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  • Sammy Levin

3 Filmmakers Blog Post

1) Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson is an American filmmaker whose style is distinctly whimsical and precise. Anderson's compositions are usually very 2D, and he restricts his camera motions to a small selection of pans, zooms, and trucks. His films including the Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, and Isle of Dogs all demonstrate this virtuosic approach to set design and cinematography.

One scene of his that stands out to me is the sushi-making stop motion animation from Isle of Dogs. Although this sequence lasts under a minute, it took approximately 32 days to shoot. Challenging subjects including a wriggling octopus tentacle and a flopping fish are carefully animated with motions that lie somewhere between reality and something like a cartoon. The top down shot choice and consistent use of right angles and gridded placement are akin to Anderson's hallmark visual precision.

2) Stanley Kubrick

Much like Wes Anderson, Kubrick was known to pay obsessive attention to detail regarding anything that was in front of his lens. This micromanagement allowed him to pack so much visual symbolism and narrative into his films, a lot of it continues to be debated to this day. Some of his most acclaimed works include 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining.

One scene of his from The Shining demonstrates how his obsessive control impacted not only the visual nature of his film, but also the acting. Kubrick's insistence on repeating a take until all aspects are perfect led this one scene between Jack and Wendy to be reshot tens to hundreds of times, driving the actors to exhaustion and insanity. By the final shot, they were so worn out and mentally detached from their work, their performance provided an incredibly convincing glimpse into the fear and horror evoked by the characters.

3) Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino is the master of creating edge-of-your-seat stories with larger than life characters. His focus on iconic dialog and memorable acting have made his movies some of the most widely watched in the world. His films include Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and the Hateful Eight.

The opening scene of Inglorious Basterds demonstrates Tarantino's masterful use of scriptwriting to manipulate the audience's suspense, trust, and anticipation to craft a gripping dialog between two men just sitting in a house drinking milk. The Nazi general's cheery, yet insidious tone conveys his emotional coldness and determination to catch the Jews. The father hides his disdain for the general and cooperates through the conversation, but subtly conveys an innate terror in fear that the general discovers that he is harboring Jews below the floorboards. Tarantino also leverages a switch between languages to both enrich the narrative and alter the trust that the audience has for the general.

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