Author Topic: just Just Withnail's short films  (Read 18188 times)

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max from fearless

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2013, 07:53:59 AM »
0
Can I pls get a password?

Drenk

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2013, 08:41:03 AM »
+4
Wow, I loved it...After the first shot, when Arvid finds himself in the staircase again I was so taken by the mood that I thought that everyone could have disappeared - his mother and his brother - and that he could have found himself alone, in a gap in time. Because it was about a memory and Time, I guess. I don't know if I'm alone, but, during the first shot, when the camera moved around the house, followed Arvid and his mood (in the way that, yes, Faulkner writes the first chapter of The Sound of the Fury, even if Faulkner took the point of view of Benjy The "Idiot" but it was a way to have a kid˛), I felt like the house was an infinite space of imagination, so everything could happen. The fact that his brother called his name really made Arvid in another space for me.

Your short is a success, so you succeeded in giving the feeling of what it is to play in the hills; I've never done this, but it could have been my memory. So it was emotional. When you manage to touch people though an intimate story you have done everything for me, and that's why, maybe, I don't see the bad things.

Then, the way you treated the death of the aunt, was also about Time. Arvid writes his age, 6, 7, 8; he was doomed to be sensible to death in a strange way; and yet, the strangeness of his reaction feels connected to the reality of the tragedy, he seems to be the only one to grasp/feel what is happening.

Time: sisters, brothers...the photography added a depth to all this.

Bravo!



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N

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2013, 03:48:01 PM »
+2
Wow.
I don't usually go in for short films but this has really changed my mind.
You definitely hit a soft spot for me anyway.

I especially like the scene after we see Arvid's writing about his age, where the family is preparing for the funeral.
Seems almost surreal to me, like a dream sequence.
(Running on low sleep here so I'm probably misinterpreting)

Anyway, I need to think about it for a while longer and watch it few more times before I can try to give a somewhat less primitive opinion than my usual review, so for now all I'll say is thanks.

Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #48 on: December 02, 2013, 01:08:21 PM »
+5
Thanks again for all your comments. I don't want to say too much about certain aspects because some where happy accidents and your interpretations are incredible.

Were you purposefully working with wind for specific scenes, or did it make its appearance on its own terms?

Both the first scene and the scenes on the hill were scripted as sunlight, though having lived nineteen years of my life in the town we shot in I should have known better than to try to predict the weather. The day we shot the first scene was the first day of relative sun after a gloomy week of rain. The whole week I was frantically trying to come up with some solution that wouldn't alter the mood of the scene too much, but thankfully the rain ceased on the very day we started shooting. So the wind, along with all the weather, definitely made it's appearance on it's own terms and we decided to enhance it in post. Another stupidly scripted weather prediction was that the last scenes take place in the rain or just after it had rained, was also thankfully granted us by the weather gods.

I absolutely loved the way it was lit, and the way you work with light is extremely nostalgic. The darkness in many moments is so poignant that it creates a feeling as if it was captured from memory. And it's so interesting that you brought up how personal this was for you after I posted my post, because I felt it even without you saying it. I feel like I've had those moments with my mother on the couch, turning the TV on. Father coming in with a bunch of laundry asking for the controller. I think I basically had a very similar childhood as you. I'm the older brother with my younger brother, and it was really interesting how you captured the dynamic between father/older son & father/younger son.

Several people have mentioned the feeling of memory, and I'm awfully glad to hear that. When I was developing it I thought there should be a (very) slight surrealism, motivated by Arvid being thrown out of a loop by his aunt's death. But I realized as we were shooting the first scene, that the moodiness and the surrealism was probably going to be there from frame one. I was a bit nervous as to how that would frame the whole thing, so I'm glad it seems to work. I guess it's part of a larger process of discovering how nobody knows all the shit I've had running through my head whilst making it, and the film (thankfully!) exists on its own terms.

There was a shot where the camera fluidly followed Arvid towards a group of flowers when Arvid left the shot, I was expecting you to linger and focus to a close-up of flowers and it almost looked like you purposefully didn't.

Me three months ago: "Is it too long? No, it's too short. NO, it's too long." Seems some of that back and forth somehow made it into the shot.

