Thursday, September 18, 2008

Will Return on Monday!

Hey guys,

MM needs to take a brief mental holiday and will return on Monday when I will post (much to our good friend David Alan’s relief) my script review of both Frank Miller’s first draft and Darren Aronofsky’s final draft rewrite of Batman: Year One. Aronofsky’s riding high now with his new film, The Wrestler. What would the world have been like had he taken the reigns of Batman? Get the answer on Monday!

Here's a fabulous article I must recommend:

The Use of Color in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Of course, in the first case -- and most importantly -- the film's color schemes present to the viewer a mnemonic method for arranging the film's non-linear narrative within an intelligible order. The most immediate clue for maintaining this arrangement over the discourse of the film is to note the color of Clementine's hair at any given point. In the chronology of the couple's relationship (given in non-linearity as Joel recounts his rapidly vanishing memories), Clementine's hair color moves from green (her first time meeting Joel on the Montauk beach), to red (happy times with Joel, including the instances of her "leading" Joel around in his memory to attempt to salvage memories of her), to orange (relationship stasis and breakup), and finally, to blue (post-breakup and re-falling in love with Joel).

Also -

Notably absent within the film’s general color palette, however, is the color red. This seems a rather pointed omission, for “red” is both cognitively and culturally associated with love, romance, passion, and such qualities of a sensual nature. In what few instances, then, may the viewer notice the use of the color red –- that color so traditionally bound to notions of love and romance? Here, Gondry seems to be playing with the viewer’s expectations, forcing the viewer to search for “red” within a cinematography overwhelmingly dominated by steely blue and gray tones (the sky, the ocean, the trainyard) -- colors typically deemed “cold” and “unemotional.”

Several critical conclusions concerning the color red (and the lack of it) may then be drawn by the viewer. With the exception of Clementine’s hair, Gondry places other instances of red rather subtly within the film. The ostensible under-representation of red is perhaps most conspicuous on Valentine’s Day, as Joel awaits the train to take him to work: Only a few individuals can be seen holding red Valentine’s Day gifts, while the rest of the frame is overwhelmingly dominated, again, by steely gray/blue tones. As Joel sits on the beach with his journal later that day, however, the viewer notices a sign placed in the sand to his side. In red is written the warning, “For Safety, Swim In A Designated Area.” The color red, in addition to matters of romance, is also associated with “danger” and “warning.” Gondry, surely, must appreciate the semiotic play of this actual physical object –- the warning sign itself -- as signifier, insofar as it signifies the “dangerous waters” of love and heartbreak. The beachfront sign, then, remains doubly encoded: In an immediate sense, it states a direct warning against the literal dangers of swimming in unsafe tidal waters; at the same time, however, the posted sign becomes an extension of aquatic associations of love (for example, the adages that “there are plenty more fish in the sea,” or “if you want to learn to swim, you have to jump into the water”), and offers a well-placed caveat against the crossing of an oceanic/romantic bar.

In fact, this article comes from a new issue of
The Acidemic Journal of Film & Media, which is mostly devoted to Eternal Sunshine.

Please get the word out about the
new Blog-a-thon!

See you on Monday!



GameArs said...

Rest well.

Crumbs said...

Rest well, indeed.

Here's a question, though, MM: how come you haven't done Orson Welles? The man was a genius, way ahead of his time, and...well his screenplays dazzle. Did you read the screenplay for Magnificent Ambersons? The film was hacked by the studio - this is the case for a lot of Welles films, and the rest hardly had any budget. This would make Citizen Kane and F for Fake the only Welles films where he had complete control, and F for Fake is a modestly-budgeted film, but a masterpiece.

But I digress: Welles's screenwriting abilities are great. The shoot-out scene in Lady From Shanghai, the weaving of plays in Chimes at Midnight, the surviving portions of Ambersons, the entirety of Touch of Evil. Othello and Macbeth are Shakespeare (so the writing is obviously fantastic) but what changes Welles makes - like the steam bath in Othello - are great.

Just a thought.

(And I'd also like to recommend something, for your own pleasure; although not a screenwriter, Tim Schafer's writing in video games such as "Grim Fandango" equal and even surpass most films. Other great game writers include Larry Ahern, Dave Grossman and Jerry Holkins.)

David Alan said...

I wait with (a)bated breath.

Enjoy your break.

-- David Alan

Anonymous said...

Okay, MM, I have to ask: what do you think of Diablo Cody's rant on her MySpace blog against "the haters?"

I'm a huge fan of hers myself, but I'm torn. On one hand, I'm sure all public people would love to respond to their critics, but there's a reason they don't. She's added fuel to the fire, but at least she got to give them a piece of her mind.

Part of me wonders why she's doing this now, when things have definitely quieted down. Is this more about generating attention for herself? (And I thought that based on her follow-up blog post.)

Or perhaps it just took her this long to get her thoughts together, since she had a pretty vicious backlash.

And then I thought, maybe this is just a pre-emptive strike before Jennifer's Body comes out?

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Love your blog,


Kevin Lehane said...

Anonymous, my respect for Diablo grew two-fold thanks to that witty, colourful backhander. The gal's got moxie ... and she's damn talented too. Even that response to her critics was a pleasure to read. I wish more screenwriting blogs were as fun.

Mystery Man said...

Carl - Thanks, man.

Crumbs - I LOVE ORSON WELLES. I have periodic cravings where I HAVE to watch his films, particularly Touch of Evil. I love that movie. Yeah, I'll get around to him some day. Then again, you could do a big study on your blog, write about it, and share it with us!

David - Hope you're well, too.

Eve - Haven't read it yet. Time's always an issue with me. I did, however, write about the Diablo Cody backlash, if you're interested. BTW - I love you, too, honey.

Kevin - I agree! The girl's got game!


Crumbs said...

Ah, I'd love to, but I don't really write on my blog anymore...I write for a certain website (for fun) and work on some private projects when I'm not studying. I'd just really love your opinion - especially the changes the studio made to Touch of Evil, stuff like that. I read your series on Kubrick's "Napoleon" almost weekly - take that as proof I listen to your opinion. Anyways, hope you do it. Cheers.

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