Lumière Critiques

I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Handverger’s Lumière Film: “Dinner Plate Robbery” (above).  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this short film is the subject of the piece.  While it is indeed someone eating the plate, the eater does not take the focus of the film.  Instead, it is the plate itself, which draws attention and fulfills the subject role. This creates a problem, as this subject disappears and is eaten by the end.  From a storytelling aspect, the conundrum of focusing on a subject that is essentially killed – with absolutely no struggle – is difficult to grasp.  Without trying to draw more out of this one-minute lumière-reality-portraying film, its theme could easily be played out to a sobering finale.  Technically speaking, the use of the “aging” effect on the film, while it did suggest the early era of film, it took away somewhat in the jarring static of the added imperfections.  The music, though technically not allowed in a true lumière film, Matt’s selection of music was consistent with the feel of early silent cinema accompanied by an orchestra.  Speeding up the film successfully allowed a full dinner to be eaten within a minute without the loss of detail.  The playful moment when a second person took a forkful of food added a subtle humor and storyline that served well to keep the viewer interested.

Upon revisiting my Lumière film, “It All Came Crumbling Down,” I was at the same time disappointed and pleased with my work.  I was pleased with the overall effect of the short piece and the reactions elicited by the class; I was disappointed, however, by some of the technical and directorial decisions I had realized after watching it post-creation.  Considering this film like an academic paper or even better, perhaps, as a poem, it is representative of a middle draft.  While most of moments and direction are present and doing their job, there are still small aspects that only become apparent with a break from the filmmaking process and a third party critique.  For example, watching the film now, I am consistently frustrated that in the frame, I see a cookie, not eaten, put into the lap of one of the actors.  Also, at the end of the film, we see the actors hesitating with the forks before diving in, which loses the spontaneity of the moment.  While the angle of the shot (high above the table) is visually stimulating, a tripod or crane would allow a steadier shot – which again is an important qualification of a lumière type film.  Though I wish I had the time and opportunity to fully watch this film and make changes, I am happy with the way it turned out.

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