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May 2018

Notes for re-watch of Arrival

Here is what I have for our re-watch, based on my notes and the Post-Film Writing:

  • Sound and m-e-s (music, dialogue, environmental sounds).
  • Use of color and light, especially in the context of "memory," but also the use of low key lighting.
  • Setting, especially the house.
  • Props and special effects (the ships, the aliens, military equipment and, relatedly, costume).
  • In particular, the first clear shot of the Montana ship and the military compound (setting), and the first scene in the interior of the ship.
  • Action and performance, especially Amy Adams.
  • The use of the "framing" shots.

In addition, there is interest in discussing how this film handles time and time travel, especially in comparison to Twelve Monkeys.

 


Actors & Acting

We've discussed the role that actors play in how audiences might interpret or relate to a film. Certain actors bring certain expectations, e.g., for most people Jimmy Stewart signifies decency, Bruce Willis signifies toughness. However, filmmakers can either use these expectations in casting or try to subvert them by casting against type, e.g., as noted in class, Brad Pitt's role in Twelve Monkeys can be seen as going against type as a romantic leads. Actors, in this sense, are important parts of mise-en-scene.

Do you have strong impressions of any of the actors that have appeared in the films we have screened? Were those actors used in roles you would expect or cast against type? How effective were they used in either case? What's the difference between someone who is simply an actor and someone who is "star"? What do stars bring to films? For you, who are the movie stars that we've seen this term? Have any of the films been "star-less"?


Untangling time

Following our re-watch of Twelve Monkeys, I thought there would be interest in getting some insight into theories of time. This question will come up again when we screen Arrival (2016).

One thing to think about now is whether any of the these theories are helpful in making sense of the narrative in Twelve Monkeys.

First, here is a Guardian science podcast that features a conversation with different physicists about their, often competing, theories of time. The podcast is just under 35 minutes.

Second, this interview with physicist Carlo Rovelli about his new book, The Order of Time, addresses his view that time is simply a way of expressing how humans experience the universe. What makes this interesting in the context of Twelve Monkeys is that he argues that time is always a story we tell ourselves, and not just when we might be "mentally divergent."


Twelve Monkeys: repetition

One theme in the Post-Film Writing this week is the use of repeating elements between times and places, not only visually, but also with sound,  in Twelve Monkeys, particularly to raise questions about Cole's perception of reality. What kind of repeating elements did you notice in the film? Which ones were most effective in making you doubt Cole's perceptions about himself and what he's doing? Which ones did you simply appreciate aesthetically or formally?