Author Topic: Taxi Drive inspired still for Film Theory  (Read 2240 times)

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Gamblour.

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Taxi Drive inspired still for Film Theory
« on: December 08, 2004, 11:39:07 PM »
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So I had to do this in film theory, I'll include the write-up describing what I did:




For this still-inspired frame, I thought about Taxi Driver and its relationship with violence. Travis Bickle is a very motivated individual, based in reality. He hates the culture around him, the scum in the streets, and wants to change it. He chooses to save Jodie Foster’s character from the pimps that control her, as these are examples of the scum in his environment. His violence isn’t justifiable, but it is at least motivated by cultural and environmental conditions. He is doing it for a reason. In today’s media, when kids commit violent acts, the media and parents instantly blame media such as movies, video games, and music. Movies and video games depict and allow the player to engage in ‘violence’ although only simulated. Music can carry ‘violent’ or evil-inspiring messages. This is, of course, baseless, as many kids play/watch/listen to these and don’t harm a fly. Movies like Elephant try to offer up the video game answer by showing the kids playing a first-person shooter. Isn’t it a little too simple for this to be the answer? I’m sure there are more psychology things at work than recreating a scene from Doom or Half Life in real life. For someone to engage in such violent acts, I have to believe something more deep and troubling is at work. It cannot simply be inspiration from video games and movies. I believe a character like Travis, living pre-video games, was more like troubled by his tour in Vietnam. Additionally, I think the loneliness he suffers throughout the film burdens him to the point of no return, that he must save Jodie Foster’s character in order to give his life meaning. If he was inspired by violent movies, his actions, and therefore his life, would be void of meaning.

So, in response to these notions, and selecting the main idea of violence in movies, I chose to show Travis from Taxi Driver at his lowest point, the time before he goes on his rampage. He is sitting, watching the tv, as a couple talks about something on a soap opera. Irritating his loneliness, he knocks over the TV; Travis is motivated. I chose to show myself as Travis watching not a soap opera, but Taxi Driver itself. The film is a violent movie, and therefore, there is an irony to the image: I am playing a character in a movie, who is motivated by real causes, and replacing these causes with the bogus ‘violent film’ excuse. Having Travis watch Taxi Driver offers an easy solution for his reason to kill, instead of the psychological problems which Scorsese deals with throughout the film. The TV program is the only thing I changed intentionally along the paradigmatic axis. The lighting is darker, because I tried using more, and it just didn’t capture the mood correctly. Also, I flipped the image to make the composition identical to the film (though this flips the image on the screen, but that’s inconsequential). Additionally, where Travis is holding a gun, I’m holding a spoon, because the black handle looked enough like the barrel of a gun to serve as its replacement. And yes that’s a jar of pickles, like the jar Travis is holding.
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Ghostboy

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Taxi Drive inspired still for Film Theory
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2004, 11:53:49 PM »
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Good analysis -- except for the part about the spoon, which reveals no subtext to the photo, only your own lack of a gun prop. If this were the placard hanging next to the photo if it were exhibited, I'd drop that part.

About the photo itself, it's good. If there's a problem with it, it is in the sloppy composition. The lower windowsill should have been parallel to the bottom of the image, along with the table the TV is sitting on. The angle of the TV would then nicely cantilever this parallel plane. Also, the spoon/gun shouldn't be in motion (adjust shutter speed). Otherwise, nice work. It looks like you posted two pictures, btw -- the link to the first one is broken.

Gamblour.

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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2004, 12:31:34 AM »
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Thanks for your response. I did this last minute, and in about an hour. I only mentioned the spoon as an explanation for my teacher about the gun prop (the idea is to change certain elements of the image, I was just clarifying that that wasn't one of the changes). The motion was incidental, I didn't feel like taking the picture again, I feel I got it right this time.

As for the composition, if you can't see the first image, then that's where the problem is, the first image is the actual still from Taxi Driver. I will attempt to fix it....

Edit: I tried the link from another computer and the picture showed up, I guess if you can't view, go here: http://www.student.gsu.edu/~jgaar1/taxidriver.gif

The window in the background is a little tilted, that would be because I was resting the camera on a lopsided bowl. I knew it would tilt a little
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Ghostboy

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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2004, 12:56:27 AM »
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Quote from: Gamblor not so gone.
lopsided bowl


Classic tripod replacement.

You look like the love child of Billy Crudup and Jack Black, btw.

Gamblour.

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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2004, 01:11:10 AM »
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Hah, Billy Crudup's a new one, JB, however I get every day.

What do you think of the lighting, there's no light from behind the camera, the orange behind me is from a regular lamp, the tv provides the blue, I think it looks decent considering the time I put into it, I don't think it is identical the original still at all though. Not even enough, maybe?

My personal favorite part is the pseudo-symmetry between my positioning and Travis' on the tv.
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©brad

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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2004, 08:52:53 AM »
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Quote from: Gamblor not so gone.
My personal favorite part is the pseudo-symmetry between my positioning and Travis' on the tv.


that's what i first noticed, and it's really great.

i like the lighting in your picture too, the orange around the window and the blueish-ness of the tv. i wouldn't waste time trying to recreate the lighting of the original cap (which is near impossible, not to mention missing the point of the project). i think the picture works because it is a little different. does that make sense?

ono

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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2004, 09:01:20 AM »
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Haha, yes, I noticed the Jack Black thing immediately.  Very nice composition, though if it were me, I would clear everything out of the frame that didn't mean anything (PS2 controllers, cords, etc. -- I'm minimalist like that).  I was impressed at first glance, thought it was from a movie and was like "Now what Jack Black movie is that from?  High Fidelity?  Nah..."  Very cool exercise, though.

RegularKarate

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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2004, 01:51:13 PM »
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I think the video game controllers and cords are intentional right?  Since videogame violence is mentioned.

The composition IS a little sloppy and the moving spoon is very distracting (sorry, but it looks kinda like you're jerking off or possibly stirring your balls), but the way it looks like Travis is almost a reflection of your ownself is pretty cool.

The lighting I don't like as much if only because the exterior of the window is too bright and because of the dark foreground, distracting.  In the original, you can only see enough detail outside enough to know it's outside, you just view it as a light source, with your window, the exterior is so bright, I keep looking outside at the swimming pool and chairs and trees and stuff.  I know you didn't want to spend more time on it, but you could have lit the forground a little more and then exposed the photo less.. that or just get a soft white curtain.

pete

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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2004, 02:06:25 PM »
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you look like jack black.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

mogwai

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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2004, 02:18:25 PM »
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echo? echo? echo?

pete

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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2004, 02:20:08 PM »
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fuck.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

cowboykurtis

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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2004, 04:18:02 PM »
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you are jack black
...your excuses are your own...

ono

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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2004, 04:19:38 PM »
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boondock saints.

Just Withnail

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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2004, 04:49:04 PM »
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Quote from: wantautopia?
boondock saints.


You should post that in, well, y'know ... the actual thread.
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Gamblour.

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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2004, 04:53:05 PM »
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I appreciate the JB comments, though I've heard them all before...let's get back to the images themselves.

The playstation controllers weren't intentional, though I should claim it because it definitely fits my theme.

What about the boondock saints? I haven't seen it...
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