Movies That Made You Cry

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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Edwards1984 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:55 pm

MacFall wrote:How else would you film a stage production? Sheesh. :p


Watch any other musical. Better yet, watch Fiddler on the Roof. That's probably one of the best directed/edited musicals I've ever seen. Or at the very least (since I know it's like three hours long), watch the Tradition sequence at the beginning, as it showcases what I'm talking about. Norman Jewison knew when to hold a shot, when to do rapid cuts, and how to handle a solo, etc. He did it well, and it worked.

The fact is, you watch a movie for a movie experience. That's the advantage of seeing the cinematic version of a stage production: you can get away not only with the budget and setting, but what the audience sees and focuses on. The director of Les Mis completely missed all that. Because he had so many rapid cuts, it was difficult to really get a focus on the dance numbers and sets. For example, during the "Lovely Ladies" sequence, you had cool shots developing like the prostitutes coming out of the wall like cockroaches, but because every shot is only held for about three seconds (yes I've actually timed it out in my head), you don't get time to register it in your head (I told Mary afterward that thirty minutes into the movie, I felt like I was watching a trailer). Then they had cool shots and sets that could have been used well or given a better atmosphere, but once again because every sequence is either rapidly edited or you only see a close shot of a person's face, you didn't get a chance to let it sink in.

Another contender for biggest offender was the "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" sequence - again, all it was was a close shot on the singer's face. He's singing about empty chairs and empty tables, and you never see those empty chairs and empty tables! In my head I can come up with a plethora of ways you could've filmed that scene: panned slowly over the chairs and tables, showed an overlay of his friends when they were alive and happy, showed left over artifacts and doodads people would have recognized from previous scenes, etc. There were sooooooo many ways you could have handled that scene and made it powerful. Instead the director said, "Nah, fudge it. Stick the camera on the guy's face. Tell him to sing. Got the camera set up? Good, I'm gonna go get a coffee..."

So that's why the directing and editing of that movie makes me weep. It's a great musical that should have received better film treatment.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby MacFall » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:17 am

Well, similar to what I said earlier, I don't think that preferring a particular style of direction and editing makes anything else "bad". I've been doing video professionally for a long time, and I've learned (often with difficulty) to appreciate various styles. Part of it is knowing what the director was trying to do. Sort of how a lot of Tolkien purists disliked Jackson's LOTR because it wasn't the book on screen, line by line—but that wasn't what it was meant to be. By almost all contemporary standards, Stanley Kubrick was a "bad" director. There wasn't a shred of realism in almost anything he did; nothing to draw the audience in. In every second, you're aware that you're watching a movie. But he accomplished exactly what he meant to accomplish. His movies are like the Platonic ideal of "movie", if you get my drift. And with that in mind, his movies are more enjoyable. Similar principle with Les Miserables. I agree that the editing was a little too hyper in some parts of the movie, given what I think the director meant to get across; but during the solos, there's really nothing else I wanted to see than the emotion on the actors' faces. For my own preference, I think that a more dynamic style during those particular scenes would have taken away, not added to the drama.

So, again as I said earlier... to each his own.

EDIT: I'll add that long shots have become increasingly less popular as the attention span of audiences has decreased. I won't go so far as to say there's something wrong with that, but I do think that it would make for a richer experience for a consumer of the arts to cultivate an appreciation for the older methods.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Edwards1984 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:35 am

I have absolutely no idea what the director was trying to get across, and from what I can gather in your post, I can only assume you're not entirely sure either. Besides, this isn't so much a matter of one taste in filmmaking versus another, it's a question of how you handle a scene and if you can get the full impact from it, regardless of style. I'm sure if you told Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, and Frank Capra to handle the "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" sequence, they'd all handle it differently and in their unique styles, but the point is they'd handle it capably. They would know you don't just stick a camera on a person's face for four minutes while he's singing about something gripping and which you can convey by more than just a sad face. If I want to see a guy looking sad while he's singing, I'll go see the stage play. Heck, I'll save the money and just stare in the mirror and sing it myself while looking sad. My point is that every time you see the stage play, you'll see a guy sad. The difference with cinema, again, is that you can convey a story through cinematic tools and utilizing various elements not available to you in a stage production. It's like when I encounter news producers at my job who want every graphic to just be a glorified still store: each method of news graphics has its own technique and purpose behind it, and I do each injustice if I just treat it as another. Similarly, treating the cinematic version of a stage play as just a recorded stage play does injustice with the material and potential that you have at hand.

It's not that the director had a different filmmaking style than one I prefer (I actually don't prefer any), it's that, with this film, he was terrible at filming. There are plenty of other examples I could bring up, but I mention the dizzying and unnecessary rapid cuts (to quote Tom Servo: "Just because you can edit doesn't mean you should") and the monotonous close ups as two examples that stood out to me the most.
Last edited by Edwards1984 on Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Edwards1984 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:39 am

On a more related note, before I derail my own thread...

Watched Fireproof tonight, and that choked me up a bit actually, at the end.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Deacon » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:05 pm

Edwards1984 wrote:On a more related note, before I derail my own thread...

Watched Fireproof tonight, and that choked me up a bit actually, at the end.


Yeah the cheesiness chokes me up as well. I know what you mean.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Edwards1984 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:55 pm

Deacon wrote:
Edwards1984 wrote:On a more related note, before I derail my own thread...

Watched Fireproof tonight, and that choked me up a bit actually, at the end.


Yeah the cheesiness chokes me up as well. I know what you mean.


Boy we already talked about this on Twitter :x

Also, I watched Courageous not too long after that post, and that made me choke up as well. If you've seen the movie you can probably guess what parts.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby MacFall » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:31 pm

Courageous didn't make me cry, it just made me sick to my stomach. And then I had nightmares for a month about spoiler spoiler spoiler.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby little_tigress » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:35 pm

Suddenly I'm extremely intrigued about Courageous...
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby Spunkn » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:12 pm

We watched Schindler's List in like 8th grade. That's a rough movie to handle when you're in Junior High, although I guess it's somewhat offset because you're still in the mindset that what goes on in other places doesn't affect you here.
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Re: Movies That Made You Cry

Postby little_tigress » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:49 am

I think if you properly understand whats going on in the movie/history/etc... Schindler's list is a tough movie to handle at any age.

Sophie Scholl, The Pianist, Sophie's Choice, A Beautiful Life, all movies along the same theme have brought tears to my eyes because I always think about what really happened and what people really experienced in those situations. One good thing about film is that it can keep those things alive in our memories even if we weren't there. Because something as horrific as the holocaust shouldn't fade away with time.
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