Category Archives: In Frame

In Frame: Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool, Francois Ozon‘s tense drama about (the nature of fiction/being a writer/sexy French sex) is a masterpiece. Throughout my first viewing, I rewound over and over again to grab screens of some of its most impressive shots. Here are a few of my favorites (some NSFW).

In Swimming Pool, Charlotte Rampling plays mystery/crime novelist Sarah Morton, who goes to her publisher’s secluded home in France to work on her next novel. These three screens are from a single shot that pans slowly from the left to the right, then back to the middle as Morton types. Inspired, she looks up and smirks. Cut.

The slow movement from shoulder to shoulder serves to wind up tension in the otherwise static scene. I half expected to see someone or something behind her every time the camera moved.

Ludivine Sagnier plays Morton’s publisher’s daughter, Julie, who shows up unannounced and is the catalyst for the film’s core drama. She and Morton spend much of their time sneaking around behind each other’s backs and are often framed comparatively. One shot often comes long after you’ve forgotten about the first. “That looks familiar,” you’ll think. But what does it all mean?

I’ve illustrated the effect with the two easy examples above, but there are many more throughout the film. Watch it and spot them for yourself!

This frame (and the scene it’s from) encapsulates the two characters’ relationships with and attitudes towards one another shortly after they meet. Morton, dressed in a long sleeve shirt, wearing sunglasses, and working by the pool while Julie lazes around naked, pestering her with questions. These people are opposites, and they do not immediately attract.

I include this frame for two important reasons. Firstly, it is the single most French screen I have ever grabbed. Is that a stereotype, or is it a pretty lady smoking a cigarette in the bath? Probably both.

Secondly, and I have to admit to my selfish motives here, posts with nudity get the most hits. My first post to this blog, on Splice and Sexuality, gets more daily page views than the rest of this humble website combined. Maybe this one will bring more eyes to The Movies online?

Swimming Pool, now streaming on Netflix Instant.

In any case, watch the movie and let me know what you think! I welcome spoilers in the comments.

In Frame: The Staircase Scene from ‘Faces’

In Frame: Anne Parillaud in ‘La Femme Nikita’

This isn’t a particularly informative post or anything like that. I took this screenshot a while ago and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. But look at that hat! And that face!

French directors (here Luc Besson) are experts at framing female faces.

You can watch La Femme Nikita now on Netflix Instant.

In Frame: Faces from ‘Une Femme’

Today’s movie was Jean-Luc Godard‘s A Woman is a Woman (Une Femme est une femme) and after yesterday’s Faces post about faces, I couldn’t not screencap this quick sequence from the end(ish) of the movie.

These frames pretty much sum up the entire film. It’s an ultra-classic romantic comedy with a touch of French quirkiness and, as an added bonus, Anna Karina, who won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 11th annual Berlin International Film Festival for her performance as Angela, the movie’s titular woman.

If you haven’t seen A Woman is a Woman, you should definitely give it a shot. I gave it four stars on Netflix just a few minutes ago.

In Frame: Cassavetes’ ‘Faces’

I just saw John CassavetesFaces for the first time (streaming on Netflix until August 3).  Glorious realism!  After watching this and Shadows, it’s easy to see how his work may have influenced the mumblecore movement (which I love).

But this post isn’t about any of that. This is a quick note about how the director chose to light and frame his main subjects, Mr. (John Marley) and Mrs. (Lynn Carlin) Forst, during an argument near the end of the film.

Light, dark, up, down. What does it mean? How does it relate to the film’s title?

And check out this over-the-shoulder shot.

COMING SOON: A lengthy pictorial analysis of the final scene in Faces. You know, on the staircase. I’ve got all the shots lined up, but it’s late right now and I’d like to reflect on the film a bit before I really spout off about it.

In Frame: The De Niro Face

From Stone:

Posting in celebration of the new domain. This blog now lives at Awesome, right?

Robert De Niro doesn’t think so.

In Frame: A Dinner Scene (A Nos Amors)

Just noting the composition of this dinner scene from Maurice Pialat‘s A Nos Amors (1983). In motion, these shots are all  along a single pan track. It’s really cool, but doesn’t quite translate to frozen frame form.