures? Both are shot from below. If I remember my college film class, that choice can be made to indicate that there is some reason to be frightened of the figure towering over you.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by SkyStar on Mon 6 Nov - 6:40

@SoloSideCousin

Good call! That made me look up comparison from TFA. I think there is a difference, and in some ways, she even looks more distant in TLJ, but it seems to be shot a lot more bellow and from a corner in TLJ? Like she really raises above.




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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by MrsWindu on Mon 6 Nov - 7:50

I'm just a humble film fan with no background in film. But when I was finding my way round Reylo I became fascinated by the chocker shot and mirroring metas, as I'm more of a visual person and it just made so much sense.

This is an obvious one and I'm sure its been picked over before many a time:



Someone who is caught between different two worlds
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Wed 8 Nov - 16:10

Here's another one ticking off the uses of Red and classic musicals, The Pirate Ballet sequence from the Pirate by Vincent Minelli w/Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Snoke's throne room may be like this



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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Wed 8 Nov - 20:06

And kudos as always to my fellow Lillian Gish stan, @LadyHa for seeing the silent movie influences in TFA

@LadyHa wrote:I know that the parallels with Phantom of the Opera have been pointed out several times, but I haven't seen as much about the 1925/29 silent film version starring Lon Chaney, which I watched recently.  The Phantom is quite disturbing and creepy in this one, and not as much of a romantic anti-hero as the musical or modern era film.  

It's kind of inverted from The Force Awakens in that the Phantom is somewhat seductive to Christine in the beginning, particularly as he lures her into his underground home. Then, of course, she faints and he carries her to bed (ah, early Hollywood.)  The next day, it gets all Bluebeard-y as she removes his mask and is horrified.  He gets more and more revolting as the rest of the film plays out.  The audience may feel pity for the Phantom, but he's no Byronic figure.  

Here's some screenshots of similar scenes between the two films:

Crouching at the start of a conversation


Reaching hand out


Reaction after the creature is de-masked

And, of course, The Carry after the Faint
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by Irina de France on Wed 8 Nov - 20:28

Can I step in as a longtime POTO fan? (Well, not as long as some people, but still, I've been a POTO fan since 2012 XD)

I can see the POTO parallels in TFA right up until Kylo unmasks. There's a bit of a Reaper/Death thing going on with him, and the whole bridal carry is typical Death and the Maiden trope. POTO is not the only horror movie to use that imagery: pretty much every Universal Monster/Hammer Horror film uses it as well.

However, I kind of disagree on Rey and Kylo being like Christine and Erik - not just in terms of personality, but also because the overall dynamic is very different. The unmasking in POTO is also different, because a) it's involuntary and b) it's a climax. Kylo's unmasking is kind of anti-climatic because you wouldn't expect him to unmask at that very moment - hence all the complains from people who thought that he'd unmask for Han. So of course, we've talk at length as to why Kylo unmasking for Rey *is* significant, but in contrast to the unmasking in POTO, it's voluntary on Kylo's part. And when he unmasks, we don't see a monster, we see a young man who JJ Abrams describes as "looking as some sort of prince". So you expect Erik-in-space, but you end up saying "Raoul, what the f*ck are you doing there?"

Though, to be honest... I'd have to say that if I had to make POTO parallels with the ST, Kylo would be Christine, Rey would be Raoul, and Snoke would be Erik, but ya know, 1 000 000 times less sympathetic. Mainly because of this scene (skip to 4:31, because there are a lot of different Christines, but imo Rachel Barrell does the best rendition here, and no, I didn't want to put the same scene from the 2004 movie for reasons):



(And unrelated, but if they ever decided to remake the POTO movie, Adam Driver would make a pretty interesting Raoul for several reasons, but I won't say why here, lol.)

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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by reylo1992 on Thu 9 Nov - 19:23

TFA introductory shot



Kylo's appearance


Encounter scene





Bonding scene



Mirroring each other



Finding the Force








Bonus:


Mother's embrace ("Torn apart" as the background music)



"Finn will be fine" deleted scene








Potted flower


The room is white and mostly empty. The walls are padded. The windows are many, and the sunlight streaming in is bold and bright.

The only things in this room are Leia and a potted plant.

The plant is a sapling of the sanctuary trees of Endor, though some call it a serpent’s puzzle, named so after the way the dark branches weave together in a kind of organic knotwork

She clears her mind.

And then she tries to feel the tree.

She does this at least once a day.

Leia has never felt the tree.

Not for lack of trying! She sits here. She empties herself of breath, and then she tries to free herself of thought. Just like Luke taught her to. That part works fine most of the time. But he said it was possible to feel the lifeforce of things with the Force

Oh.

Oh, my!

There! There it is. Washing over her and through her — an awareness unlike any she’s ever felt before. A pulsing glow, flickering and strong.

It’s not the plant. It’s not Luke. It’s not even Han.

It’s her child.

[...]

From Aftermath : Life Debt

Dark E.T.?



The plant is a sapling of the sanctuary trees of Endor, though some call it a serpent’s puzzle, named so after the way the dark ranches weave together in a kind of organic knotwork
[...]
And then, the black edging of the dark side encircles her bliss like a noose.

http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/10/11/e-t-the-extra-terrestrial-was-a-plant/
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by panki on Thu 23 Nov - 18:00

I see a parallel between the trailer scene of Kylo looking out at the AT-ATs and other war equipment being built/repaired, and the Night of "Nations Pride" premiere red window scene in Inglorious Basterds.

