Monday, October 28, 2013

Double Indemnity vs. La Confidential



These shots from Double Indemnity and LA Confidential are very similar as well as different. The shot of Phyllis is more of a close up while the shot of Lynn is more of a medium closeup. We cannot see her whole body, but we see more than her face, which is different than the shot of Phyllis in Double Indemnity. Both shots are focused on each women's frightened expression and look of despair. When you first look at the shots, your face is immediately drawn to their facial expressions. Both shots are over the shoulder shots, which brings up a very important aspect to each picture. The camera is looking over the men's shoulders down to the women. The men have a great deal of power over the women in these shots. They are standing over them, while they are scared, very clearly demonstrating how much power they have because of the women's mistakes. Both of these shots are taken in very vital, emotional times in each movie. 
In Double Indemnity, this picture was taken moments after Phyllis shot Walter and right before Walter shoots Phyllis. Phyllis demonstrates here what many woman character demonstrate in movies, the infamous quote that says, "you do not know what you have until it's gone." Phyllis shoots Walter, and then continues to tell him how much she loves him and how she is just realizing it. She has a scared, almost desperate look in her eyes as she looks at Walter. A desperate look for him to take her back. But all he says right in this moment is, "I'm sorry, baby." He then shoots her. 
In La Confidential, Bud has just found out that Lynn has slept with Exley. He is furious while storming over to Lynn's house. He tries to hold in his anger but he cannot. He hits Lynn, the one thing that goes against every moral he has. He has always been very against abusing woman because of what his father did his mother. He disobeyed his own rule. Lynn in this shot is terrified, crying. She is scared of Bud and holds on to the wall after getting hit, showing that all she wants to do is get away from him. She looks at him as if he is a monster while Bud powerfully stands over her. Bud again storms away after, in shock with what he had done. 
Power is a very important theme in both movies. These shots are not only over the shoulder shots, but high angle shots over the women's head, again demonstrating how much power each man has over the women because they have committed something wrong. Since we have been talking about power all year, it is very important to see in each shot in every movie who has the power, and how that power is being executed. The power is being executed here by having Walter and Bud look over the scared Phyllis and Lynn. 

Journal #5: Identity

What is identity? Everyone thinks of their own identity in a different way than other people would think of their own identity. The dictionary states that identity the condition of being oneself, not another. But how do people know how to even be theirselves? Therefore, the overall question is how do we construct our identity. It may or may not be a simple task. Some people have more obstacles in their personal life than others and that plays a big role in their identity. For the most part, people change their identity as they become older.
In Stitches, David did not find himself as a person until he was older, and even then he was still exploring his exact personality. He had to run away from home in order to figure out who he was. His parents did not help with his search because they treated him poorly. They never told him that he had cancer as a child because they were the people who gave him cancer. They experimented on him. 
On page 39, David was still a child in the hospital. He walked around and found a fetus in a jar. He looks at him, terrified. He does not quite understand why there is a person-like figure in the jar. It is interesting because we read from left to right, and the first picture on the left is a very close up shot of davids eyes, and we see that he is looking at the jar to the right. He looks scared and like he is going to cry. We can really see his feelings in his eyes. David feels closed off from society, and a normal boy's life throughout his childhood and feels a connection to this fetus in a jar who is as well closed off. 
On page 309, we have a parallel to this scene on page 39. David as a teenager goes back to the hospital up to the room where the fetus in a jar is. As a mature man now, David sees this fetus differently than he did years ago. Oppositely from page 39, the fetus is in the left frame and David is looking at him from the right. You can still see fear in David's eyes as he is inching away from this fetus. But you can tell that he has come to a realization about his identity. Unlike the fetus, David has now grown and developed into a person who has found himself. He now has a perspective of the person he is and see how the person he was as a child was very similar to the fetus. He thinks of how they were both science experiments, but David was able to shut that out of his life and come to a realization of who he is. In life, distance is key. Everyone needs distance in their relationships to really realize what they are thinking and who they think they are. David needed to distance himself from his parents as a teenager to see now that he is not this fetus, this science experiment. He is an artist, an independent and mature man who knows where he wants to go in life. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

"I Was Fifteen" Words, or Lack Thereof

Throughout the novel, there are pages that have many words, few words, or no weirds at all. But it's interesting. It does not matter if the page has no words because it is so clear what is happening in the plot. Each action, reaction and feeling is so delicately drawn to each and every detail that we do not even need words to read the book.
Within this section of the book, David goes to talk to a therapist. Weirdly enough, the therapist has a rabbit head. This rabbit is essentially the same rabbit that is in Alice in Wonderland. While the book has many references to Alice in Wonderland because of the connection between her childhood and David's childhood, this is by far the biggest connection. Alice talks to the rabbit about her problems and that is what David is doing to this rabbit. This rabbit even has the same watch that the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland has. I find the whole connection very interesting and I really enjoy the way both stories are connected.
On page 255, the therapist says in a very close up frame, "your mother doesn't love you." He then says, "I'm sorry, David. It's true. She doesn't love you." These words stick out on the page. The shots only show the two characters eyes and then these bolded, hurtful words. David finally breaks down as we see directly after the rabbit says these words. On page 257 and 258, we get play by play frames of David going down to lay on the ground and grasping the therapist's leg. Once he is in that position on 258, we get a close up of his face, and the bright, white tear he sheds. We do not need words on these two pages to understand what David is doing or how he feels. We can simply read the feelings from the pictures. We see how upset he is. We see how he is torn apart.
The greatest aspect to graphic novels is this aspect of reading pictures. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to read pictures, rather than words. David Small does an excellent job telling his life story and making his feelings and actions very clear with pictures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"3 1/2 Years After the First Diagnosis" Shots

