So I have been watching lots of shorts recently. Partly for my studies, and partly as a member of the selecting and judging panel for Northwest Fest. There is no doubt something to learn from each either what to do, or equally or more important, what not to do. This one film, I absolutely Love.
Now, I know I already have a thing for personal portraits, and actually the majority of films I have watched for my studies are in the personal portrait sub-genre relating larger social issues to a personal story and perspective. So that is good!
But this film is much more magical to me than a lot of the personal portraits and I wanted to take a little time to reflect and explore why…
The character. He is interesting man. Very happy, with piercing blue eyes.
His message. His message is of not joining the rat race just because that is what you are expected to do but do what will fulfil you in your life. Making a big change that is important to me. Also, he has made substantial life changes from a doctor to a roller skating (in slomo) beach bum. He feels that it is never too late to make a change, also important to me embarking on this big career change and consequent change in lifestyle.
How story is presented. The film uses a whole host of different picture elements to keep it moving and fresh. It features people (a lot of the slomo man) landscapes, inanimate objects somehow filmed in an artsy, sexy way, photographs in which the camera pans around the frame so it doesn’t feel too static, interviews, cartoon diagrams to explain a physiological phenomenon associated with maintaining balance during skating, and even a little bit of re-enactment.
Analogy, metaphor and cinematic codes are used well. The film is talking about a guy who skates slow like he is flying or guiding so obviously there are elements of slow motion. To juxtapose this lifestyle with his former rat race existence, not only are we treated to a rat on a wheel, but a time lapse of traffic snaking out of the city. Back to his skating and we can appreciate how many he spends skating by a time lapse showing in the background the tide going in and out and the sun setting. We understand how slow he can skate by filming a shot in which he is skating on the path by the beach one side of the wall and a little boy walking along the beach at the same pace as him the other side of the wall. Oh, and when he is talking about his blurred vision, obviously we are treated to a blurred view from the camera.
All these different elements and way of expressing the story, together with carefully selected music, to me, make the film quite magical. Despite all the different elements it fits together seamlessly in a unique style. As I said at the start of this post; I love it.
So what can I learn from this film to take forward in my own film making?
- If it is a personal portrait, the character is super important.
- Lots of different elements when put together well keep the film moving, giving it forward momentum
- Think in terms of analogy and metaphor for b-roll which can be used.
Slomo (2013) Directed by Joshua Izenberg [Film]. https://vimeo.com/59749737