11/21/12 – Manhattan

This Wednesday, we watched a Woody Allen film called “Manhattan”. I have heard of Woody Allen before but never witnessed any of his works. My first impression of the film was that it was odd but amusing. I felt like it was realistic even though it was over exaggerated and the dry sense of humor kept me on my toes. Before we watched the film, we were given a series of questions to consider after watching clips from two other films.

1. How does the camera function?The camera played a vital role in the film because of its variations. One moment the camera would follow the characters from one end of the street to the other. At other times, it would remain in one place and we would watch the characters enter the scene and then exit the scene all in one shot. But what was most interesting was that it was used in such a way that the viewers were able to capture all the dialogue which is perhaps the most important factor of the entire film because of its wittiness and relevance to the progression of the film. The camera was sometimes placed in the dark so the audience wasn’t distracted by the surroundings; in that moment all that mattered was the dialogue.

2. What is the director’s approach towards framing scenes with people? The director often made the characters the focus of the scene. For example, the one scene when Isaac, Yale, Tracy and Mary were walking out of the museum together. The director had them exactly in the center because their dynamic amongst themselves mattered to the progression of the film. At other times, the director purposefully took the characters out of focus because their dialogue mattered more. Both techniques were intertwined together in such a manner that it properly delivers the message of the movie.

3. What impact does the b&w v. color have? The use of black and white shows that regardless of the time period in which this plot took place, the relationship issues that people deal with are the same and will forever be the same. The situations dealt with are very modern but the black and white sets its timelessness and also addresses the setting. Since the movie is in the city, the use of black and white enhances the timelessness of the city life and also addresses the chaos that exists.

4. Generally, how long do the clips (edits) last? It definitely varied. At times the transition wad very quick and at times it was long; it depended on the relevance of that particular scene to the film as a whole.

5. The dialogue was fit for city folk. It felt natural and not forced and that made the plot line so much more believable. At the same time, the dialogue was full of humor.

6. What is the role of costume in each scene? The clothing was very middle class which is exactly what the characters are. So it didn’t dominate in any way or distract the audience from the significance of the dialogue. It kept it realistic and appropriate.

7. What is the role of music in each scene? The music wasn’t as important as some other factors. In fact, I hardly remember hearing any music at all. Once again, this might have been the director’s approach to figuring out what mattered and what didn’t and the music didn’t have much relevance.

8. What is the role of the set in the movie? The setting took place in various areas of Manhattan and it was important in terms of the who the characters were. Their lives were as chaotic as city life and drawing attention to that, enhanced the chaos of each character’s lives.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film because it’s a film like no other. I’m curious to see what other films Woody Allen directed and acted in because his style is very appealing. This film was also very appropriate to the class since it focused on the “Arts of New York”. I look forward to viewing other films and opening myself up to different genres and such.