EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK

Realizing one’s true interests

Cinematography fascinating in all film aspects

I’ve had a lot of dreams—being a journalist, a lawyer, a doctor, a movie reviewer, a composer, a scripter, an actress, a director, a grocery owner, a designer, a vet, a photographer, an exploiter, a traveler, a polyglot, a witch, and a prophet. The only reason that I hope to live as long as possible is because I want to learn different things, take challenging jobs, visit exotic places, and meet interesting people. I have already given up on some goals while still holding onto others. Fortunately, I now start to realize that the dumbest thing I have ever done is excusing myself from going for my dreams by being subjectively obedient to others’ opinion.

Even though I am not sure what I am going to do and who I am going to be in the future, I acknowledge one solid and unchangeable fact of myself: I love movies. Due to this passion, I have extremely strict critiques for films.

Film itself is a compound form of art, including story, music, acting, photography, and filming and so on so forth. Therefore, it can be extremely amazing when all elements are blended together perfectly. However, it is an extremely difficult job.

First, a story can never evoke people’s emotion when it is trying to portray scenes while avoiding the trivialities of daily life. So the balance of story structure is a great challenge for all movie-makings. Also, good stories always have unique and different characters, whose complexion can be well displayed through only a few scenes in good movies. In those cases, the characters are all vivid and close to the audience, since spectators thus feel they are able to understand all characters’ minds and see the whole picture clearly.

Second, music, as an incredible art, can work even better than words and motion pictures under certain circumstances. Whiplash fully demonstrates my point. Listening to the background drum rhythm, I didn’t even have to look at Miles Teller’s expression during the movie sometimes, since I felt that intense emotion transferred by the jazz beat.

I don’t touch performing at all since I don’t want to criticize any actors or actresses. What’s more, opinions about performing vary from person to person—I used to have no opinion on the Japanese acting scene simply because I did not know how Japanese people act daily.

Here comes my favorite part—cinematography! I find it so attractive and amazing because the way a scene is shot can change everything! Yes! EVERYTHING! Different uses of camera techniques can even change the feeling of an entire story, like transformation of a romantic movie into a scary movie. All that changes is changes is lighting, angle of shots, people’s makeups, and costumes. Directors always have preference for lightings, colors and other elements to carry certain connotations they want their movies to express. For example, Tim Burton is keen on dimmed scenes with high contrast, while Quentin Tarantino is obsessed with bright and exaggerating images.

Some people may think I am talking about filming when I actually mean cinematography. The difference between filming and cinematography used in movie-making is a contrast between the elements that depict a scene and the technical camera work. Filming is more about motions and professional camera usage; I don’t know as much on professional camera usage. I cannot critique film technique at the moment.

In conclusion, a good movie has to be at least fair in all with at least one outstanding feature that overweighs other weaknesses, so good movies are really scarce from my perspective.

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