11/28/12 – Swathi Satty

Today, We had Professor Diaz come to analyze Manhattan with us and she spoke of cinematography,editing and sound. Sound is significant for the film Manhattan because of the use of music in integration with the plot. Mise en scene is all the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed which is basically what makes a movie as dynamic as it is. I found it interesting that Woody Allen used 2:35:1 for each scene because it fit with the broad nature of Manhattan. It allowed me as a viewer to understand the grandness of the city. The distance from the characters is important because it effects how the viewers understand the story. The more intimate a story line, the closer the camera is to the focus point of the characters. Close-up might be profound which was often close with scenes with Tracy because she was foil to Mary which allowed character development.

The lighting is just as important as the camera angles. In Manhattan, high key lighting is rare. Low key lighting creates stronger contrasts. Manhattan used it a lot as well as The Godfather and Citizen Kane. I think it allowed the viewers to focus on the dialogue rather than the surrounding. Also the relationship between Isaac and Mary is very low key and as dark as the atmosphere the low key lighting creates. The storyboard and color are vital parts of the film. The use of color or black and white is often symbolic. I think its to enhance the classic view of New York, as often depicted in various professional photos. Basic camera movements are pan, tilt and dolly or tracking shot. The dolly shots were mostly used to Manhattan, which is mostly used to make the viewers feel like they’re part of the conversation. A take was much longer when movie making was new than it is now because editing wasn’t as advanced as it is now. But some directors purposely use long takes. In Manhattan, I felt that long takes felt more natural because the concept of the film to convey a dynamic between characters. Any extra editing would take away from the strong dialogue usage.

The transition of scenes felt so natural in this film that I didn’t find it hard to keep up with the plot line. This makes sense because the most important thing about this film is character progression. I was able to pick up on the humor as well since there wasn’t much to concentrate on. There are so many components in a film which I wasn’t even aware of. Overall, I felt that Allen was very thorough with his ideas on how the movie should be filmed because it was effective in keeping the movie flowing and not making it confusing which would defeat the purpose. I never realized just how detailed the lay out of each film has to be but I certainly respect all the effort put in. I enjoyed the last scene of Manhattan because it brought it back to the beginning of the movie when Allen showed Manhattan in this grandiose manner. I felt that this finale basically implied that life goes on even with the ups and down Isaac had. This is important to be emphasized because New York City is the city that never sleeps.