Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom
It’s easy to spot, but not so easy to understand. Believability is about simple human stories, truth about life, real emotions, responding to the world. How do directors create a reality without it feeling fake? True stories can help. But what’s the trick? Here are some answers, drawing from Lois Weber’s THE BLOT and Maren Ade’s TONI ERDMANN.
Going to a house, overhearing people, witnessing bizarre action—there are many ways to meet people and be introduced to characters in films. In Shirley Clarke’s THE CONNECTION, she has a documentary crew introduce the characters to us; Andrea Arnold puts her characters front and center in FISH TANK; and in THE STORY OF THE FLAMING YEARS, directed by Yuliya Solntseva, the main character is presented like a statue on a building.
The classic Hollywood trope of a “meet cute” invites a variety of interpretations, from intimate glimpses to worlds colliding spectacularly. Unique examples include the feverish, pivotal meet cute in Germaine Dulac’s experimental THE SEASHELL AND THE CLERGYMAN, Céline Sciamma playing two girl gangs against each other in GIRLHOOD, and the cynical FBI old guard meeting the idealistic newcomer in Kathryn Bigelow’s POINT BREAK. Then, a masterfully choreographed, layered meet cute in Mania Akbari’s ONE.TWO.ONE is captured in a single wide shot composed like a Renaissance altarpiece.