What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Monday, October 4, 2010


The model for all of his apartment movies.

Pillow shots. Also function outside of time. Day then night. Grave a mood?

Discontinuous segments. Time seems “broken” while rhythm continues.

Long takes. Move the moment into a sudden zone of continuity.

Then decoupage – “traditional” reaction shots to convey emotional and plot information. But NEVER in a linear way.

Ambient sound.  Noise of the harbor. Hiss.

Use of flat or warm sound to introduce grace notes of weirdness. Not just in performance but in miking.

Sonic cross-cut – dialogue from one scene pasted over another.

A crossing of the line with a musical hit (synchresis) to emphasize a dynamic shift in the scene. From her time to his time. Also, perhaps to create a v-effect.

Emotional discontinuity. She comes back as if nothing happened.

Wide Shot. Stagy tableaux feel. Then things start to move again. Resnais still does this, even though his camera moves much more. Motions toward or past the camera.

Break up the illusionist character of the scene with interjections – even while the sound makes for continuity.

Shots linked by “parallel” movements rather than “continuity”. Drawers opening. Doors opening. 

Emotional segmentations – closer to “affect spaces” than emotions.  A bit like I fidanzati  in that way.

Breath as punctuation.

The sharp voice – a bark -- with the shot of the back of the head – a powerful effect.

Modulation out of fragmentation: He picks up his coat. Looks towards her. Smiles. Indicates the tension is broken. Another “affect space” has opened up. Then they go into the next bit of business.

Resnais also uses sound cuts, hard, butchery cold cuts – like Godard.  From the guitar music to the wind on the cliff.

The energy of decoupage plus ellipsis: The offcenter close-up of Helene’s hand rapping the window. Then the other woman emerging from the darkness of the already open door.

Music hall meets modernism. Bernstein (theatrical melodrama) plus Picasso.

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