PERFECTIONIST WHO REFUSED TO COMPROMISE

Marcus Bartley

When Rajiv and I were preparing to shoot Kadal, we saw lot of films which involved shooting in the sea. Very few Indian films were shot in the sea, but one film which caught our attention was Chemmeen, based on the famous book by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, directed by Ramu Kariat and shot by Marcus Bartley the legend. It is still a classic and even today, some of the shots take your breath away.

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The Missing Female Protagonist in Tamil Cinema

I watched “Rogue One” in 3D last night with all its spectacular special effects, animated characters and breathtaking visuals. While I wouldn’t say it is the best of the Star Wars series, what impressed me was the way the female protagonist (Jyn) held the whole story together. This is a mainstream Hollywood, big- budget action film targeting a worldwide audience yet they chose to cast a young, relatively unknown actress to play a strong, brave and inspiring character with the mission to save her planet. Threatened by being annihilated by the Death Star – a weapon capable of apocalyptic destruction forcibly created by her kidnapped father – she is unafraid to go on this dangerous mission alone.

Although Jyn is accompanied by a male rebel commander, she deftly wields her weapon to destroy the inhuman storm troopers who come in her way. She inspires the scared allies to join her fight and gains the trust of the commander sent to kill her father, who relents due to her integrity. However, Jyn is not cold and emotionless. She does have a feminine, sentimental and loving side when she is briefly reunited with her father. She feels affection for the commander accompanying her on her mission and risks her own life to save a helpless child caught in the crossfire. In the climax, she boldly faces the antagonist on her own and completes her mission although sacrificing her life for the cause.

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Miniature Shoot

The concept of using miniatures in cinema to create an illusion of a real object has existed since the inception of filmmaking.

When circumstances do not allow us to carry out shoots in real locations with real objects, it necessitates the scenario of miniature shooting. It may be due to technical reasons, safety restrictions, economics of production, time constraints, or the non availability of the actual object or location.

Requirement for miniature shooting continues to be relevant even today for most of the CG works like compositing with graphics and real objects.

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Cowboy, Painter and Photographer

As a child my first impression of English films was seeing Mackenna’s Gold, a big budget western film, where cowboys went looking for the mountain of gold and got corrupted and died by its lure. I was fascinated by Cowboys, read cowboy comics, tied a handkerchief around my neck galloped around my house waiting to lasso a wild horse. Since I used to live in a flat in Bombay, I could only lasso, the carpet that was rolled and kept under our divan, which would be spread out when visitors came in the evening. How did the image of the cowboy and westerns come to dominate world cinema, how did this uniquely American invention become one of the great cultural exports of America?

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Yes to Establishing Shots,
No to Visual Cliché’s

Isn’t the Eiffel Tower symbolic of the ever-romantic Paris? Or is the clock tower of Westminster, the only symbol of London and British sophistication? In Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, The Statue of Liberty in New York is shown as a beacon of welcoming immigrants into the Unites States of America.

How many times in American films have you seen the typical opening shot of an automobile crossing a bridge and then the car coming to a halt, in a suburban neighbourhood and the protagonist coming out of the car and getting into the house? The Great American obsession for the automobiles and their cities results in shots that have become visual clichés. The establishing long shots in films are not just images representing a location; they also set the mood of the film. Some shots rise above the ordinary, like the Brooklyn Bridge and the two lovers seated below in Woody Allen’s Manhattan – a truly classic Long shot.

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