Modern lenses (glass) have been manufactured in an increasingly flawless way, attempting to achieve optical perfection. I’d like to delve into the potential of using older “vintage” glass specifically to exploit the inherent imperfections present in those lenses.
The acclaimed BBC/PBS Masterpiece Theater series Downton Abbey has been lauded for its period-accurate settings and for a heretofore unseen look at the non-affluent parts of historical life around the English aristocracy. I’d like to look at Downton Abbey’s use of camera stabilization as an effective storytelling tool.
One of the disadvantages to being a pretty active photographer is trying to handle archiving old shoots and being able to quickly locate a certain shot amongst thousands of directories of RAW stills, which may not be present on your local media. Enter the humble contact sheet.
I have been known to outwardly hate prequel films. This is, in no small part, due to them tending to be terrible. It should come as little shock that I was extremely reticent about watching Gotham, DC’s attempt at a prequel story for the Batman franchise. As I have defended in past, the Batman origin story is the greatest origin story in film, and attempting to undertake it in a way which would not result in extreme disappointment for aficionados of the canon seemed dodgy, at best.
I was very, very wrong – and I’d like to examine why.
One of the concepts which has been intriguing me over the last few weeks has been the concept of multiple layers of canon existing over many works in an overarching canon.
The Batman mythos comprises more than 70 years of collective canon built on a foundation of comics, films, television series, and other works of fiction; as it spans multiple mediums and auteurs, it seems an ideal system to examine for the phenomenon of nested canon.
Joseph Campbell’s book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” wasn’t intended to be a blueprint to create stories or films, but it has become that for many auteurs. Why the Monomyth?
Ace Jackson is a Dead Man, which I was recently asked to review, is an interesting experiment in contrasts and seems to offer a takeoff on traditional blaxploitation films; there remain questions, however, revolving around how it was executed.
One of my favorite thematic plot devices in the medium of film has been “inner story mirrors outer story” (especially across epistemic layers). Bryan Singer’s 1995 neo-noir classic The Usual Suspects is told through a series of flashbacks – and manages to use this thematic device to great advantage.
WARNING: There be spoilers here. If you’re one of the small group of people who haven’t actually watched The Usual Suspects yet, go watch it, then read on. Seriously. Don’t spoil this for yourself.
“The ability to generate novel, high variance outcomes is based on the availability of ideas. Idea availability can be constrained by local search, in which a limited set of options is considered according to confidently held beliefs. Broader search results in more idea variety and can identify ways to combine knowledge that challenge the belief that constrain innovative behavior. The paradox is that innovative experts also search locally to determine what rules to break, while nonexperts search locally and conform to those rules.” - Taylor, Greve (DOI: 10.2307/20159795)
The concept of story and character crossover/mashup to mix epistemological systems between comic, literary, and film universes is hardly a new phenomenon, but there has been a precipitous rise in its prevalence in popular culture over the past decade; I’m looking to explore the reasons behind the increase in popularity.
“A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it or offer your own version in return.” - Salman Rushdie
Whether it be for the sake of temporally relevant cultural mores, attempting to refine or “reimagine” an existing work, or for other miscellaneous reasons, the act of changing existing artistic work has extended itself into the artistic medium of film.
This posits that it is destructive to the nature of the medium and the art inherent therein to endorse these kinds of changes.