When George Miller looked to return to the world of Mad Max with his new Fury Road, the director began a lengthy development period that saw several false starts but ultimately culminated in a six-month long shoot in the Namibian desert. Here, DOP John Seale would use multiple digital cameras to capture incredible practical stunts with more than 150 vehicles conceived by production designer Colin Gibson, then rigged, driven and crashed thanks to the efforts of key crew including special effects supervisors Andy Williams and Dan Oliver and supervising stunt co-ordinator Guy Norris.
But the intense Namibian shoot, and further filming in Sydney, was only half the story in the creation of Fury Road’s insane stunt action and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Hundreds of visual effects artists, led by overall visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, would spend considerable time crafting more than 2000 visual effects shots and helping to transform the exquisite photography into the final film that at times feels almost like a single car chase. Even more plate manipulation would also be carried out by colorist Eric Whipp, weaving in a distinctive graphic style for the film with detailed sky replacements and unique day for nights.
If you didn’t see the 2011 action film “Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, you should definitely check it out. Apart from it gratuitous violence, it is a fantastic work of complex cinematography and artistic storytelling. In this video review, Tony Zhou puts together another great analysis discussing how the use of quadrants add a unique dimension to the overall film. Zhou is also known for his breakdown of Edgar Wright’s use of visual comedy in his ongoing series (and Vimeo Staff Pick), “Every Frame a Painting.”
Zhou uses examples where splitting the frame into an upper and lower half, as well as right and left half, can split the scene to tell two different yet paralleled stories. Breaking down a frame into quadrants, thirds, or halves has been an ongoing practice in cinema. However, “Drive” serves as a great example to using these very simple composition breakdowns to bring a film to life.
One of the many reasons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is so successful as an action film is the editing style. By using “Eye Trace” and “Crosshair Framing” techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot…the Center of the Frame. Because almost every shot was center framed, comprehending the action requires no hunting of each new shot for the point of interest. The viewer doesn’t need 3 or 4 frames to figure out where to look. It’s like watching an old hand-drawn flip book whiz by. The focus is always in the same spot!
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold:
This is the end of The Train by John Frankenheimer – moral ambiguity etc. One you should watch, another early 60s black and white film much overlooked.
The Train is a 1964 black-and-white war film directed by John Frankenheimer from a story and screenplay by Franklin Coen and Frank Davis, based on the non-fiction book Le front de l’art by Rose Valland, who documented the works of art placed in storage that had been looted by the Germans from museums and private art collections. It stars Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, and Jeanne Moreau.
Set in August 1944, the film sets French Resistance-member Paul Labiche (Lancaster) against German Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Scofield), who is attempting to move stolen art masterpieces by train to Germany. Inspiration for the scenes of the train’s interception came from the real-life events surrounding train No. 40,044 as it was seized and examined by Lt. Alexandre Rosenberg of the Free French forces outside Paris.
One to see.
The Bedford Incident is a 1965 Anglo–American Cold War film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, and co-produced by Richard Widmark. The cast also features Eric Portman, James MacArthur, Martin Balsam and Wally Cox, as well as early appearances by Donald Sutherland and Ed Bishop. The screenplay by James Poe is based on the 1963 book by Mark Rascovich. This in turn was patterned after Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick; at one point in the film the captain is advised he is “no longer hunting whales”.
Outstanding film, for me better that Dr Strangelove.
A critical appreciation:
“You learned too well, Professor.”