Analysis/Reflection #4, Q3

From a distant gaze …” (1964) directed by Jean Ravel, picture Pierre Lhomme & Chris Marker, words by Louis Aragon, narrated by Jean Negroni, music by Michel Legrand.

Describe a few things that intrigue you – it might be shot construction, camera work, editing, overall structure, thematic concerns etc. Describe the camera work and why you think it has been shot that way.

What intrigued me most was how natural/organic and intimate the film seemed, and how it made me truly feel like an observer ‘from a distant gaze’.

On camera work:
The camera was most likely handheld, as far as I can tell from the ‘organic’ nature of the shots. It simply followed particular subjects in a very natural way. I think the way it was shot was meant for the camera to mimic the eye – how the eye simply wanders, without structure, as how it would when you people-watch/observe. The camera zoomed in heavily on the subjects, so as to assume that ‘distant gaze’ and also so they would not be conscious of someone filming them. The film was also shot in B&W, which I felt was significant. The choice to shoot in B&W minimised distraction and enabled the audience to focus solely on the subjects.

On shot construction:
I loved the close-ups, because they were so revealing and intimate. Since they are unbeknownst to being filmed, their body gestures and facial expressions, when observed up close, are honest and reflective of how they might be feeling at that particular point in time.

(On a side note, I almost feel like this film was made for extraterrestrials. Like, a bunch of them might screen it as a documentary on the human species on Earth on some faraway planet: “So this is the homo sapien… They are mostly known for their parasitical behaviour towards nature and tyrannical acts against other species not their own…”)

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