The feel of the frame

Rachael, Bladerunner:

The billowing smoke creates an ethereal mask which emphasises the character’s vulnerable beauty. It’s also reminicent of the close up of Celia Johnston surrounded by steam train smoke in Brief Encounter. But in Bladerunner the character is an adroid so there is an absurdity in the fact that she is smoking. The strong directional lighting from the rear left of the frame further emphasises her glamour and feminity in contrast to her android reality but is in line with her self perception as she doesn’t know she’s not human.


Stary Nights, Van Gogh:

Swirling stars in the sky dominate this painting, broken only by the huge cyprus with the town below insignificant. The emphasis on the stars suggests turmoil in the perception of big themes because the majority of the frame is taken up with these other worlds – far distant from the tiny town below. The foreground cyprus also adds a physical barrier between the artist’s location and the human level of activity in the distant town.


Opening sequence, Once Upon a Time in the West:

The wide frame emphasises the sparse, remote landscapr. We are behind the foreground figures this makes us uncertain of who these characters are. But their juxtoposition to the distant figure indicates confrontation with these faceless men and so creates a strong sense of tense menace.

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