Drowning in feelings .. This is how the long shot from “1917” made a great movie


Mercy of mourning

The long continuous shot in the beginning of the cinema was not an aesthetic choice for filmmakers, but rather a necessity, as the film space is small, so the films were more like filming scenes of life continuously until the film was implemented.

But with the discovery of montage or the ability to cut in the cinema, the tendency to choose long shots has become primarily an artistic and aesthetic, but some view it as the essence of realism and cinematic honesty. When choosing to continue filming there is no room for deception, this leaves the viewer a space to test his feelings without Manipulate or direct it.

A long shot is a cinematic shot that lasts for minutes without cutting, can last for a short period and can continue until it reaches the full length of the film, so it becomes a long shot of two hours, for example.

Few experiments in modern cinema have succeeded in achieving the idea of ​​one continuous shot, some of them through hidden pieces, that is, the illusion that they are one shot, and some of them actually implemented the theory without any manipulation, from the films that achieved this in a pure and complete film “Russian ark”, And a newer movie, “Victoria”.

As for the films that succeeded in making this effect with the help of the skill of the montage and filmmaker without actually being one continuous shot, it is the “birdman”, and this year the epic war movie “1917” by the Englishman Mendes, who has ten nominations for the Oscars.

Aesthetics of the long shot
When talking about the 1917 movie, the technical aspect of the movie cannot simply be ignored, as being a photographer to become a single shot that follows its heroes and makes the viewer in unity with them, is an essential element in attracting the film and considering it a distinctive film of its kind.

The story that Mendes tells is simple in its essence, told by his grandfather, who dedicates the film to him as one of the heroes of the First World War, two young soldiers who go on a nearly impossible mission to deliver a message to one of the legions on the borders of the enemy’s lands, it is more like a journey movie, during which its heroes change as if the story of maturity in the face Inevitable death.

Although the story and its details do not possess a new one in particular, Mendes is concerned with the possibilities of the cinematic medium himself, by making a film that is impossible to tell but can only be tested, plunging the “1917” senses of the viewer, suddenly we become inside a world of colors, lights, and texture, the moisture of the earth and the softness of flowers, the voice The shoes drenched in the mud, the silence of anticipation, the sudden dawn, the lighting of the city ruins and their extended shadows, the stability of death and the movement of the living.

In the early 1940’s, one of the most enthusiastic theorists and cinematographers of the long shot was Frenchman Andre Bazin, who maximized the value of long shots versus schools like the Soviet montage that made montage cutting its primary concern in conveying meaning.

Because of its political nature, this method seemed to reflexively direct the viewer towards one interpretation and stop his role as a creator of meaning.

If we apply Bazin’s words to the 1917 movie, we can feel that. Of course, the director, with director of photography Roger Dickens, chooses the location of the camera, the direction of its movement, what it sees and what it hides from us, but it leaves us with a feeling test as it existed.

In one of the scenes, one of the soldiers is killed, but we do not see the killing process soon, but we see its result in front of us on the screen, a young man who once had a flip-up telling funny tales, gradually taking away color and life while losing his blood, the camera does not escape from a tragedy like that but it frames it for the longest time It is possible to whiten the boy’s face in front of us. This enhances the emotional value of the scene as it brings him closer to the truth. For example, we are witnessing the sadness of his colleague over him.

Realism and film genre
Not only does the realism of the film pre-planned lie on long shots, death scenes and explosive effects, but it extends to include accidents during filming that provide the film with more originality and honesty.

During one of the movie’s most prominent scenes and as Scofield (George MacKay) runs to catch his impossible mission and reaches Colonel Mackenzie and gives him the message that will stop the possible massacre, Scofield presents on a semi-suicidal behavior as he runs frantically against the soldiers ready to attack, and while he runs he collides with some of them standing up standing Completing his journey.

These spontaneous hiccups were not written in the scenario of the movie or prepared for it during filming, and due to the difficulty of implementing the scene that includes groups and successive explosions and continuous camera movement, filming did not stop at the time and the camera completed its mission, so the reality itself contributed to creating more drama that became easier to believe and interact with it.

Military films can be considered a kind that possesses certain characteristics, among them are features such as deliverance and flight, sacrifice and the social effects of war. They contain scenes of combat and mutual ground or air battles. The most famous films of this genre are World War II films.

The Mendes movie falls in World War I, but it does not seek to provide historical information about it, although it is more unknown than its aftermath, but it seeks to make a film about survival, courage, denunciation of the war itself and its absurdity, and more than that a movie that celebrates the cinema itself and its ability to recreate reality.


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