What were you using in terms of camera, lens, steadicam, lighting, bounces? Also in terms of sound, how did you come up with the idea of the loud machine that comes in in certain segments, and also, how did you work with your sound design in general? How many days did it take to shoot?

We used an alexa with some anamorph lenses (that are modified in some interesting way i'll ask the photographer about), on steadicam. Though I would have loved to have had a dolly on certain scenes instead, for a bit more control. The loud machine is supposed to be the father vacuuming in another part of the house :)

The sound design was in jeopardy for a while, as we had one talented, but really expensive sound designer onboard when the money had practically run out, but i took some from my own pocket and paid an enormously talented guy who had worked with my photographer a lot. I will definitely be working with him as much as I can from now on, he did a tremendous job. I had some concepts about the sound that I wanted to try out, like using and enhancing everyday objects (like the vacuum, and the wind), and knew that I wanted some sort of moody droney thing instead of music. But that was sort of the extent of my instructions. "Can you do a moody droney thing?" And then I get something great in return. It was also very important for me that the sound accentuated certain cuts and changes in mood. Especially on the hill, where the editing is a bit jumpy and mood changes quickly. Like: "Enhance the sound of Arvid's hand when it hits his brothers chest, so it gives more of a subjective feeling of being hit, than what it would actually sound like. Like a *foooomp* that motivates Jonas's complete change in mood in the next shot. And take the drone out under the *foomp* so it's suddenly quiet."

Wow, I loved it...After the first shot, when Arvid finds himself in the staircase again I was so taken by the mood that I thought that everyone could have disappeared - his mother and his brother - and that he could have found himself alone, in a gap in time. Because it was about a memory and Time, I guess. I don't know if I'm alone, but, during the first shot, when the camera moved around the house, followed Arvid and his mood (in the way that, yes, Faulkner writes the first chapter of The Sound of the Fury, even if Faulkner took the point of view of Benjy The "Idiot" but it was a way to have a kid˛), I felt like the house was an infinite space of imagination, so everything could happen. The fact that his brother called his name really made Arvid in another space for me.

 :shock:

Holy shit that is a fantastic interpretation. Thank you so much for that. I'll be telling people this. I love the rest of your thoughts too.

Seems almost surreal to me, like a dream sequence.
(Running on low sleep here so I'm probably misinterpreting)

Definitely not :)



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Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #49 on: December 02, 2013, 01:42:19 PM »
0
DoP Benjamin Loeb about the lenses:

"It's a set of Lomo Roundfront Anamorphics that have been completely rebuilt and rehoused by Van Diemen in the UK. They have been customized with Cooke Speed Panchro SII rear elements rather than Lomo Spherical elements, so they have the anamorphic qualities of the Lomo's mixed with the spherical characteristics of the old panchro's."
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matt35mm

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #50 on: December 02, 2013, 04:31:34 PM »
+5
Watched it again; blown away again.

Yes, work with the guy who did the sound design again. The quality of the sound and how it works in this movie is so incredibly effective. Upon re-watching, when Arvid first walks out into daylight and the wind picks up and you see the leaves rustle on the trees... at that point I'm already starting to feel so many feelings and the movie just arrests you in those feelings all the way through. And the feelings keep changing, and you don't know whether you're watching a horror film or a drama or a surreal Lynchian thing and you don't know what's going to happen. The title gives you no clue as to what's going to happen or how you're supposed to feel, and I like that.

And when the boys are playing in the foresty area, the cracks of the tree branches as Arvid walks through the trees... the intensity of the sound plays against the soothing nature of the images, and the whole movie has this kind of unsettling quality, but not in a way where I ever felt like it was disturbing or interested in being disturbing... just... that it was a world where it's hard to get a solid footing and feel comfortable with where you are in the narrative or the characters or the world. It forces you to have to trust the film, to go with it and sink in, and that's where the masterful filmmaking really helps, because there is not a single moment where I didn't feel like I was in the best possible hands. I could give my heart over and ride this ride, and that's what I look for in any movie. That's the ideal.

