For my practitioners report I will be looking into film directors that have been very influential at their time. I am going to review the biography and history of these directors and how their work stands out from other directors. By deconstructing their work and analyzing it by Formal Elements, Narrative, Materials, Processes and Techniques.
(Granitz, no date)
Christopher Nolan is one of the most influential film directors in 21st century and probably the most known by the youth in modern day society with his huge box office hits like Interstellar, Inception, Memento, The Dark Knight, The Dark Rises and now highly anticipated war film ‘Dunkirk’. So what is it about all these films that make them so popular and loved? Christopher Nolan is known as one of the most daring film directors and each film he directs is a new style and have new different intelligent narratives. As one of his biggest films yet Interstellar, he has explored and created a new way of story telling all displayed with theatrical presentation.(StoryMapsDan, 2014)
And that’s what makes this director so special and popular as he tries to experiment with new ways and techniques for his new films that are still shot on film rather than digital. However there are some techniques or styles that he uses in all of his films that gets the audience drawn in and keeps them on their toes. And most of his films will be so confusing and difficult to follow if you have just missed the first 10 minutes as the editing of fractured Timelines in his films usually go back and forth, which makes it more non linear and gets people more involved as now they have to follow the plot more strictly to not miss out on anything, which in my opinion makes the experience of watching a movie ten times better.(Gupta, 2012)
A good examples of that:
Interstellar: The scenes from the begging where there are weird things happening in the daughters room with the books falling down and random banging, we later on discover that it was actually the father that was stuck in a time and space and was trying to communicate with his daughter.
Inception: The films starts with Cobb waking up on an island, where he is taken to temple where he met Saito and the whole film is him being in a Limbo state and trying to get back Saito.
Christopher Nolan is also known for various editing techniques that he uses to create more tension.
Parallel Editing (Cross Cutting) This editing technique is mostly used in films to establish action in same time at two different locations. The camera cuts from one scene to another which suggests that it is happening simultaneously. Christopher Nolan uses these editing cuts quite often when trying to build up tension between two different locations and finally having a climax when they both cross.
This video gives good examples of were the Cross cutting is used and what effect it give to the audiences. (1:03 – 3:30) It focuses on films like The Dark Night and Inception and how much of this editing technique is used in those films and how it keeps the audience on its feet as the cutting adds a lot more tension as you are getting a lot more closer to the climax of where all of these cuts come together and make perfect sense.
Timeline of Christopher Nolan films/career
After researching the techniques and styles that he uses for his films to try and draw in the audience. And what made him one of the most influential directors of early 21st century, I will now produce a timeline looking at the journey of Christopher Nolan and how did he grow and expanded in film industry.
While creating a timeline I saw how fast the director exploded in film industry and now is a creator of big budget box office films. Also by creating the timeline I could of see when was the big switch in the directors career to start making big budget films with a lot of known, famous actors. The film that seemed to blow up Christopher’s career was Memento as the film became quite popular and after he started working with Hollywood stars like Robin Williams, Al Pacino, Christian Bale and more. Also designed colours for each films that represent the posters and tone of the films. I feel like the time line was successful to be able to present the information that I wanted and it has a lot of merits to being able to have a different approach to present information rather than a big wall of text that most people would be overwhelmed by.
(Kubrick, no date)
Stanley Kubrick just like Christopher Nolan was named to be one of the most influential directors of his time. As his techniques and characteristics stood out from the rest of films and most of his films were very well known.
Extreme camera angles – Stanley’s most known films had a use of very interesting camera work as it used some extreme angles that made it more confusing for the person to watch, however they fit right in with the theme and the tone of the film and these strange camera angles complemented the scenes quite nicely. For example the scene in ‘the shining’ where the Jack Nicholson character gets locked in pantry. While he is trying to persuade her to let him out the shot is framed vertically from bottom of characters feet looking up. This angle adds more confusion and distribution to the shot, which shows that both of these characters are desperate and scared.
Coldness in his films was also another technique that was really characteristic to him as most of the characters in films like ‘The Shining’ or ‘Clockwork Orange’ were sadistic, cold and people shouldn’t feel any warmth or compassion to the character. The coldness sets the films tone and it makes a lot of people think about why the characters are the way they are. However this kind of coldness makes a lot of audiences uncomfortable and it may seem unappealing at first, which is why there are many people out there that aren’t the biggest fan of Stanley Kubrick’s films.
Most of the Kubrick’s popular films were quite dark themed and the characters were hard to feel compassion for as they seemed more cold and evil.
Mood Board of Stanley Kubrick film scenes
With this Mood Board I would like to display the cold tone of Kubrick’s films and what visual elements he uses to get this effect.
The mood board tries to demonstrate the techniques of lighting, framing and composition the director uses to make his scenes uncomfortable, which sets the tone for the film.
The task was extremely useful as I was able to research more about these iconic directors and see what key techniques and characteristics they have, that they use in every film. It was also interesting seeing how much the narratives have changed overtime. The use of editing to manipulate the tension in shots has also been evolved as we see those techniques used a lot more frequently in modern films. This can also be due to of impact that the younger generation have shorter attention span and you have to catch the audiences attention and keep it throughout the film.
I personally feel more influenced with Christopher’s work as I have noticed that I like to make fast cuts that go back and fourth, which creates more tension and makes the film more interesting. Also it helps with people who have short attention spans as the short cuts will still capture their attention. I will try to experiment with the their techniques in future and see what fits my style more.
E. (2011) Stanley Kubrick’s legendary film techniques. Available at: http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/filmmaking/stanley-kubrick-film-techniques.html (Accessed: 6 March 2017).
Granitz, S. (no date) ‘Christopher Nolan’, in Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0634240/mediaviewer/rm2047771392 (Accessed: 2 March 2017).
Gupta, A. (2012) What techniques does Christopher Nolan commonly use to make his films so gripping? Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-techniques-does-Christopher-Nolan-commonly-use-to-make-his-films-so-gripping (Accessed: 2 March 2017).
Kubrick, S. (no date) Biography. Available at: http://www.stanleykubrick.de/en/biografie-biography/ (Accessed: 2 March 2017).
rutgerhauerfan (2008) Go check it out! Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9rdOAD8Vn8 (Accessed: 6 March 2017).
StoryMapsDan (2014) Interstellar: 5 Christopher Nolan trademark techniques. Available at: http://actfourscreenplays.com/screenwriting-blog/interstellar-5-christopher-nolan-trademark-techniques/ (Accessed: 2 March 2017).
Zak Luering (2016) Christopher Nolan Film techniques. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSeF9hTKFXA (Accessed: 2 March 2017).