Scrooby's Musings

Started by Scrooby, March 08, 2022, 12:28:53 AM

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Dunkirk : deft editing


This shot shows us the subject looking off-screen. The duration of this shot, a track-in, is eleven seconds in duration.

We cut to the reverse : what he sees occupies three seconds of screen-time.

then cut to a new scene.

The editing uses a dramatic contrast in timing to convey the frenzied swallowed-up impact of the inescapably obliviated.


First shot of Dunkirk recalls title shot of The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.



Did anybody care to wonder what was meant by the remark that there are moments in first-rate films, or even significant durations of time, in which the energy-transfer may have a priority (so to speak) over the story?

Far out. What does any of it mean?

Let's go over it. An artwork automatically transacts energy prior to the Spectator understanding the Artwork "as something" or "as about something". (How do we know this? Some duration of time takes place between absorption by the brain and recognition by Reason. Between the two is the Unconscious.) First-rate filmmakers who design their narratives to be seen not once but many times, guide the energy-transfer purposefully.   

What about the night Woodcock gives Alma her bedroom? Alma enters the room and shuts the door. The scene consists of her communicating without words.

Without words is the key concept here.

A shot in a film without dialogue is equivalent to music : the information enters the Spectator's mind as pure energy.

(Is that not a colossal comment here on Xixax? What more does Xixax want? Rather, why does Xixax want less?)

A shot in a film without dialogue is equivalent to music : the information enters the Spectator's mind as pure energy.

But words? Reason is Required to Understand Language.

Reason isn't required to absorb a silent Alma behind the door in her bedroom. The communication can be intuitive—similar to absorbing music.

Let's stop now, before anything is said. Let's not go too quickly here. This is a complicated situation. Like The Master and all of his repetition, let us repeat, then pause.

We are equating film without speech with music, and connecting all that to the concept of energy-transfer, which is a significant component of the healing process of art.


Let us remind ourselves that the subject of energy-transfer is vital because it relates to the healing properties of art.

Q : In how many ways can a movie generate an energy-transfer?

If we are to start somewhere—and any thinking about anything has to start anywhere—we may as well face the most elementary question imaginable with respect to movement in a film.

1. The recording mechanism moves.
2. Item(s) in the frame move.
3. The story moves in a direction (its running time).
4. Sound moves.

A first observation is the contrast between the macro and the micro of the phenomenon of energy-transfer in film. The over-all energy-transfer of a start-to-finish film is composed of a compendium of smaller structural units—for example : from a movement within a single shot, to the interplay of large-scale contiguous sequences of the written narrative.

Doesn't this mean that the energy-transfer of a movie is composed of different streams operating simultaneously? Example : a small-scale geometrical Situation may play itself out over a series of shots for a running time of, say, five minutes in duration; but, at the same time, these five minutes of running time are incorporated into a larger narrative structure which has its own directions. In short : a shot of a film and the structure of a film are engaging in energy-transfer at all times, but the energy-transfer of the shot may not be synced up as the same one phenomenon as the energy-transfer of the larger structure of the film. All this simultanaeity and contradiction complicate matters of discussion. (And how many different types of energy-transfer are taking place at any point in a movie?) Rigorous prose structure is required to think on such a subject, if anyone cares to investigate this phenomenon in public. 

Surprise ending to edify the faithful Reader :

The concept of energy-transfer has still not even been defined with specificity!—though we're getting closer. In fact, nothing much has yet been said. Nothing much will be said.

What's required next, if your insane-but-presently-calm author chooses to proceed in a responsible, orderly manner, is to think on the concept of art as energy.

Then we double-back to the specific material in this post.


I know when I saw Starry Night in person I felt that there was an interplay of motion within it.
Does a Rothko move?
My mind goes to immediately weeding out mechanisms, say, tinkering with one piece of a time.

For a specific thesis, Derek Jarman concentrated all the energy in one color and only two of the above (1 and 4) yet, interestingly, as time passes so does the medium. Even without recording motion within, there was a flickering between all the stasis as the reel unspooled.


Energy-transfer in Art : Before the Introduction

In the previous post, WorldForgot raised vital points about, and presented sharp examples of, the concept of "movement" in Art.

Here now is obviously the moment for your NHS-subdued author to convey that he is using the concept of "energy-transfer" to refer to a phenomenon occurring collaboratively between Artwork and Spectator. These work together at all times during the energy-transfer of art.

We don't "look into" the artwork (so to speak) and study its energy-transfer. No.

Imagine the Spectator is the Six Million Dollar Man linked up via a variety of wiring to the movie being watched.

Studying energy-transfer involves a dual study : the INTERPLAY of Artwork and Spectator.

The oneness of art and audience.

But we're not ready to define energy-transfer.


WorldForgot : "Even without recording motion within, there was a flickering between all the stasis as the reel unspooled."

That is a fascinating technical phenomenon. That example, and the example of the Rothko, another brilliant addition by WorldForgot, should integrate themselves into this commentary later on, when the time comes to consider, in some degree of detail, all the various ways in which movement in film occurs (theoretically this effort is possible).

For now : energy-transfer is as much a process of the Spectator as of the Film.

Studying energy-transfer is both "art appreciation" and "self-analysis" at once.

All right. All this needs development. Nothing yet has been said.

(Nothing here suggests any speculation of any POV of WorldForgot's post.)

Let's pause to visit the Playboy Mansion of our imagination. 


Colossal Story Fundamental : Courtesy of the Screenwriter

Caught in a choice between two negatives : the "go-to" situation for the ancient Greek playwrights.



Hell's Angels (1930), 1:52:31–1:53:38.

See it here :


WorldForgot prompted amusing thoughts in your feverish author's mind. (Are his pacifying meds beginning to recede from his system?) His imagination ejected a fusillade of imagery. Imagine a Terry Gilliam–type Situation in which the narrative cannot begin. Whenever a first step to introduce the story becomes visible, an interruption appears, and diverts the narrative from its path—indeed, stops the narrative from stepping onto the path in the first place : a surreal Bunuel–type Situation. All that recalls the "diversion narrative" : the cleaning up of the head in Pulp, the dispatching of witnesses in Kwai, retrieving Poole's body in 2001, etc. A story that never begins for the duration of the narrative space. There will be examples.

Eugene O'Neill, one of America's greatest artists of the twentieth century, dies, as people do. On his desk is left a play. The terminology in this situation is posthumous work. The play is a short work titled Hughie. The play involves a man entering a fleabag Manhattan hotel a hundred years ago and asking for his key from the night clerk he doesn't know. The story doesn't evolve any further than that. The entire play takes place in the duration between asking for the key and . . . but by the end, the idea of the key has been abandoned for the time being.

Or what about this

What is the genre of this film? Such a question recalls the first ten shots of Citizen Kane, but this author needs to stop babbling. But what if we stayed in this room with this phone-man for the duration of the running time? What would happen? Would he fix the cable?

Scrooby's gone away, Mrs. Torrance.


Ambiguity of character

Is this soldier inept, or is there another problem? This ambiguous moment, lasting only seconds, at the beginning of Dunkirk (2017), encapsulates the entire approach to this character all the way to the end of the film : inscrutable. (2:14)

A character walks into the aftermath of some apparently heavy situation, as in an early reel of No Country for Old Men (2007). Note the Coenesque foot-tracks that conform to a measurement all the way back to a character, beyond which is no disruption in the sand. What happened in this sand? Reason will not be able to answer that question to final satisfaction. (4:29)


water at 1:13

fire (cigarettes) at 1:44

fire and water join at 1:25:01–5.


up into light

(1:00:34) a major motif of Dunkirk.