Friday, September 21, 2012

Musing Pictures: The Master

In PT Anderson's "The Master", one thing that stood out to me was the way certain scenes were staged.  On several occasions throughout the film, we are presented with a small crowd of ten or twenty people, and out of that crowd, one character stands out sharply.  Often, these are point-of-view shots, and the character that stands out does so by looking at the camera, at us, at the character through which we're observing the scene.  It's an interesting and subtly unnerving effect, one I expect to see more in horror/thrillers than in dramas.

In general, the blocking and framing in "The Master" is interesting to note.  The aspect ratio is not especially wide (and why should it be? we're generally looking at people, rather than scenery) so groups of people have to clump together.  Some scenes reminded me of the way John Ford would clump his characters, always a little too close to seem real, but always just far enough apart to avoid "staginess".


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