Reading a graphic novel to me is almost like seeing a movie cut up piece by piece. Shot by shot. We can view each frame as a shot because we can see the type of angle the shot is at, if it is a close up, medium or long shot, and how many people we see in each shot. The novel is beautifully drawn and we can read the novel like we can watch a movie.
On page 164, we get a very nicely drawn frame of the surgeon putting a mask on David before his surgery begins. The surgeon says to count backwards from 100 in order to put David to sleep. If this frame were to be a shot in a movie, the first thing I would notice is that it is a low angle shot. It is a medium shot as well. It is taken from David's point of view looking up at the doctors. It seems as if he is most focused on the doctors hand and mask about to touch his face. This is because the hand and mask are bigger than the doctors face. Because of the very low angle shot, this image really captures David's feelings and point of view even though we cannot see David in my opinion. The angle is very interesting because I like seeing the way that the narrator is seeing. It makes us read the book almost as if we are David. The very next frame is just a picture of the mask, but again as if David was looking up at it. It is a very close up shot of the inside of the mask which I find very interesting because it is like action is coming right off of the page. The mask moving closer, and closer to David's face. I am intrigued on how low of an angle this shot is and I enjoy it very much.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"I Was Eleven" Size and Shape of Frames

In the graphic novel, Stitches, the frames are different sizes and organized differently on each page. Some are further apart, some are closer together. I believe that each shot is significant in its own way. The size of the shot is significant as well. The novel is very meaningful, representing the life of a young boy who struggled and it is important to view each frame with a purpose and see that each frame has a meaning.
On page 116, the largest frame is at the top and it is a rectangle. Under it are four more square, smaller frames. The largest frame on each page are usually the most important frame in the picture. That frame usually has the most action and sets up the scene for the rest of the page. Whether the largest frame is at the top or bottom, your eyes are always driving it first, which tells me that that frame must be the most important on the page. On page 116, at the top is a frame of Mrs. Dillion shaking David saying "Betty, come in here. Quick!" Mrs. Dillion's mouth is wide open and David looks terrified. The facial expressions really showed me what was happening in the frame, and then what was happening during the rest of the page. The largest frame sets up the actions and feelings for the rest of the page. The smaller frames are usually showing the reactions and feelings to the largest or most important frame on the page. On page 116, Betty rushes in and the smaller frames are showing her facial expressions and reactions to what Mrs. Dillon has to say about the growth on David's neck. Furthermore, the large shots on each page usually have more than one person while the smaller shots usually have no more than two people in the frame. I still think the smaller frames are interesting because they are usually close-ups and really show each characters feelings.
When the frames are the same exact size throughout the entire page, like they are on pages 138 and 139, I believe that each frame is equally as important and it usually shows one quick action or feeling of one character. On 138 and 139, Betty is examining a car and then getting into the car. No shot has any more significance than the other and therefore, I believe that not one of the shots is more important than the other.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"I Was Six" Foregrounding and Backgrounding

The novel, Stitches, is drawn beautifully. Each image is shaded in a special way and has its own deep meaning. Some images have many people or objects in it, some only have a few. Some have words, some do not. Within the image, some objects or actions are more important than others and it is emphasized in either the foreground or background. On page 44, we see an image of David getting smacked in the face by his own father. David had left his shoes at the hospital and his parents are mad at him because they do not want to waste money to buy him new shoes. This image was the first thing I looked at on the page because not only is it the biggest image on the page, it is very graphic, showing something that is very frowned upon in today's society. When I first look at the image my eye is drawn to the bolded words, "WHAP!" My eyes then go right behind the word and I see a hand slapping David's face. There are many hands in the image suggesting that he was slapped across the face multiple times. There is fear and sadness in the boys eyes and I feel bad for him as a reader when I look at this picture. I am almost scared for him. In the foreground is the word "whap" and the hand that is the most white and the closest to the boys face. I think the author wants our eyes to go to that foreground first to really see the action that is happening in the image. It is the most important action in this frame and therefore, it is in the foreground- what our eyes are drawn towards. In the background is the David's face along with the other hands that become darker in color and further away from his face. This is the background because we first need to see the action of the slapping, and then we see his reaction. Don't get me wrong, the background is also very important because we see the harsh life that David lives. We see the fear in his eyes, and the abuse he recieves.