Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Cinema Gallery: 200 Images, Part 1

I visited Ed Howard's lovely Only the Cinema the other day, and saw he'd been tagged in a meme by MovieMan at The Dancing Image. This meme, conversely started by Stephen at Checking On My Sausages, calls for film bloggers to create authentic screen captures from movie moments they felt best exemplified the visual magic of cinema. And even though I wasn't tagged by Ed (who had some nicely steamy choices), I quickly recalled my drive to do just this very thing. So today's the day to begin...

As usual, I can't do anything half-way (a curse and blessing). So, noting that MovieMan said any number of captures would do as participation, I decided to go for a bat-shit crazy list of 200, though I'll be doing it in a few parts (I originally was going to go for my standard 101, but I changed my mind). One might think 200 stills would be enough for this subject, but it isn't. I'm not even sure 10,000 images would suffice to illustrate how tasty movies can be for the eyes. I had to make one specific rule for myself: no directors would be mentioned more than once (photographers, on the other hand, are exempt from this rule, as you will see). I also made no determination to cover the whole of film history nor the entirety of the world's contribution to it. This put too much pressure on me. So I tried to keep it simple. I went with whatever popped into my head, or looked good upon research. My main criteria: the shot had to work as a single photograph, and in fact, had to transcend the moving image and stand on its own as a frame-worthy still (you can click on the images to see them bigger, if you like). So, in no real order of preference--except I may be trying to transmit emotion through free association--here are the first 33 of 200 beautiful and arresting cinematic visions:

A frame from the Oscar-winning collage-animated autobiography Frank Film (Frank and Caroline Mouris, 73; PHOTOG: Frank and Caroline Mouris; See it HERE)

A "pillow shot," a critical term for the director's distinctive linking/establishing shots, like this one from Floating Weeds (Yasujirô Ozu, 59; PHOTOG: Kazuo Miyagawa)

Shyness among the hordes at Monterey Pop. (D.A. Pennebaker, 68; PHOTOG: Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock, James Desmond, Roger Murphy and Barry Feinstein)

Philly is fascinated by his cousin's camera, as his aging mother Pearl stares nervously into the sunlight in Best Boy (Ira Wohl, 79; PHOTOG: Tom McDonough)

"Little bird, little Chavahla, you were always such a pretty little thing, everybody's favorite child." A poor farmer imagines his daughter's drift away from childhood in Fiddler on the Roof. (Norman Jewison, 71; PHOTOG: Oswald Morris)

The spot where two forbidden lovers will consummate their obsession in Ryan's Daughter. (David Lean, 1970; PHOTOG: Freddie Francis)

A stolen kiss before a color field in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. (Jacques Demy, 64; PHOTOG: Jean Rabier)

A depressed filmmaker remembers his happiest moment: a long-ago girlfriend sweetly, spontaneously catching his gaze in Stardust Memories. (Woody Allen, 80; PHOTOG: Gordon Willis)

This spiritually exhausted woman waits to be saved in Magnolia. (Paul Thomas Anderson, 99; PHOTOG: Robert Elswit)

Motivated by love, the prince fights an evil queen, who's transformed into a dragon, in Sleeping Beauty. (Clyde Geronimi, 59)

Stranded on a desert island, separate but together, a boy tries to lure a horse into friendship in The Black Stallion. (Carroll Ballard, 79; PHOTOG: Caleb Deschanel)

Illusion comes alive in the underseen The Sea That Thinks. (Gert De Graaff, 2000; PHOTOG: Gert De Graaff)

A boy finally uncovers his eyes to behold an odd inferno in The Reflecting Skin. (Phillip Ridley, 90; PHOTOG: Dick Pope)

Jonesy watches and waits in Alien. (Ridley Scott, 79; PHOTOG: Derek Vanlint)

A widow, locked out of her apartment, hears her husband's unfinished music in her head as she tries to rest in Three Colors: Blue. (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 93; PHOTOG: Slawomir Idziak)

