Talking to Ben Woodiwiss from FilmClub yesterday, coming home from judging the LAFTAs, we talked for a couple of hours about the long take. This is mostly him:
Two kinds of long take: those emphasising duration, and those emphasising space. The latter has to involvec a moving camera. Long takes in Vive l’Amour, LE Pain et la Rue, about duration – making the audience experience what the character’s feeling and thinking, by sheer force of time. Long takes in The Player and Touch of Evil, about introducing us to particular narrative spaces.
SO, the difference between static and mobile long takes. And how the long take prevents multiple points of view: it’s usually one narrative perspective (a character, or the ‘third person’ narrator).
The possibilities opened up by the 180 and 360 degree pan (Elephant; Gerry, both by Gus van Sant). And how this would be the basis of a good exercise: to run a 360 pan shot, in which an action is begun at the beginning, the camera leaves it behind, then when it returns to the start point the action has been completed/ the chatracters have gone, or been replaced by someone else. Occurs to me now this is the end of Antonioni’s The Passenger…
Long takes that lose the subject; they walk out of frame, or the camera re-frames slightly and loses them.
Clip ideas from Ben:
- Russian Ark (90 minute long take, the whole film, a walk through the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, that also contrives to walk through two centuries of history)
- Notting Hill – the seasons montage
- Shaun of the Dead, the early scene with Shaun going to the corner shop in the early morning to buy milk
- The Son (Dardennes Brothers) conversation in the car
- Snake Eyes, the opening scene