The Pictures Don't Move

Trying to understand the limits...

B Unis

B Unis

A lot of this sounds like the principles of some of the more extreme versions of cinema vérité, except for the prohibition on "performance." What if the "performance" is not expressly for the camera -- that is, a dance, a song or something of that sort happens to be part of what transpires in front of the camera?

Yes, life consists of many silences and pastoral moments, but it also consists of motion that can be described as a "dance" of sorts. Not wanting to offend, therefore I'm going to hold off for now on submitting to the group the one video presently (or soon to be) online that otherwise fits the brief of the group.

I suppose another way to try to frame my question is to ask, "What is the communicative goal at the heart of the set of self-imposed limits spelled out for this group?" Am I over reading to think that it has something to do with giving a subject the room to express itself visually, without imposing the artifice of "traditional" film grammar?

Looking forward to any and all opinions and expansions that may be made here.

Made For Full Screen

Made For Full Screen Plus

I think this group is closer to the ideas of direct cinema than to cinéma vérité.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Cinema
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_verite

As I understand cinema verite there is some kind of interaction between the filmmaker and his "object". More than just the presence of a camera, what is always changing the scene in a way. The interaction in cinema verite is the kind of performance we don`t look for. We don`t want to have a director who "creates" one moment or a situation or an emotion thru effectful music or montage or "sad looking actors" or timelapse effects... This here is more for films that "find" a scene. If this moment is a performance like the dance you filmed or the bonfire and if it not only had happend because of the man behind the camera than this films are welcome.

But don't move the camera. Don't reselect the point of view while shooting. Don't leed the viewers eye. It should be the viewer that is moving, not the pictures! Like Lee Milby commented on my film RAIN (vimeo.com/groups/thepicturesdontmove/videos/4509480): "like i'm simply looking out my window and this is what i see beyond the glass." In film or in media in general you will never, never, never see or capture the "reality". It is always only a selection and a translation of something into a different language. A bordered look out of the window is also just one possible frame of many others to see the world beyond the glass. It is the Author who selected the frame, the beginnig and the end. The rest is done by the subject itself. We believe in its power.

With "The Pictures Don't Move" we want to reduce the noise and the interferences that have slided into filmmaking. As you suppose we want to "give a subject the room to express itself". But we also want to give a room for the audience to improve or restore their cognitive abilities.

But hey, this group is for all this simple and beauty little moments in life. Just capture them without centering you as an "author".

I hope you get my points. My english is to bad for expressing me better.

joe santarromana

joe santarromana Plus

I like this group and many of the concepts you speak of here but i also see it in other ways. I credit the role of the filmmaker especially when they frame a shot just so perfect you need not move the camera and when they understand the duration of a subject and what it is communicating. This is the craft and art of making films. The difference here is one of duration, video artist Bill Viola once said "Time is to the mind as light is to the eye" where the more light that falls on a subject the more information you see, the more time you spend observing something the more you understand. Yes you're right the subject is key but dont ignore the choices of the filmmaker. when I look at your Rain video I can never ignore your choices and why would I want to? I can go out to nature and watch rain and appreciate it or look out my window and see it but this is a communications tool and I enjoy what the artists is communicating. Id appreciate if we dont forget this in this forum because I want to inspire and be inspired by what people do.

B Unis

B Unis

Joe, I particularly agree with your point about framing as a formal choice. When you look out the window, or go outside to watch (and smell and perhaps taste) the rain you have so many subtle options to change your frame, to shift focus, all in ways a camera (any camera) can at best only approximate.

Thanks for expanding the conversation and moving a bit further along!

B Unis

B Unis

I think you made your points very well.

I have some reservations about how one can achieve such goals technically.

Mainly I'm thinking (at the moment) of things like lens distortion and other stuff that technology interposes between the capture of the image (and ambient sound) and the viewer (especially a viewer who may be unfamiliar with how recorded images and sounds may differ from those recorded directly by the senses, and "edited" via memory).

These strike me as technical problems with getting to the point of giving an audience the means "to improve or restore their cognitive abilities." Perhaps.

I look forward, in any case, to seeing how group members address these problems.

Still, this is a general goal that I'm very sympathetic towards. And certainly interested in exploring them myself by imposing the stated limits on the "filmmaking" process.

I look forward to seeing what others do here, and to being an active participant in this "conversation" myself.

joe santarromana

joe santarromana Plus

Simulacrum in philosophy

The simulacrum has long been of interest to philosophers. In his Sophist, Plato speaks of two kinds of image-making. The first is a faithful reproduction, attempted to copy precisely the original. The second is distorted intentionally in order to make the copy appear correct to viewers. He gives an example of Greek statuary, which was crafted larger on top than on bottom so that viewers from the ground would see it correctly. If they could view it in scale, they would realize it was malformed. This example from visual arts serves as a metaphor for philosophical arts and the tendency of some philosophers to distort truth in such a way that it appeared accurate unless viewed from the proper angle.[6] Nietzsche addresses the concept of simulacrum (but does not use the term) in The Twilight of the Idols, suggesting that most philosophers, by ignoring the reliable input of their senses and resorting to the constructs of language and reason, arrive at a distorted copy of reality.[7] Modern French social theorist Jean Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. Where Plato saw two steps of reproduction — faithful and intentionally distorted (simulacrum) — Baudrillard sees four: (1) basic reflection of reality, (2) perversion of reality; (3) pretence of reality (where there is no model); and (4) simulacrum, which “bears no relation to any reality whatsoever.” Baudrillard uses the concept of god as an example of simulacrum.[8] In Baudrillard’s concept, like Nietzsche’s, simulacra are perceived as negative, but another modern philosopher who addressed the topic, Gilles Deleuze, takes a different view, seeing simulacra as the avenue by which accepted ideals or “privileged position” could be “challenged and overturned.”[9] Deleuze defines simulacra as "those systems in which different relates to different by means of difference itself. What is essential is that we find in these systems no prior identity, no internal resemblance."[10]

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