Our seminar class on Wednesday consisted of watching the Woody Allen film titled Manhattan. I always knew Woody Allen was famous for his movies, but I was never able to put a face to the name. When I first saw him, I realized that he looked exactly like I expected him to. He was short and scrawny with gray hair and thick glasses. He was also very comical, which I actually did not expect.
Due to the fact that we just learned about Mise-en-scene, I attempted to look for the kind of details we had discussed in class, when watching Manhattan. This was a little difficult for me because, as I previously have said, I find it difficult to look for these details while also trying to give my full attention to the acting.
Regardless, I did pick up on a number of things involving the shooting of this movie. When looking at the way the camera functioned, I realized that there were number of times when characters were talking, but were nowhere to be found. On this occasion, the screen was sometimes blank while the conversation was going on. However other times, such as when the characters were conversing in a car, the moving car was shown instead of their faces. When framing the scenes, it seems the characters weren’t always the main focus. In almost every scene where the characters were outside, the camera would occasionally not be zoomed in to the people. I believe the purpose of this was to show the scenery/setting, which should come as no surprise considering that the film is titled after this city that is being shown. However, when the dialogue was important and we needed to see the characters’ reactions, or focus on just the conversation without distractions, the frame would mainly consist of a close-up of the characters.
The film was in black in white, which I believe made everything seem classier, and helped bring focus to the characters’ expressions and lines as oppose to the colors surrounding them. The lengths of the clips were not always the same. The important, serious, and more emotional scenes seemed to have a longer run from what I remember. The dialogue was very interesting in that there was a lot of intellectual discussion. Decently large words were used, and the way in which everything was said made it apparent that we were listening to writers talk.
The costumes were not very flashy or extravagant. The only purpose of the costumes seemed to be to show the time period. The music in the film was only memorable in scenes when there was no dialogue, and we were expected to just watch what was going on. One of these scenes is when Allen takes his son out for a day of fun. The set seemed to be quite important in that it is what the movie is titled after. As I stated before, one of the goals of the movie was to show the viewers the city of Manhattan, and mainly just the beautiful parts of it. I feel as though this leads the viewers to more easily imagine what it’s like to live in such a city, and be one of these characters.