In this Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou does a very close evaluation of a scene from Silence of the Lamps to address the question “Who Wins the Scene?” The question in itself is an interesting one to throw out while watching a film. What are each character’s goals? How do they challenge one another? And who wins? It sets up a structure of evaluation by putting the attention on the relationship between characters as a source of understanding rather than looking to individual characteristics and features as the main source of information.
In this video Tony Zhou walks us through this question. By looking at the camera’s framing and actor’s positioning, we can evaluate the relationships within the scene as they challenge one another. Zhou breaks apart this particular scene cut by cut, using outside music and voiceover to guide the viewer. The non-diegetic music removes us from the original scene and allows for Zhou to have an effective voiceover that doesn’t get mixed up with the dialogue from the movie. He is able to guide our eye by explaining how the camera angle and the actor’s body language tells us “who’s winning.” I found this video to be wonderfully informative in that it calls attention to a way of seeing that a viewer can use. It is as if Zhou is giving us a new vernacular, or a lens, that we can use to read the relationship between Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster’s characters throughout the entire film.
Once again, this videographic criticism has inspired awe in my by the level of detail that goes into cinematography and filmmaking. By taking a short but important scene apart frame by frame and imposing a singular question upon it, Zhou has presented us with a new way of seeing.