And every new scene has its own kind of beauty that's different from before. Every new scene introduces a wave of feelings upon the very first shot, just because of the aesthetics. Maybe it's because of the nostalgic quality of the overall look of the movie, but yeah, it's like, upon the first second of seeing Arvid on the bed with his brother playing with his face, that's a feeling, then CUT to Arvid's POV of his list of ages, and that's another feeling (and I love how you included the half-second of camera jostling before you cut away from that shot). And then CUT to oh my god the one-shot tableau scene of Arvid mashing the keyboards with the brother running around shouting bang bang and the father (step-dad maybe?) ironing and the mother just staring off...

Dude, believe me that I'd love to find some criticism to give because I don't want you to think that I'm at all coddling you or worrying about hurting your feelings. I know what it's like to want real criticism, but sometimes a movie is so beautiful that there's really nothing to do but bask in its glory. I'd do that with this movie even if I didn't know you... I'd just go and tell friends how great I think it is (which I already have, sort of... just telling friends how I saw this amazing short film and can't stop thinking about it). The fact that you are a person that I can call my friend is just nuts because I think this movie is like a blast of light upon a giant billboard that says you are a great filmmaker and certainly on your way to becoming a major figure in cinema. I almost feel like I shouldn't say that because I don't want to blow your head up too big and I know you're a humble guy, but goddamnit, there are filmmakers worth celebrating and you're not only on your way to having that happen, I'm sure, but you've already made a movie that demands to be celebrated. Like I want to have a party for your movie.

Please keep making movies. I know you are, but please, just... keep doing it. If you ever get depressed and start thinking about quitting for any reason, I would fucking fly to Norway or Germany or where ever you are at the time and buy you your favorite food and tell you that we all need you to keep making movies. It would bankrupt me probably, but I would do it.

Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #51 on: December 02, 2013, 04:57:03 PM »
+1
Friend, you are making me cry. Thank you so much.
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Cloudy

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #52 on: December 02, 2013, 05:25:49 PM »
+5
Dude, believe me that I'd love to find some criticism to give because I don't want you to think that I'm at all coddling you or worrying about hurting your feelings. I know what it's like to want real criticism, but sometimes a movie is so beautiful that there's really nothing to do but bask in its glory. I'd do that with this movie even if I didn't know you... I'd just go and tell friends how great I think it is (which I already have, sort of... just telling friends how I saw this amazing short film and can't stop thinking about it). The fact that you are a person that I can call my friend is just nuts because I think this movie is like a blast of light upon a giant billboard that says you are a great filmmaker and certainly on your way to becoming a major figure in cinema. I almost feel like I shouldn't say that because I don't want to blow your head up too big and I know you're a humble guy, but goddamnit, there are filmmakers worth celebrating and you're not only on your way to having that happen, I'm sure, but you've already made a movie that demands to be celebrated. Like I want to have a party for your movie.

Please keep making movies. I know you are, but please, just... keep doing it. If you ever get depressed and start thinking about quitting for any reason, I would fucking fly to Norway or Germany or where ever you are at the time and buy you your favorite food and tell you that we all need you to keep making movies. It would bankrupt me probably, but I would do it.

People need to say shit like this more often. Totally agreed. Especially in a world where films/filmmakers like Withnail are sparse, these words are vital.

©brad

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2013, 05:43:02 PM »
+3
This is everything you want in a short. Beautifully made, provocative, doesn't try to do too much and yet leaves you wanting more. Plus it's inspiring. It makes you want to make art.

I remember the exact moment as a kid when I finally processed what death meant, and once I did the fear and dread hit like a freight train. It was overwhelming. I didn't want my parents or brother to ever leave the house again. This took me right there.

The kids were brilliant. I swear I saw a little Danny Torrance in Arvid in a few shots. Was it as liberating to direct talented kid actors as I imagine it being? Seems they would more easily get out of their own way and not over think everything.





Alexandro

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2013, 11:54:28 AM »
+3
Man, I have seen some of your work before and I liked it a lot, but this is on a whole new level. I find myself trying to say something that doesn't sound like what everyone else is saying, but as matt said, there's really nothing bad to note about this film. It's a small masterpiece. I also usually don't go for short films, but this one has made me reevaluate that position and the possibilities within the format. I have made two features and no shorts, because I've never figured it out how to do one. I blame this on the fact that I almost never watch short films, and I'm mostly informed by features. If more short films were like this one, I would be watching a lot more of them. And probably making a few, which would be great, because it enables you to shoot more frequently than with features.

