Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stranger than Fiction: Harold Meets Karen Scene

I think the purpose of this scene is obviously to have Harold meet the woman who is writing his story, but also to show the similarities between Karen and her character. It is important to have a scene where they meet, because otherwise the movie would not have the same effect. If Harold did not try to stop his fate, it would show him as a weak character and defeat the whole purpose of the film-showing his growth from a dronish working man to a lovable person. The first shot is of Karen's assistant walking towards the door, and we see her through a peephole in the door. Harold is getting a tiny glimpse into the apartment through this small window, and its a very interesting shot. As she opens the door we see a long shot of Karen's assistant speaking with Harold and telling him to come in. They are strangers and are very intrigued/weirded out by the situation. While Harold starts walking down the hallway to meet Karen, she sees him in long shots, moving closer and closer while she gasps in disbelief of his familiarity. There is an over the shoulder shot of Harold walking into the Karen's room. She stands by the chair and begins to back away, and she appears to be much smaller than Harold cowering in his presence. Then there is a medium shot of Harold walking in the room and saying his name, and the camera switches between this shot and close-ups of Karen observing Harold. While they talk about how strange the whole situation is, we hear them discussing but we see a shot of Karen's assistant sitting in a chair across from the desk with the typewriter. The hallway is bare and we just hear voices at this point. AFter there are medium close-ups of them exchanging their thoughts on the situation, she sits down at her desk, and right when this happens Harold asks her about his death. She starts to stammer as Harold gets adamant and frustrated, almost like he is pleading for her to save his life. With her sitting at the desk it makes it seem like they are discussing a very important business transaction, and Harold is pleading with the boss. Their heated exchange is quickly interrupted with Karen's assistant coming in and telling Karen to let Harold read his death. She stands in between them and they are both looking at her. A reaction shot shows them staring at the camera as if it were Karen's assistant. We see them both realize that they need to approach the death of Harold, and that Harold needs to see it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How have we drifted this far?

I was slightly offended that Bon Jovi got more airtime than the late MJ. Not even a montage.
Also, a little less Celine, a little more MJ.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Assignment #1 - Analyzing a Scene: "Stranger Than Fiction" Bus Scene

We see Anna walk onto the bus, and upon noticing Harold, she quickly moves away from a medium shot to a long shot, showing her want to be disassociated with him. But she is quickly thrown into a seat close to him as the bus starts moving. As Anna sits in a stable seat, Harold moves with the buses curves and turns. We see profile shots of Harold moving in front of Anna's face, in and out, creating breaks in their conversation and interaction where Harold gets to think and ponder. It almost seems as if he is taking a breath in to calm himself before he starts saying something. Most of the dialogue - his apology to her and slight flirtation - are surprisingly done without the help of the narrator, showing Harold is starting some initiation without the narrator telling him exactly what to do. This is unlike him, since we have never really seen Harold converse for so long outside of a working environment or situation. As they keep conversing, the focal point moves back and forth between them with medium close-ups. But after Harold makes his apology, Anna accepts it and then says "but only because you stammered," and the camera zooms in slightly on her face as the bus makes another slight turn. She turns her head and looks out the window with a small smirk on her face: Anna is a bit surprised by this unlikely behavior but still does not feel much towards him, although by the look on her face, she is a bit pleased to see he might not just be the "tax man" that she encountered in the bakery. Harold begins to start asking her about the bus, moving back to a medium shot, until she leans in closely to tell him about the "weekly evil conspiracy and needlepoint group" and the shots change to close-ups. She is warming up to him, and we can see they are more interested in each other. Then he starts to make small talk about her teeth, moving back to a medium shot, and upon deciding that he would make a fool of himself, he leaves the bus. Through this scene we got to see more of Anna Pascal and warm up to her, as she warms up to Harold.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interpretive Question - Stranger Than Fiction

Do you think Harold would have seen the need to change his life without Karen Eiffel's prodding narration, or would he have lived the rest of his life in his normal, boring existence?

Because most people don't have someone narrating their lives - encouraging us to perform certain acts - what makes us step out of our normal way of life? What influences us to do the unordinary?