Midweek Mumbling – To re-watch or not re-watch, that is the question
For this weeks mumble, Scott asks the question should he be revisiting more films.
As many of you are aware, 2012, is my year of Film Education. I am heavily into my looking back series and really enjoying watching the gems that I somehow overlooked for so long. This weekend was a perfect example, out of the 10 films I got through in the top three were two B&W film, 12 Angry men and The 400 Blows. So I am very happy to be learning more about film history by introducing these films in the mix. Oh and by the way, I could not have done any of this with out you guys reviewing/featuring some crackers that I just had to look up, so thank you.
My question today is not whether I am watching too much, or even if I am looking back far enough. It is simply do I need to re-watch more?
I have arrived at this question recently when I re-watched Martha Marcy May Marlene. I saw it last year at Cine-City in a packed theatre and got completely swept away by the story, I was shocked and awed by this poor girls struggle with her mind and questions of what is real and what is a dream. So much so that I found it hard to remember much about the types of shots used, the camera movement, anything. But I guess this is a sign of a good film right? I mean if I wasn’t lost in the story then I would be bored and picking hole sin the direction.
So on to the re-watch, this time it was in a fairly quiet cinema screening, with my wife as she did not make it to the Cine-City one. Different atmosphere for a start, not a coach full of German students on a night out to watch a Cult Movie….! Anyway, this time around I knew the story, I knew the twists, I knew the ending (even though it was still a shock when it arrived). So I could sit back and watch and admire Sean Durkin’s direction and softly softly approach. One shot in particular sticks in my mind when Martha (or was it Marcy) and friends were in the garden, doing the menial gardening tasks and having a chat. At the back of the scene are the men working in the Barn, Patrick is scorning Zoe for smoking again, after which a new arrival is brought to the Farm and Marcy is told that she will be her handler. Now the thing that sticks in my mind is that this was a one take slow panning shot over around 7-10 minutes. It was really powerful to see it unfold on the re-watch. The way the slow movement of the camera by slowly moving changes the scenery and/or focus of the take was truly beautiful. After I noticed this, I started to see more of the same type of shot peppered throughout the scene. Durkin did an amazing job of easing us through scenes and a hard-hitting story line without ever really making it feel forced. Beautiful on the re-watch.
Another example is SHAME, Steve McQueen’s masterpiece from last year. The same thing happened when I first saw it. I was stunned by the performance’s of Fassbender and Mulligan (oh and the sexy sex) that I completely became lost in the story. But on the re-watch I started to see some interesting things. Brandon’s life is mundane, boring and grey. The only excitement he has at all is the forced sexual release he puts himself through. It is his drug. OK we know this, but on the re-watch i noticed how the colour palette changes in between times of sexual release and routine life. It is grey, dark blue, green and every time he get aroused more colour is introduced, The purple scarf and hat of the girl on the subway, the red neons of the night club, yadda yadda yadda. But you then notice how different Sissy is. She is the opposite to Brandon. She is an extrovert who hides her sadness and is desperate for love, so she is always brightly coloured like a peacock looking for a mate. The thing is I only noticed this on the re-watch.
So do I need to re-watch more? Am I missing out on some really good points by only watching a film once?
I am so blinkered by the amount of films I want to see this year that is it the case that I have given up quality for quantity? I am not talking about the quality of the film, no, but by only watching once I am just getting the basics of the direction and the story. A bit like smoking a joint but not inhaling.
Ok well done people, you made it to the end of my mumble. Sorry if it made little sense I am very into this waffling way of writing today.
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer.
Do I need to re-watch more? Or shall I just focus on getting the notches under my belt? Comment below…