It is so difficult to convey feelings without characters saying things, not only from their subjective point of view but also from the objective point of view of the camera. I feel that happens in both instances here. As others have mentioned, that shot of the kid playing the organ, with the brother behind him and both parents doing their thing is particularly powerful, not only because of the way it's shot but because of what came before and what comes after. Sound, cinematography (don't let that guy go, he will always make you look like a genius), acting...everything. fantastic movie and really one of the best trips i've had this year, short or feature. thanks for that.

Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2013, 09:19:07 AM »
+1
The kids were brilliant. I swear I saw a little Danny Torrance in Arvid in a few shots. Was it as liberating to direct talented kid actors as I imagine it being? Seems they would more easily get out of their own way and not over think everything.

Both liberating and not. When it worked, it worked, and when it didn't, well...The youngest would give you absolute gold for two hours, and would go with whatever you gave him. But of course he soon tired, and we'd have to work really hard to get some small usable snippets.

With him we would usually just roll, and I would feed him the lines directly in different tones, rather quickly, so whatever came from him might have some spontaneity to it. So his shots would pretty much either be "we have plenty to choose from here" or "let's just try to get that little thing that I think we need here". But the only scene where I thought we might have to deviate drastically from the script was the church. That was the hardest to nail, not dialogue-wise, that was great almost every time, but he kept looking in the camera. But then we also had moments like when he strokes his brothers chin, and some great versions of the tickling and laughing, so I was certain we could make something out of it. In the end I managed to make a version that worked pretty much as scripted, though it took quite a while to get there.

But all in all he was tremendous. Completely himself and never ever nervous or unsure of what he needed to do. The boy who played Arvid is an actor, pure and simple. That he just started acting classes six months before we shot is just amazing to me, he is a ridiculous talent that I'm sure will do great things. I was afraid I would have to lure the performance out of whoever we ended up casting, trick him somehow, I had no concept of how I would go about working with kids. This guy made everything simple and easy. I could talk to him like I'd talk to any adult actor.

And probably making a few, which would be great, because it enables you to shoot more frequently than with features.

Please do make shorts! The ability to shoot frequently is something that's been extremely important for me these last few years. Not waiting for the go-ahead from someone, but being able to go out and shoot if I have an idea. The improv-feature I posted the teaser to a few pages back, was shot like a series of shorts, and being close to actors often completely tore down my former intense fear of them ("why am I telling these people what to do, they know more than me! They know more!").

cinematography (don't let that guy go, he will always make you look like a genius),

Hah! Never ever. We're working on our next collaboration now, that just got funded :)
My short WORLD WIDE WOVEN BODIES is now online:

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Reelist

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2013, 02:40:07 PM »
+5
I had to watch it twice and let it sink in before I said anything…You really hit some beautifully subtle notes about what it means to go through this preadolescent stage that Arvid's in. I'll start at the beginning, I can vividly recall that feeling of wanting to hide from younger siblings/cousins, because they become so dependent on you to have 'fun', so you make up dumb little games for them to get your few moments of solitude. Your intention isn't to abandon them outright, but just to get a break from those little heathens always cramping your style. When Arvid's in the house and you hear his brother calling his name from the yard, it was so poignant to me. To know that someone wants you and is looking for you, but you've got your own thing going on, is almost like living through your own death. Arvid is Tom Sawyer up in the rafters listening to the cries at his  funeral. Then when they're playing in the hills later to seek refuge from their depressed parents, not only are they diverting their grief to be worried about them, but it's their last chance to joke about and entertain the idea of death before it literally hits home and they have to face the hard truth of what it really is. Little Jonas seems oblivious to what's happened, so he doesn't understand why they're straying away. I think it's hilarious when Arvid calls him a 'fucking asshole' for going home because it speaks to that disconnect between kids who are growing up and those still at the age of being coddled by their parents, and shows the vulnerability of how now Arvid needs his brother to help him through it more than anyone else.

