Chungking Express | Desktop Documentary

First in the portfolio is my experiment for a desktop documentary on Chungking Express. This format was one of my favorite experimentations this term! With the flexibility and streams of consciousness it enabled, I found that creating a video reflecting on Wong Kar Wai’s non-linear storytelling perfectly aligned with the ambiguous structure of this essay. I viewed a pivotal scene of reflection for one of the movie’s protagonists, following along his introspection around his house. I experimented with aligning pauses, as it represented the viewing experience I had. In doing so, my documentary aimed to showcase how inquisitive and strange I feel when watching this part of the film.

Chungking Express | Deformation (1/2)

One of my deformations on Chungking Express dealt with a critical monologue, paired with a scene of running and visually depicted self-reflection. I wanted to pick this scene apart and show parallel imagery in response to the character’s actions and speech; through creating mirror-like fragmentations to deform the film in masking, I tried to emulate the man at odds with himself. Towards the end, as he breathes, I experimented with shifts in color as the film pulsates with his erratic pace. To me, the movie was remarkable in its ability to represent wholly average individuals as they interacted with contrastingly enigmatic people; this moment of introspection was wholly pivotal and I wanted to see if I could capitalize on the character’s thought process.

Chungking Express | Deformation (2/2)

For my deformations, I sought to separate the approaches I took. In this second deformation, I focused on how Chungking Express introduced its three central women, all in various environments that shaped them. The video pauses and holds with each introduction, then resumes again to show them in their elements. This contrast was sought out via the triptych-esque composition as well as shifts in color grading that amplified and differentiated characters. Through contrasting the moods and locations in which each woman is introduced, I personally began to understand their individual traits by isolating and focusing on them.

Chungking Express | Multiscreen

The multiscreen format was especially fun to experiment with, as it lended a formal element that works incredibly well with comparisons between varied media. I selected clips from three movies: The Silence of the Lambs, Watchmen, and Chungking Express. In doing so, I was immediately presented with a separate question of how I would relate the media with each other, deciding eventually on taking dark tones wit the film. As such, I shifted the colors in Chungking Express in hopes of blending it with The Silence of the Lambs, also adding tints to Watchmen in the process of unification. Color is entirely too powerful in its ability to transform perception—a realization I came to through the editing process. I personally found that the music, given that the films employ tonally similar soundtracks, aided in melding the films together. Inasmuch as plot and continuity goes, turning Chungking Express ominous through blending it with the dark imagery of Watchmen was certainly an experimental process.

Secrets and Elitism in Eyes Wide Shut | Videographic Analysis

Following the multiscreen video is my videographic analysis of Eyes Wide Shut. This project was originally a compare and contrast with Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, a film which featured notably similar plots and themes; however, after a period of copious experimenting, I realized that there would be scant time to investigate two films in-depth, opting instead to delve into the specificities of Eyes Wide Shut. To preface my analysis, for those with less familiarity, it must be understood that, as the final work of Stanley Kubrick, this film bears a unique standing in the filmmaker’s legacy. He is notorious for using odd imagery and unease; Eyes Wide Shut is no different. However, in my eyes, it employs many of his signature formal elements and motivational themes but also largely criticizes class and privileges of wealth. I was drawn to Eyes Wide Shut for this reason; while there are always arguments to be made about social commentary in his other works, I found that EWS did it particularly overtly; thus, it piqued my interest. This essay seeks to visualize aforementioned themes of division and control as they circulate within the film itself. I separated my analysis into statements and questions, providing structure, through text and audio, but encouraging individual interpretation. I found that a great challenge of this project was piercing together seemingly unrelated clips; the dreamlike quality of Eyes Wide Shut lends fairly little to continuity. As such, it was necessary to experiment with varied tracks and audio to combine the visuals of this film in a way that represented my interpretation of the emotions present. For me, piecing together segments of Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes together with the non/diegetic music within this film through was a method I thought would best lend to the persistent, eerie nature of watchfulness within.

Roma in Analog | Response Essay

The final video of my portfolio is my response essay made with Roma, a beautiful film directed by Alfonso Cuaron shot in black and white. For starters, selecting an essay to respond to was probably the easiest part of this project. In forming my reply, I knew early on that Bucheli’s technique was intriguing and wanted to see how his methods of formal analysis could reflect on a different film. I would recommend watching his original video in full as well; separation into RGB color channels is entirely enjoyable in and of itself and the experience is disorienting (in only the good way). As for editing this effect onto Roma, I initially noted the drastically different tones that came as a result of differing subject matter. Roma and Vertigo, albeit two films which both deal with time and space, examine relationships in different ways. Thus, the high-tension emotional scenes in the respective movies are thus exacerbated differently as well. For instance, in this essay on Roma, the scene used was a critical and vulnerable moment of Cléo and the children, lost and desperate in the water. In contrast to Bucheli’s use of the famed embrace, the tension is drawn out in one continuous take. This is the chief juxtaposition, where time flows continuously in Roma, reflected in the effects of color and slowed-down space.