Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sizing Up

Men filmed in/through doorways are always interesting. The doorway-shot, done mostly with a wide-angle and frontally, frames bodies in a manner that they seem to radiate phantom glow and the camera axis becomes a suction-hole for all the neighbourhood luminosity. It is a wholly corporeal composition, because its subject is reduced to a mere outline with a homogeneous interior, a dark smudge that resembles human shape; a cut-paper portrait. As the audience of the doorway shot, the most we are capable of is physiognomy. But it’s interesting also because of its Vitruvian capabilities – there is hardly another shot that sizes up the proportions of a man (thus, manly) body better. If this shot is fundamentally macho posturing, then the actor supplies the posture, but it is purely the composition that supplies the machismo. Because it is a frontal, and not a profile, the face ceases to be important, and the body takes precedence. Mitchum, a beast with shoulders as broad as the cinemascope, would be the ideal subject of a doorway shot.

Some doorways,

Pyaasa(1957)/ Guru Dutt

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly(1966)/ Sergio Leone

The Searchers(1956)/ John Ford

La Notte(1961)/ Michelangelo Antonioni
Altered States(1980)/ Ken Russell

Altered States(1980)/ Ken Russell

No comments:

Post a Comment