I found the image of the Aunt with her mouth agape very disturbing, like you're watching the soul escape from her body. I have neither heard of nor seen that in the number of funerals I've gone to and to witness it the first time you look at a dead person must be downright terrifying. So, for Arvid to relay that detail to Jonas after all of the war role-play and stories of gas chambers is a big step in their maturity about the subject. The first moment in the film that struck an emotional cord with me is when Arvid's with his mom on the couch and we see him look at the picture of the Aunt, and then them as babies ( twins? ). It perfectly crystalizes Arvid's understanding that he and his brother will die too someday, and to watch in his face how he deals with that knowledge is just heartbreaking.

I love his desperate cry for attention at the end, I have to think he purposefully falls off that bank, and I found it funny. When his mother genuinely asks him what he's thinking, and you know that the only possible thing could be his aunt, it's such a great place to end it because that's the beginning of them sharing in their grief. I can only imagine that what happens after the screen goes black is they start weeping uncontrollably, since that's what I did.

This really blew me away on so many levels, I wanted to let you know how it worked for me personally before I asked about the more technical stuff, but I look forward to seeing where this takes you in the festival circuit. I echo everything that Matt said, you're a filmmaker to watch!! :bravo:

Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2013, 04:39:56 AM »
+1
To know that someone wants you and is looking for you, but you've got your own thing going on, is almost like living through your own death. Arvid is Tom Sawyer up in the rafters listening to the cries at his  funeral.

This is so much more beautiful than anything I had been thinking about that scene. Amazing interpretation.

I found the image of the Aunt with her mouth agape very disturbing, like you're watching the soul escape from her body.

As is this.

then them as babies ( twins? )

Yes, twins :) The idea was also that when he's looking at his aunt, his basically looking at his mother.

I love his desperate cry for attention at the end, I have to think he purposefully falls off that bank, and I found it funny.

Hah, I'm glad you did! And I'm glad the ambiguity of the fall can have that effect, as it was really just a matter of not being able to actually shoot his fall. It was intended to be an actual fall, but the fact that we had to shoot around it (hopefully) now gives it the opportunity to swing both ways: a real fall or a purposeful fall. This is actually the original version: he runs all the way up to the hill, and  mother catches up with him. She grabs hold while he's...rage, raging against the...you know, and he kicks against a tree (or something) so they both fall and end up upside down, where they have this last conversation. But then the actress we cast ended up being pregnant (actually not scripted, but perfectly fitting) so we couldn't actually film her falling, or even running and climbing. An alternative solution was just postponed until the day we were going to shoot and we ended up going for a little less rage-y version which works fine (although part of me really wants to see him kick and scream "against the dying of the light").
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matt35mm

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2013, 11:30:10 AM »
+3
I know what it's like to luck into something that's better than what was written/planned (anything that's good in any of my movies has happened this way). I think the ending's just great. He does yell at his mom before he runs up the hill, and that's enough to fulfill the "cry for attention" while leaving the fall as a genuine accident.

I feel like rage, no matter how real it feels, is often an act that we put on, for others and ourselves. That's not the whole story, but it's an aspect of being sad or angry. But no matter what, when a child falls, the mother will run to him, and when a mother holds her child, the defenses begin to melt. This is at least what I feel like we see here, in all its glory. The "Am I bleeding? Check if I'm bleeding." "You're not bleeding." A mother checking the body of her son and saying, "Oh you're fine, you didn't fall that far, you're okay" is  always a lovely thing... and then seeing or feeling that her son is hurt in another way, internally, was the most beautiful part of a very beautiful movie.

The mother was caught up in her own pain, which she had every right to be, but to be able to open up and share the pain, recognize the pain that others are going through in all their varieties... it was like seeing the first step from going at it alone to going through it together. And all you have to ask is, "What are you thinking about?"

Can you tell I like this movie?

Just Withnail

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Re: just Just Withnail's short films
« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2014, 09:23:37 AM »
+8
Some exciting news!

Good Machine Gun Sound will be playing at the NewFilmmakers LA screening now on August 23rd.

And also at the New Orleans Film Festival between the 16th and the 23rd of October.

I'm also in post-production on my latest short that I cannot wait to show you guys.
My short WORLD WIDE WOVEN BODIES is now online:

Watch it here!

 

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