Finals a Silent Film

When my imagination runs away from me while watching The Twilight Zone, forcing me to realize that I need to get out and reconnect with nature. Making this video was a challenge in that the clip that I used from The Twilight Zone had a lot of movement making it hard to make my cup look like it was part of the scene. Two whole days later and a sore back I finally made it work. I wanted to depict my character feeling trapped at home and watching too much TV. Then going for a walk to clear my head and reconnect with nature and feel rejuvenated. I recorded coffee being made, me walking, the sound of me driving, and the sound of birds then layered them to add to the story.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: blog

Film: The prisoner was made to walk a plank the hung over the bridge and waited to be hung. He closed his eyes and imagined seeing his wife and children and opened them to the sound of the Captain removing his watch. When the order was given to hang him, the soldier steps off the plank and the prisoner falls. The next scene shows the prisoner falling into the water and sunk to the bottom as he freed himself. The story plot is revealed at the end of the film.
Book: His last thoughts were to be of his wife and children, he imagines how he could escape. When the order is given to hang him, he is dropped through a hole in the bridge. When fell in the water and removed the noose he was in pain and tried to put it back on, the sky is described as having a pink hew but the film was in black and white and the plot was reviewed at the end too but is more subtle. The book gives more detail than the film does and some of the information given was not present in the film.
Both were created through a character point of view with no dialog. the character and without dialog. In my opinion, the story was better told by the writer than the director each had their challenges in perspective to their medium. The book described the sounds and heighten senses. The film used sound as a major part of the storyline Ambient sound seemed higher than the voices of the troops. When he fell into the water the audio was set high as he freed himself, in the film, he took the noose off and did not try to put it back on. The book has the character surface and becomes suddenly aware of the sights and sounds around him where the film’s background audio was brought forward the whole time. In the film where the character finds the path, he walks up to a gate that opens for him and leads him down a path that is again not the same as the one described by the author. It appears that at the point where the author describes how his character finds the path, he describes the scene as having a straight path lined with black trees. In the film, it seems that the director chose the use of a wrought iron fence that opened up to the path at the same point in the story plot. In the end, the film used reverse shots to portray a time when the character was running to his wife. In the book the author describes this moved as a slowing down of time as he approaches his home, the author begins to reveal the story plot when he describes the growing pain the character feels as he reaches his home in a dream-like state, The film had him running down the path to his wife for a tearful embrace using reverse shots to create a dream state depicted in the book while. the films ending is sudden and violent while the book has a more romantic ending and the use of audio was more than necessary. I would have liked seeing a narrated version bases on the POV of the character.

Visual Narrative

The illustration that I created a story of the cat watching the squirrel as I watered the garden with each panel represents a perceived standoff between both subjects. I sequence of photos to narrate this story. Following Scott McCloud’s concept of comics, I used bleeds to create a sense of time as the water flows through the garden.

“Since Cartoons already exist as concepts for the Reader, they tend to flow easily through the conceptual territory between panels”

The space between each panel or “gutters” creates a sense of space as our minds put together the pieces to the story.


Blog 4: Understanding Comics

In Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics, he broke down the art of making a comic in a way that makes sense. I never thought much about comics and always thought that it was for kids or some comedy relief when searching through the newspaper. I found it interesting how the Japanese created their style of comics as an art form such as, “aspect-to-aspect transition” that has been a vital part of Japanese mainstream comics almost from the beginning. This technique forces the reader to construct a single moment through scattered fragments.

McCloud defines the space between the panels that are called “gutters”. between panels, creates a sense of time or space that our minds create. Traditionally, each panel is arranged from left to right in the sequence we will “read” them, and each panel occupies a distinct “time slot”. McCloud explains that the panel itself is an icon that can symbolize a person, place, or idea.

“They act as a general indicator that time or space is being divided.”

Using photographs to tell a story with a sequence of three panels I am following William Hogarth’s technique by creating a sequential picture story, each panel is part of the story and the gutters give an impression of time. This set of images was taken a few years ago at the farmer’s market. I was taking photos of the statue with flowers in it when this youngster came up and attempted to take them. 


The Interruption of Poetics

The short film that I watched was Meshes of the Afternoon from Maya Deren. Her film uses a surrealist perspective by focusing on the subconscious thought with an avant-garde filmmaker’s approach. I am reminded of film producer Luis Bunuel, whose early works can be described as a mixture of the conscious and subconscious Made the first surrealist inspired film titled  Chien Andalou in 1929 with Salvador Dali, the film explored dreams and the irrational side of them. Luis Bunuel was part of the surrealist movement in Paris and his second surrealist styled film L’Age d’Or in 1930 was met with angry protesters who found his film to be immoral, later the Parisian police banned the film. Deren’s film follows the same path by creating and staring in her own experimental film that explores her inner thoughts in a poetic fashion.