The bullet finds its target and a senator is dead, his golf cart sliding into the dinner preparations, in The Parallax View. (Alan J. Pakula, 74; PHOTOG: Gordon Willis)

The big escape plan is launched with Brute Force. (Jules Dassin, 47; PHOTOG: William H. Daniels)

Fascism beats the hell out of free thinking in Punishment Park. (Peter Watkins, 71; PHOTOG: Joan Churchill, Peter Smokler)

This thing works. Taxi Driver. (Martin Scorsese, 76; PHOTOG: Michael Chapman)

The humiliation and The Passion of Joan D'arc. (Carl Th. Dreyer, 28; PHOTOG: Rudolph Mate)

A hit man walks the New York streets towards his destiny in Blast of Silence. (Allen Barron, 61; PHOTOG: Merrill Brody)

42nd Street movie theaters, soon to host the premiere of The Projectionist. (Harry Hurwitz, 71; PHOTOG: Victor Petrashevic)

The choreographer intently watches a cattle call in All That Jazz. (Bob Fosse, 79; PHOTOG: Giuseppe Rotunno)

An oil executive, back home in his city, looks longingly into the night and wonders what's going on a world away in Local Hero. (Bill Forsyth, 83; PHOTOG: Chris Menges)

Rabbits at home. Inland Empire. (David Lynch, 2006; PHOTOG: David Lynch)

Children "play" in Killer of Sheep. (Charles Burnett, 77; PHOTOG: Charles Burnett)

Relief for a hot city summer In America. (Jim Sheridan, 2002; PHOTOG: Declan Quinn)

Always making an effort to cheer the kid up in Kikujiro. (Takeshi Kitano, 99; PHOTOG: Katsumi Yanagijima)

Jessie, happy in the care of her friend. "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2. (John Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich, 99)

The master plan. The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. (Roy Rowland, 53; PHOTOG: Frank Planer)

"You didn't see it, you didn't hear it, you won't say nothin' to no one ever in your life. You never heard it, how absurd it all seems without any proof." The trauma for Tommy. (Ken Russell, 75; PHOTOG: Dick Bush, Ronnie Taylor, Robin Lehman)

First love's pure bliss in A Little Romance. (George Roy Hill, 79; PHOTOG: Pierre-William Glenn)

Finally...Le Rayon Vert / Summer. (Eric Rohmer, 86; PHOTOG: Sophie Maintigneux)

Look for 36 more visions tomorrow!


Joel Bocko said...

Big thumbs up, Dean...

Stephen's got his work cut out for him!!!

Lisa said...

Gorgeous, thought-provoking, and now a bunch of movies I have to start watching, either for the first time or again! As always, Dean, you are amazing!

Dean Treadway said...

Geez, thanks, you guys.

Stephen said...

These are some absolutely fabulous images, Dean. Brilliant choices.

The image from FRANK FILM reminds me of something similar in METROPOLIS. I've been educating myself on animation recently and this had passed me by.

I am not a great admirer of Pixar but I think you chose one of the most effecting and powerful moments in their work.

My favourites here, though they are all impressive, are from MONTEREY POP (is that a fiction film or a documentary?) and KIKUJIRO.

I look forward to Part Two.

Ed Howard said...

What a great set of image captures, Dean! I particularly love the images you picked from two favorites: The Green Ray and Punishment Park, which is, even today, as shocking and provocative and original as the day it came out, a profound testament to Watkins' brilliance and uniqueness.

And that image from Frank Film makes me want to see it instantly!

Dean Treadway said...

FRANK FILM is one of the cinema's great offerings. I have it on filmicability, along with an article. check my index, or search for it in the little search box!

Dean Treadway said...

Stephen, MONTEREY POP is D.A. Pennebaker's documentary about the first big rock fest, done outside San Francisco. It predates WOODSTOCK, and contains the landmark onstage performance form Jimi Hendrix, as well as an unbelieveable coda from Ravi Shankhar (the composer of the scores to some of Sajiyat Rey's great works, and a dep influence on George Harrison of the Beatles). See it at once.