Listening to The Great Beauty and Cléo from 5 to 7
When I decided to do my final video essay on The Great Beauty and Cléo from 5 to 7, I had no idea what I wanted to focus on. The initial connection I made between the two films was their themes of time, mortality, and existence. But as I re-watched The Great Beauty for the first time in a while, I remembered how much I loved the soundtrack and how much the soundtrack influenced my viewing experience of the film. Then, when I rewatched Cléo from 5 to 7 again, I paid close attention to the music, something I did not really focus on the first time I watched it. Both The Great Beauty and Cléo from 5 to 7 are emotionally charged, almost heavy, movies and that experience is more so elevated by the viewer’s emotional state. The first time I watched Cléo from 5 to 7, I was abroad, excited for adventure and change. For The Great Beauty, I was finishing my semester “abroad” in my childhood bedroom. I wanted to bring those emotions to my piece, to bring a personal touch to the experience and relationship I had with the films and their soundtracks. A desktop documentary felt like the best method to relay how music can create emotion — emotion that comes from within as much as it does from the music. I will say that it definitely helped that my FMMC thesis completed a few months ago dealt with similar themes of emotions in the context of movies. It’s certainly helped me think through and develop the ending.
Beyond Schneider and Stone: A Reflection on Ivana Brehas’ “Consent in Cinema”
I think what I found most interesting about creating this video response essay was how much I wanted to stay true to Ivana Brehas’ form and style. I opted out of voiceover and relied heavily on quotes and first-hand experiences. It was an editing style and process entirely different from my final video essay. As a result, I think I was able to create a little more distance between the content and my personal life. I wanted to emphasize and highlight the experiences of Stone, Schneider, Duvall, and Adams — giving each of them their own voice, while also specifically highlighting the disturbing behavior of the directors. It felt important to include behind-the-scenes footage, because unfortunately we live in a society where harassed and abused women are ignored and disbelieved. Although I mentioned myself a few times, I tried my best to make sure I was not making the video about myself, but rather about the process of discovering these upsetting truths.
I fell in love with multiscreen while editing this video. I particularly fell in love with discovering how to direct the viewer’s attention through multiscreen. As I was thinking through the material I had available to create this video, I was skeptical that nothing would work well with The Silence of the Lambs. I was wrong, however. By putting another film, seemingly so removed from the one I was working with, in conjunction with The Silence of the Lambs, I discerned more meaning from my own film, while simultaneously being intrigued by the content of the other films. Since then, I’ve continued working with multiscreen and I’ve really found a fondness for not only implementing multiscreen with different films but also within the same film.
I made the Gifset deformation first, limiting myself to focusing on only the villains of The Silence of the Lambs. I found myself fascinated by the characterization and depiction of Hannibal Lecter, particularly when you look at his actions and demeanor around Clarice Starling versus when he is not with her. The experience of watching the Gifset is rather jarring and unsettling, but I found the more you watch it, the more things you notice. You can isolate sounds and scenes more easily, while still experience the overwhelming nature of having nine Gifs repeating at once. When I went to make my second deformation, I didn’t really have any expectations or ideas about what I could do. I started playing around with scaling and position in the infamous Clarice-Hannibal first meeting scene. I was genuinely shocked at how much I learned while making the deformation. The experience of seeing when the three sections seemingly line up versus when they absolutely do not is thought-provoking and captivating.
I think I have a love-hate relationship with desktop documentaries. When they work, I find they work really well, particularly when the focus of the video essay revolves around an issue/topic/theme closely related to the creator. They feel intimate and informative. I felt like I could create a sort of mise-en-scene of my desktop. For example, it was a very deliberate choice to pause on the image of Jack Crawford’s face and have him essentially gaze at you the entire video. But they are such a PAIN and as someone who is very detail oriented and plans things meticulously, I found myself wanting to throw my laptop across the room whenever I am screen recording for my desktop documentary. That being said, despite the frustrations and revisions and re-dos, I have always liked what it does for the videographic form and the viewing experience. I mean, hey, I did decide to make a desktop documentary for my final project.