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13 Responses

  1. Lindsey says:

    How long does a take have to be, to be a “long take?” A minute? Two Minutes? Is it relative? I always think about “Unbreakable.” Many of the scenes are presented in one continuous take where the camera often sits at a distance and watches. It really services the performers and gives some of the scenes a tense feeling.

    Would “Stranger than Paradise” qualify as containing long shots? None of them are over 5 minutes or anything, but every scene is a single take, and that defiantly adds a rhythm, as David pointed out.

    As for worst long take, have you guys seen “Clerks?” There is a shot in the movie that lasts 8 minutes, simply of 2 people talking. It’s so flat and amateur, its own director admits to its failure. A little coverage is sometimes a good thing

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      That’s a good question. Given how short average short lengths are, you could make an argument that a minute is more than enough to qualify.

      – David

  2. Caleb says:

    SO I’m 20 minutes in and need to respond to the whole “seeing/shooting movies on film” discussion. David is entirely correct when he says actual film is the best way to preserve a movie and capture the best image quality. While it does break my heart a little that two of my favorite podcasters and movie people don’t know/care about the difference of watching The Master on 70MM compared to a Blu-ray (I mean, what??!), I get the feeling that by eliminating the complications that film projection can create can be a good thing. That said, I fail to understand how watching a motion picture on the format is was made and intended to be viewed on wouldn’t be ideal. Sure you’re not always going to have a great print, well-maintained projection equipment, and a trained projectionist (I’m living the museum life right now, so I may be seeing this partly through rose-colored glasses), but you’re still experiencing the movie closer to the way it was originally going to be seen by audiences. Sure, you get into tricky areas when you’ve got a film originally printed on a discontinued stock like nitrate, or presented in a color process which no longer exists, but the point is you’re closer to that original experience with film than a Digital Cinema Package.

    This argument is a pretty big topic in the archival community. I’m a student at George Eastman Museum right now, and there are members of the faculty who get in debates over the projection speed for silent films. I personally really love noticing the cue marks, scratches, or little unique inconsistencies in a projected print. I love a pristine Blu-ray as much as the next cinephile, but seeing something on film – even with those imperfections – feels more like a unique experience.

    This is also a topic non-film people could give less of a shit about, I’m sure, but hey, I enjoy it.

    Finally: Tyler needs to stop bitching about the excised footage gag in Grindhouse. That film was going for a whole experiential thing with the double feature and the trailers in between, that a little joke about missing footage is really just supposed to replicate the less-than-ideal experience of watching those kind of films in a certain, grimy, cheap (possibly a drive-in?) setting. I don’t think it’s so much Rodriguez and Tarantino going “wasn’t it great when films would get cut up and altered like this?” so much as them having a laugh about exactly what kind of footage would/could get cut. Planet Terror in particular is so hyper-violent and raunchy, and that scene is leading you to believe its building up to sex (or some nudity at least), but then it cuts out right before the “good stuff.” I think it’s a great gag and Tyler is just getting hung up on thinking that the filmmakers intended it a certain way.

    K. Going to go back to listening to the rest of the episode now.

    • Mary says:

      Hey man, ease up on Tyler. He’s a good guy that was frustrated with this one particular aspect of the movie. It’s his opinion, blah, blah, blah. I do agree about the film projection. I love it. Call it nostalgia, don’t care. It’s called FILMmaking, not DIGITALmaking.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I think the “wasn’t it great” attitude is more Tarantino than Rodriguez. And, appropriately, when the time comes to have the gag in PLANET TERROR, Rodriguez actually uses it well. A sex scene is about to happen, the footage goes missing, and when it comes back, everything is one fire. I actually laughed at that, because it turned the missing reel thing into an actual joke.

    • Caleb says:

      Didn’t mean to come off as a jerk with that “bitching” line. Of course Tyler’s entitled to his own opinion, but I really felt he was/is misreading that part of that particular film.

      Mainly, I just think it’s nuts that even an average movie-goer wouldn’t notice a difference in 70MM vs. a Blu-ray. I’d love an episode with some projectionists or film archivists with strong opinions on showing movies on the format they were originally intended to be exhibited on.

  3. Ari Gunnar Thorsteinsson says:

    As a De Palma fan I’d like to point out his homage to the Touch of Evil long take in PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE which doubles up on Welles by doing two long takes in split-screen, side by side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRw1Oc3HmVg

  4. Dave says:

    I’m a bit surprised that you guys didn’t bring up ‘Soy Cuba’ at all. I would say that the long takes in this film, particularly during the funeral procession, strike a great balance between being slightly showy, while also being completely immersive. They bring you into the world so well that it’s one of the few examples where you can scratch your head at how they did it without feeling that it takes away from the impact of the moment.

  5. Betty says:

    Does anyone else think that “Birdman” did itself a disservice from doing it all in “one take?” The audience isn’t stupid, and knows where most of the edits are, but even so, the scenes are presented without coverage and with relatively long continuous shots. But since the audience is aware there is trickery, it undermines the good the movie is still pulling off.

    The opposite side of this would have to be Steven Spielberg, who is many of his films presented long takes, but were so diverse in their focus, you almost don’t notice there isn’t a cut.

  6. Miri says:

    How about “Nine Lives”? A movie composed of nine long shots… Not the greatest, but certaintly worth speaking about. I think this episode should get a part 2….

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