While these two images are not exactly alike, I get the same sense of melancholy from them.....the feel of a person determined to finish something and about to embark on a dangerous and suicidal mission (with what they are against present beyond the glass- the FO war machine in Kylo's case and the nazi flag in Shoshanna's case)....I wonder if Kylo plans to take down Snoke (with Rey's help?).




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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by LadyHa on Fri 24 Nov - 14:46

@Irina de France wrote:Can I step in as a longtime POTO fan? (Well, not as long as some people, but still, I've been a POTO fan since 2012 XD)

I can see the POTO parallels in TFA right up until Kylo unmasks. There's a bit of a Reaper/Death thing going on with him, and the whole bridal carry is typical Death and the Maiden trope. POTO is not the only horror movie to use that imagery: pretty much every Universal Monster/Hammer Horror film uses it as well.

However, I kind of disagree on Rey and Kylo being like Christine and Erik - not just in terms of personality, but also because the overall dynamic is very different. The unmasking in POTO is also different, because a) it's involuntary and b) it's a climax. Kylo's unmasking is kind of anti-climatic because you wouldn't expect him to unmask at that very moment - hence all the complains from people who thought that he'd unmask for Han. So of course, we've talk at length as to why Kylo unmasking for Rey *is* significant, but in contrast to the unmasking in POTO, it's voluntary on Kylo's part. And when he unmasks, we don't see a monster, we see a young man who JJ Abrams describes as "looking as some sort of prince". So you expect Erik-in-space, but you end up saying "Raoul, what the f*ck are you doing there?"

Though, to be honest... I'd have to say that if I had to make POTO parallels with the ST, Kylo would be Christine, Rey would be Raoul, and Snoke would be Erik, but ya know, 1 000 000 times less sympathetic. Mainly because of this scene (skip to 4:31, because there are a lot of different Christines, but imo Rachel Barrell does the best rendition here, and no, I didn't want to put the same scene from the 2004 movie for reasons):
@Irina de France

(I missed this thread until now.) I think I agree with you about how POTO is a pretty different story! This partly motivated my images post, since I was surprised at how it seemed kind of upside down compared to Kylo's storyline. However, I still do suspect that TFA writers were consciously invoking Kylo as an archetype shared with Phantom. The mask, the cape, the kidnap, a dramatic unmasking, the failed attempt at seduction. But, some of the common "beats" in the two stories are interesting to me because of how opposite they are - especially the mask scene. In POTO, Erik warns Christine to never remove his mask, but she sneaks up on him and does it anyways. Then, she is horrified and, at least in the old silent film, everything goes south from there and she is never into him again.

I like your idea of comparing the Phantom more to Snoke that Kylo, though! Gives me something to think about.

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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by reylo1992 on Sun 10 Dec - 14:51

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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by nite0wl29 on Sun 17 Dec - 13:52

So my mom told me last night that she had heard Rian Johnson took some inspiration from LotR for TLJ. Not sure how much truth there is to that but then it dawned on me just now: Gollum! Kylo Ren is to Ben Solo what Gollum is to Smeagol.

You have that evil voice inside Smeagol who takes every little chance whenever Smeagol shows an ounce of humanity to stay evil and to think nobody wants him. I want to think Ben Solo is Smeagol, covering his ears saying "I'm not listening!"
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by rey09 on Sun 17 Dec - 14:01

Oh yeahh when Rey started hearing those whispers from the tree, it immediately took me back to LOTR, when the ring calls out to people. SO blatant.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by Blood Moon on Sun 17 Dec - 17:58

Nice tribute to this iconic shot from Wings (1927) in the Canto Bight casino.

I did love the cinematography of TLJ, lots of wide-shots and no shaky cams( or I didn't notice). It was just very relaxing for my eyes to watch it, even in 3D. Still want to see it in 2D.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by LadyHa on Sun 17 Dec - 18:05

@Blood Moon wrote:Nice tribute to this iconic shot from Wings (1927) in the Canto Bight casino.

I did love the cinematography of TLJ, lots of wide-shots and no shaky cams( or I didn't notice). It was just very relaxing for my eyes to watch it, even in 3D. Still want to see it in 2D.
@Blood Moon

Excellent catch! I just saw Wings for the first time this past year, and this tracking shot is an obvious homage. Along with all of the groundbreaking cockpit shots, it seems like it must have been an influence on the OT? I hope someone asks Rian about this.
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by vaderito on Sun 17 Dec - 23:01

Rian wasn't joking about Letter Never Sent. Beefcake scene was there! cheers
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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by snufkin on Sun 24 Dec - 2:06


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Re: Cinematography in the ST - Influences, motifs, and techniques

Post by vaderito on Sun 24 Dec - 7:31

I love cinematography in this. My favorite shots:

Snow White and the Prince Charming

Rey and Kylo Force Bond during the rain (the watery glass behind him with falling embers is like rain in her portion of the scene)

#handsex Warm lighting they shot the hands with is just swoon

Luke and Kylo stand off on Crait
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