Directed by Mark Cousins • 2018 • United Kingdom
A basic human interaction—how to make it cinematic? Angela Schanelec directs us to focus on body language in PLACES IN CITIES, Cecile Tang uses the zoom as guide through the emotional shifts in THE ARCH, and Sofia Coppola in THE VIRGIN SUICIDES shows us an unspoken conversation, with songs and split screens telling a story of impossible longing.
Frames describe and paint the scenes. They can make sport look balletic, like in controversial Nazi iconographer’s Leni Riefenstahl’s OLYMPIA. They shape the cinematic world—through impressionist glances in Kathryn Bigelow’s BLUE STEEL, suffocating close-ups in Lucrecia Martel’s THE HOLY GIRL, and camera angles as extreme as the titular character’s emotions in Mahalia Belo’s ELLEN.
Tracking shots are to many an essence of filmmaking magic. They can ask questions and speak when hardly anyone else in the film is talking—like in Chantal Akerman’s FROM THE EAST or Marion Hänsel’s LE LIT. In Antonia Bird’s FACE, a seamless tracking shot gives us an illusion of the camera being an extension of our eyes. Kinetic in nature, tracking can help dynamically show and express a desperate escape, like in Ursula Meier’s HOME.