Three Ways of Looking at a Film
March 27, 2009 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Digital Poetics is a film blog with a proposal for an interesting experiment called 10/40/70: write a film review of a DVD with three screen captures taken at arbitrary intervals (10, 40, 70 minutes into the film) and see how it changes the way you look at films. This 10/40/70 approach has led to some interesting interpretations of The Conversation, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Blue Velvet, Godard's Vivre Sa Vie, and 12 Angry Men, as well as a contrarian appreciation of Hudson Hawk. The blog Spectacular Attractions has even upped the ante by using a random number generator to determine where to select screen caps. Results include Jaws Randomised and This Is Spinal Tap Randomised with Two Brains. It's like Dogme 95, but for film bloggers.
posted by jonp72 (20 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's only a contrarian appreciation if you didn't already love Hudson Hawk, dammit!
posted by JaredSeth at 9:38 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is neat, but do they have a listing just of the films they've reviewed? It seems like...they don't, which is kind of frustrating for anyone who doesn't want to pore over years of posts.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:44 PM on March 27, 2009

This would be more interesting if the numbers were 10/22/58/74/88.

Just my personal opinion of course.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:45 PM on March 27, 2009

This sounds like it'd be a lot of fun to do.

*goes off to try it*
posted by merelyglib at 10:04 PM on March 27, 2009

I hope they do My Dinner with Andre next.
posted by demiurge at 10:26 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

This would be much more compelling if nothing outside the image was referenced, save for the names of the characters, and possibly a few very major plot points. I kind of think this is how the directors would have us view these shots.
posted by treepour at 11:17 PM on March 27, 2009

I found the first review (of Ocean's 12) quite interesting, but it seems that the rest of the reviewers have missed the point of the experiment: instead of using these constraints to their advantage by focusing on the arbitrarily chosen freeze-frames (which can lead to interesting results, as seen in the case of Ocean's 12), they're bypassing them and simply retelling the film, paying very little or no attention to the frame itself. As a result, they fail to tell us something different or surprising about the film; it's always just more of the same.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:24 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

How is this different from analyzing a novel based on what happened on pages 20, 109, 184, and 243?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:09 AM on March 28, 2009

Hudson Hawk is totally an under-appreciated film. Not high art, but still goofy fun.

Butterfinger: C'mon, Pierre! Read my lips: steak burger! French Fries? This is France, you gotta have French Fries.
Almond Joy: Actually, it's Italy, Butterfinger. As if it made a difference.

I know a former co-worker who made sure to order french fries the first night he visited Italy in honor of this movie...
posted by inthe80s at 6:05 AM on March 28, 2009

twoleftfeet: "How is this different from analyzing a novel based on what happened on pages 20, 109, 184, and 243?"

Could it be done in an enjoyable way? Plot is out the window, it would have to focus on writing style and technique, it would be pedantic. Like reading an academic post-modernist deconstruction.
posted by stbalbach at 6:45 AM on March 28, 2009

An amusing experiment, I suppose. But IMHO they don't know shit about Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:57 AM on March 28, 2009

This should be done only for films you have not seen.
posted by jettloe at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2009

Makes me not want to read any film blogs.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 8:35 AM on March 28, 2009

This is one of those things that can be improved by invoking the Fibonacci sequence.
posted by Eideteker at 10:39 AM on March 28, 2009

I think this would be most interesting if done with films that both I and the reviewer were very familiar with, so that the focus of the review could be the way that those three frames illuminate the themes of the film, or how surprising details of the frames connect to the film as a whole.
Sort of treat the three frames like a stand in for the film as a whole and see what emerges.

The Ocean's 12 one was pretty trite, just connecting stuff in the frames to film studies buzzwords.
posted by mai at 1:58 PM on March 28, 2009

Geez, what a beating I'm taking on here. And I had to pay 5 bucks to get on here to defend myself. Well, there's no defense. Take 10 / 40/ 70 or leave it. It's an experiment. And it will continue. --N. Rombes / Ephraim P. Noble
posted by Parsil1 at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2009

I think people seem to like it Parsil. There are a couple snobs, but you'll always have that here.

Anyway, for curiosity's sake I extracted 10,40,70 images for a few movies I had lying around the HD from another project.

[10,40,70] 12 Monkeys
[10,40,70] 2001
[10,40,70] Blade Runner
[10,40,70] Deer Hunter
[10,40,70] Donnie Darko
[10,40,70] Fear & Loathing..
[10,40,70] Henry Fool
[10,40,63] Full Metal Jacket (didn't have entire movie)
[10,40,70] High Fidelity
[10,40,70] Holy Mountain
[10,40,70] Lost in Translation
[10,40,70] Do The Right Thing
[10,40,70] A Scanner Darkly
posted by xorry at 4:38 PM on March 28, 2009

Also, welcome to the site!
posted by xorry at 4:42 PM on March 28, 2009


Many thanks. I especially like the 40 Lost in Translation and the 40 Fear and Loathing. Just doing the images without commentary is good in its own right--allows us to fill in the commentary on our own.
posted by Parsil1 at 6:17 PM on March 28, 2009

Interesting: I've noticed that the first major sex scene of many movies starts at around 40 minutes into the film -- most lately, 35 minutes into Godard's "First Name Carmen," right around 45 for Lynch's "Mulholland Drive."
posted by RichardS at 4:39 PM on March 29, 2009

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