Quentin Tarantino’s endless bag of cinematic homages that pop up frequently in his films is something film nerds have pointed out for years. But unless you’re a cinephile yourself, the endless hat tips to Lady Snowblood or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly probably spiral over your head.
This short video, a part of Indiewire’s “Genius Directors in Three Minutes” series takes a scene by scene look at the numerous cinematic references and homages that have appeared in the director’s work. The video uses split screen demonstration to show exactly how carefully he replicates scenes, sometimes as exact as the angle of the shot and the color of the composition.
Of course, many might watch this video and roll their eyes at how much has been “ripped off,” but true artists know no art is ever 100% original. The video proves there’s truth to the famous saying: good artists borrow; great artists steal.
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We’ve already posted a few Tony Zhou videos in the past, but what’s different about this video is that instead of his usual analysis of a particular film or director, he devotes this video to the unappreciative art of prop production. The furniture of a movie isn’t something a viewer thinks about. But what Zhou wants you to know is that most furniture in movies, whether it’s a chair or some other prop, is carefully selected for that scene for a purpose. Props do more than simply “decorate” the scene. Sometimes props tell us more about the characters we’re watching, reveals hidden secrets we might not be realizing, and hints at story contrasts that reflects the events taking place on screen.
A filmmaker himself, Zhou’s love of film shines through in all his videos, but this video shows that he has a real knack for seeing and appreciating tiny things that most film viewers don’t see. We promise, after watching this video, you’ll be studying every movie chair you see from now on.
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If you’ve ever heard the term “film essay” and not had a clue what it actually meant, you’re missing out…big time. Film essays are a curious thing. They’re not quite documentaries, but they’re not full-fledged, plot-driven fictions either. So what are they? Well, it’s kind of hard to explain.
Sans Soleil by Chris Marker is one of them. Circling the theme of memory, this film travels the world with a single female narrator reading a long letter throughout the entirety of the movie. That may sound boring, but I can promise you that it’s anything but. Filmmakers are raised on this work that is self-reflexive in its form and poetically deep in its content. You can’t quite put your finger on what’s being told to you, but you most certainly can feel it. If you’re looking for a quick thrill or some action-packed sci-fi, this is not your movie — but if you’re interested in watching something that redeems the values of art-making in the last century, then this is your film.
Check out the first minute of the film in the above video, then go get yourself a copy.
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