In space, no one can hear you scream.

Silence seems to have become a key cue in the science fiction film, from Scott and Cameron's iterations of the Alien franchise (Alien UK/US 1979 and Aliens US 1986), through Nolan's Interstellar (US 2014), and Cuaron's Gravity (US 2014) to the recent outing Arrival (US 2016 dir: Denis Villeneuve). Silence is a of course a feature of a vacuum, but is this why it is also a feature of some science fiction film? There are obvious connotations one could read into ...

Spectre’s Touch of Evil

The opening shot of Sam Mendes second James Bond movie, the 24th iteration 'Spectre', appears to be an unbroken take of about seven or eight minutes. This is a fluid master shot which at first that appears to have made using a Steadicam, although later in the take it may have fairly seamlessly cut to a drone shot (as there are elements to this shot which would have been impossible with a crane). Anyhow this particular opening piqued my curiosity, because unlike ...

An assignment idea or discussion topic for learning some key technical concepts and terminology

Ok so you've 'done' shot types, used a powerpoint or projected stills. That's fab for the basics, but what about their implementation in actual films, why these shot selections or camera movement might have been deployed, this isn't at the whim of the DP or director, there is a grammar to how the camera is used with its own vocabulary. YOur students' discussions of films will have greater precision if they learn some of the appropriate term and how they're ...

Seeing Whale Rider in an Asian context

After some years since first I first saw Whale Rider (Niki Caro, New Zealand, 2002) I watched it again recently, and apart from the obvious pleasures of such a well-made and moving film, something struck me which might be extrapolated to reveal something of a pattern of film writing from the same broad geographic region.   It doesn’t take a genius to work out that its central themes are challenges to long-standing traditions in the societies represented and the conflicts between traditions ...