On the Creepy/Alluring Art of the Follow Shot
June 3, 2009 12:13 PM   Subscribe

"Because the camera is so close to the character(s) being followed, we feel that we're physically attached to those characters, as if by an invisible guide wire, being towed through their world, sometimes keeping pace, other times losing them as they weave through hallways, down staircases or through smoke or fog." A video montage and essay by Matt Zoller Seitz. All shots are identified at the end; you may know more of them than you think. (via)
posted by maudlin (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Some boobies in there.

Nice post.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:50 PM on June 3, 2009

One of my favorite shots of the last ten or fifteen years is of this type, in Kill Bill Vol. 2, when the camera is low to the freeway following Elle's trans-am, and then the trans-am peels off as the camera keeps moving forward. I can't explain what makes it work so well, but I could watch that shot for hours on a continuous loop.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:52 PM on June 3, 2009

posted by ixohoxi at 12:57 PM on June 3, 2009

I liked how this was used in The Wrestler
posted by boydmain at 1:01 PM on June 3, 2009

Jesus, now I have to watch Hard Boiled again. Thanks a lot!
posted by neckro23 at 1:02 PM on June 3, 2009

Oh man, Matt Zoller Seitz. It took me a few minutes to recognize the name--I read his TV column in the Newark Star Ledger every day from ages 7 to 17 or so.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:13 PM on June 3, 2009

The very first FRAME of Michael Madsen walking back into that place to do what he did floods my body with dread.
posted by basicchannel at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks, this was great.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:01 PM on June 3, 2009

I am reminded of how much I love They Live.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:24 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Some boobies in there. Nice post.

It follows.
posted by rokusan at 2:39 PM on June 3, 2009

Many video games employ this as their dominant visual aesthetic for just the very reason Seitz talks about it working in films, placing the character in the space and making the player identify with the character. It's probably used because it answers questions the game developer is asking (How do I make a first-person game where the character is running and jumping off ledges and onto platforms? How do I differentiate my game from first-person games altogether?) rather than because of an artistic choice, but the effect is largely the same.
posted by incessant at 3:31 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed that. I'd maybe seen half or more of the films, didn't recognise some, but it's really well put together and made me want to watch them all. Thanks for posting.
posted by aisforal at 5:13 PM on June 3, 2009

My two favourite examples of this are Kubrick's The Shining (Danny riding his tricycle on the rugs and parquetry of the Overlook Hotel - this is featured in Matt Seitz's montage, but the sequence has amazing sound design too) and Gus van Sant's Elephant. Absolute genius.
posted by hot soup girl at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2009

Glad to see the spectacular, incredibly long following shot from Children of Men got in there. One of my favourite pieces of film-making ever.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:39 AM on June 4, 2009

« Older Happy Stabbiversary!   |   Bikes, mics, and helicopters. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments