The second scene that I was given to story board was the film’s final. Having just seen the band play in a bar, this scene sees Tim leaving the venue after the show and walking home. With not a lot actually happening in this scene, it is all about the mood that it conveys. The ultimate idea that we are trying to communicate in this scene is Tim’s slow return from his euphoric mood, as seen in the previous scene, back to the more empty and sad mood that became familiar in the film’s earlier stages. What we are suggesting here is that while Tim’s happiness was real, it was also very much temporary and perhaps, for that reason, unhealthy. In seeing his return to his unhappy self, it is largely left ambiguous as to what Tim’s future holds – more unhappiness? a realisation of sorts?
Now, with the thematic intent of this scene addressed, the question is again how to shoot it. One thing I’d like this scene to do is sort of parallel the previous scene, with the hope that the slight differences between them will stand out. What will be the same is the single take approach, as well as it being a front on tracking Tim as he walks. A source of inspiration for this shot – someone walking down a street/road – came from the 2013 film, Ida. While there is some thematic similarities between Tim and Ida, I was mainly inspired by the film’s cinematography, particularly in the final scene.
I love this shot on a purely aesthetic level, as well as how it ends the film with an essentially plotless focus on its main character. So the shot in our film will very much resemble this, though it will take place in a quiet city street and will be more conventionally framed – less head room. The very handheld nature of the shot in Ida will also be apparent. Through being a mid shot, as opposed to the tight close up during the show, this will again present a slight bit of distance between us and Tim, but the camera movement still being present will hopefully make us feel that we are still very emotionally involved with his mental state at this moment.
Another technique that I would like to use in this shot is having a fairly shallow depth of field, which the character falls in and out of as the shot goes on. This has been done in many films, but I was mainly inspired by some of the tracking shots in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice (2014).
In this film, this technique works to kind of convey the confusion of Joaquin Phoenix’s Doc Sportello as well as the film’s overall hazy feel. While this is clearly not what we are going for, I feel that this can just as effectively convey feelings of isolation and a sort of insecurity.
In terms of lighting, the scene will be lit naturally (or at least look natural) for a night time city setting. Again, this will hopefully provide a strong juxtaposition between this scene and the previous scene at the show, where bright and coloured lights were flashing.
Ida. (2013). [film] Poland: Pawł Pawlikowski
Inherent Vice. (2014). [film] Paul Thomas Anderson