Deren’s film Meshes of the Afternoon is hailed as a feminist classic in American cinema and was inspired by the surrealist movement in 1924 Paris. Deren was one of the earliest female directors who was influenced by surrealism. In 1943 she desired to make an avant-garde film to deal with inner thoughts during the Feminism movement in America expressing the frustration of a female living in that time period.

Bunuel’s surreal filmmaking was aimed at challenging cinema norms during the Spanish civil war and the fascist Franco regime his later films focused on the bourgeoisie with a mix of surrealism and realism to break up the narrative. His technique of “interruption” broke the traditional Aristotelian story structure forcing the audience to become active participants.


Both film producers began their careers during civil unrest, and it showed. Luis Bunuel forced the audience to become part of the movie by disrupting complacency during a time when the Spanish people were under the Franco dictatorship. Deren herself influenced by the surrealist movement made her film after WW2 and during the Women’s movement, she used Avant-Garde as her medium to challenge traditional beliefs in reality.

Maya Deren

Luis Bunuel

Fargo and Aristotle’s Poetics


Aristotle’s Poetics can very well be used to describe Fargo as a drama with its rise and fall in action and reversal of fortune, a story of tragedy indeed.

“character determines men’s qualities their actions create success or tragedy.”

The characters in Fargo are a good example of the character quality and their actions that bring tragedy. Jerry and Carl share a similarity in that they are motivated by money and sacrifice their moral compass for financial gain. Marge and Norm create happiness through their actions, their lives are simple and wholesome. Norm makes his pregnant wife breakfast before she goes to work then sits with her until she leaves for work. I liked how the camera shot showed both sitting together and remains to show him finishing her meal while she goes outside to get in the car, the framing of the shot keeps Marge and Norm in the frame through the whole scene until she comes back in for a jump, as if she never left further reinforcing the closeness they share.


“Those who feel emotion are most convincing through natural sympathy with the characters they represent”

Fargo starts off with a clear message that the film was based off a real story and told exactly as it occurred then transitions to a wintery Minnesota countryside with a somber timbre playing in the background as Jerry slowly appears in the blinding snow pulling a tan Sierra on a trailer heading to meet his contacts to set his plan into action. After showing up an hour late he meets Carl and Gaear to finalize his plan and deliver his first payment, the tan Oldsmobile Sierra hitched on a trailer. Jerry timidly walks up to the now irritated Carl and Gaear who are sitting at a booth filled with beer bottles, they are the ones taking the risk and Jerry’s late. During this interaction, Carl and Gaear question his moral decision to have his wife kidnapped for ransom while ignoring their own by going along with Jerry’s plan.

 “the objects of imitation are men in action, and these men must be either of a higher or a lower type (for moral character mainly answers to these divisions, goodness, and badness being the distinguishing marks of moral differences), it follows that we must represent men either as better than in real life, or as worse, or as they are.”

Jerry returns to his miserable life often shown through mid-shots of Jerry’s expression while dealing with costumers and the constant calls from the finance company about money owed. I see this as a sign of how Jerry continues to concoct plans to make money in increasingly desperate measures with “tragic” results.  The first rise in action occurs after Jerry’s wife Jean is kidnaped and they get pulled over, Carl attempts to bribe the state trooper with money. The common theme is that money is power but bring a reversal of fortune, Carl believes that all police officers can be corrupted and ends up getting the trooper killed when the officer asks him to step out of the car, followed by two passer Byers who see Carl dragging the officer’s body off to the side of the road. Gaear, who mostly quite, gives chase to the young couple who drove by and kills them when they crash in the snow. This rise in action brings a reversal of fortune as, unbeknownst to Jerry, his plan unravels.

“Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action but of events inspiring fear or pity.”


Meanwhile, Marge seems to easily slip between home life and investigating a triple homicide with ease while maintaining a certain innocence view of the world until it is challenged when her old friend from high school Mike reaches out to her and is later to be revealed as a stalker. All tough Mike was well off having money did not bring him happiness and Marge has a recognition when she realizes that people are not trustworthy as she believed it was.

“the most powerful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy- Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition scenes- are parts of the plot”

Fargo was written and directed by the Coen brothers, billed as a true story. They masterfully used the shot-reverse-shot where the camera remains between characters, to tell a story that is truly believable and draws you into the characters’ lives. Fargo offers a complex plot that arouses pity for Jean who was subjected to the horror of being kidnapped and finally murdered caused by the actions of Jerry’s greed.