Sound and vision: The Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch by Paul Badger and Michael Dixon

Video

The video shows a pared down version of Punch and Judy. There is little dialogue (thankfully, we don’t have to listen to much of Punch’s tiresome squawk) and some great sound effects. The lighting is dark, which adds to the tension. When Punch kills, he throws the body off stage and the scene cuts to what looks like a 16mm film shot of glove puppets laying in the gutter of a road.

This is the closest video I’ve found to what I’d like to do, which is to take the scene from Punch and Judy where Punch kills the baby and write a screenplay that works with the subtleties of his psychopathic nature. I’d like to shoot it in the Moving Image room, using stark lighting from the 16mm projector, which will cast shadows onto the white screen.

The scene opens with the camera focused on Punch, who is alone and staring into space – his psychosis is very present in him. A door slams. Slowly, Punch’s demeanour changes and he shouts, “Judy!” He’s demanding, not requesting, her presence. She arrives on camera and he makes a huge fuss of her with compliments and physical affection. Then she asks him to look after the baby; he bristles and agrees. Cut to a shot of the shadows of Punch and Judy. She hands him the baby and exits screen right. He tells the baby it’s pretty. The baby cries. He asks it why it’s crying… this is as far as I got today.

I spoke to Matt, Moving Image technician, about the idea of building a Punch and Judy theatre in which the screen, showing the film on a continuous loop, is housed. The theatre is inside a box that contains surround sound speakers and a bench. Matt suggested I go to Brighton Museum, where there is a Punch and Judy theatre so I can get an idea of dimensions. He suggested it might be nice to make the space spectators sit in quite small – the claustrophobic feel will reflect the feel of the film. I’m thinking of decorating the Punch and Judy theatre with dead glove puppets and blood splatters.

Punch and Judy is seen as subversive and changes with the times to reflect them. For example, in a video commissioned by the V&A, there were two babies instead of one and they looked like our current government ‘leaders’. However, this doesn’t address the violence in the show that is directed towards the wife and child and this is what I want my film to highlight.

Advertisements

Sound and vision: a music video incorporating papercraft

Video

Connected by Luke Dick. I like the papercraft in this video. It shows the possibility of making several different sets out of boxes, turned on their sides with slits cut into the “top” of the boxes in order to move characters or objects.

Smiling Woods Yurts – Assembly Video Demonstration

Video

This video by Smiling Wood Yurts demonstrates how to build a wooden yurt. I watched it because I’m interested in building a model yurt out of paper and wooden sticks. The yurt shown in the video is too permanent for my purposes – I’d like my model yurt to be one that can be taken apart and put back together.

These websites give information on yurt building:

http://www.woodlandyurts.co.uk/Yurt_Facts/Ger.html

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-yourself-a-portable-home—a-mongolian-yurt/

http://www.woodlandyurts.co.uk/Yurt_Facts/Putting_Up_aYurt.html

This website gives information on building a model yurt:

http://www.domerama.com/fabricating/build-a-yurt-model/

The following video shows a yurt being build from scratch. This is my favourite because I can see, rather than be told, what to do.

Adaptations: a short improvised film

Video

The original premise was: “England is approaching revolution; rich bankers and corporate shareholders are the target of the under classes’ wrath. Escaping the tension of London for the weekend, two rich shareholders set up camp on Devil’s Dyke. The future is coming; they can feel the change.”

The underpinning theory was my belief that everyone, given the right conditions, will do what they can to help their fellow humans. Reading about psychopathy made me realise this is not true for everyone. The resulting film shows someone realising something is not right in her relationship with her partner.

Video: Riva & Albert by Roy Petersen

Video

“RIVA & ALBERT is a deeply touching film about life, friendship and jazz. Your heart will be warmed. A must see!” Jo Becker, The New York Times

“In our time pensioners are mostly seen as a problem to be dealt with, tugged [tucked, surely?] away in care homes. This short film shows us what we are actually missing. Albert, the jazz-playing 102-year-old has a century of experience, thoughts and, yes, fun to share. And Riva is a young woman who fully embraces this man. The best thing about this film is that Albert is actually a man for her. Not a charitable effort to put on her schedule, not a poor old chap she feels obliged to visit once in a while. There is love between those two people. And it is wonderful to see short glimpses of this unusual affair in “Riva and Albert”.
Cornelia Fuchs, Reporter, Stern magazine

Produced by Roy Petersen and Hazel Thompson. Directed by Roy Petersen, Cinematography Hazel Thompson, Edit by Jonny Elwyn. Mix by Svein Nygaard.

What I like about Riva & Albert, aside from the story of their intergenerational friendship, is:

  • the non-traditional documentary style: we are shown, rather than told, with close up environmental shots where Riva works (and the same style is used in Albert’s abode – these shots give us a sense of place and of the characters);
  • Riva’s voice tells their story and jazz music (which Albert used to make) provides background music, therefore both their voices are constantly heard;
  • when Riva is being interviewed in a garden, the camera seems to be in a tree – the shot is the opposite of intrusive and Riva seems relaxed while she’s talking, which may mean she is comfortable in front of the camera or that the filmmaker has the ability to put people at ease or both or something else entirely;
  • near the end of the film some text states, ‘sadly, Albert died one month after we finished filming” and I dislike the use of the word “sadly” because I don’t like telling the viewer how to feel – I prefer to offer something and let them choose.

Public Information Films from the 1970s and 80s: controlling with mis-advice

Video

Delivered in an authoritative voice that didn’t invite criticism of the ridiculously nonsensical panic-inducing paradigm, they were all about putting the responsibility of a potentially harmful situation onto one person (the mother, or the child, or the car driver depending on which scenario they were trying to control).

In “Public information film – children must not be let out of doors alone…”, for example, the mother is diagnosed as at fault, despite the fact that several people are involved. If the cars parked on the street weren’t there, the boy would have clearly seen the car driver. If the car driver had been alert, he would have seen the boy run from the house to the road and could have slowed right down. If the mum and dad had valued their child’s intelligence they could have had a conversation with him about the dangers of parked cars and moving cars and asked him to use his initiative instead of mollycoddling him and making every decision for him, thus turning him into a rule following zombie.

Rant over.

Alice’s adventures at Black Rock

Video

Alice revisits Black Rock, a place she used to explore with her Uncle in her childhood. Whilst there, she is triggered into remembering a specific instance of sexual abuse. The film weaves in Brighton’s connection to Lewis Carroll, a suspected paedophile, writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

This is a re-edited version of the film I completed in January 2013.