Saturday, February 2, 2008

visual grammar I

This month, the Gene Siskel Film Center has been doing a retrospective on Shohei Imamura, a director I'd heard about, but whose films I haven't seen. Because of bad weather and travel committments, I've missed every entry in the series, but it inspired me to Netflix one of his films (Vengeance Is Mine, 1979) and take another out from the library (The Pornographers, 1966).

I started with The Pornographers, which is a mightily impressive movie, in a number of different regards. The one I particularly want to focus on today is the way that Imamura composes for the screen. He seems to have an inexhaustible repetoire of inventive methods for dividing or compartmentalizing the frame, often in ways that focus our attention precisely or reveal relationships between characters. These screenshots probably say this better than I can:

After this, I'm really eager to see more Imamura films.

1 comment:

Bob Turnbull said...

Great screen caps Jeremy! I'm going to have watch this one again (it was my first Imamura). I was lucky enough to see a bunch of his stuff when that same retrospective hit Toronto awhile ago. "Vengeance Of Mine" is certainly the most startling of the bunch, but I probably prefer "Ballad Of Narayama" and "The Eel" (coincidentally the two that won him Cannes). "Intentions Of Murder" is also a beautiful looking film...