Monday, February 9, 2009

Contrast can make a BIG difference!!

Hi all,

I've recently watched the film "La vie en Rose" and I personally thought it was a magnificent piece of work. Direction is great, the story is engaging and the actors performed really well, specially Marion Cotillard, who I'd like to talk about in this post as her performance is in my opinion what makes the whole essence of the film.

I invite you all to watch the movie first, and then take a look at this scene (I apologise in advance if I'm breaking any copyright laws by posting this, and I state that the only purpose of this is purely didactic; I am not the person who uploaded this video):

Biggest element that sticks out to me in this whole scene: CONTRAST....something so important in EVERY FORM OF STORYTELLING & ART, including obviously animation and character performance.

I was just blown away by the acting as well as the direction in this scene. Is all one shot, and from the happiest woman ever to be in love, she instantly turns into the most deppressive, paranoic and devasted person you could ever imagine. It all sounds very typical and lacking of any new elements, but the way it was delivered was just simply amazing.

Performance wise, Cotillard has pulled it off really well. Edith Piaf (as portrayed in the film) was a very expressive human being, who grew up in slums and poor areas of France, and she was always surrounded by rudeness and carelessness, which has molded her character and has had a major impact on her personality. Intelectual barriers and formalities are not there to stop her, and as she grows up she can overcome them by being her own self. But this scene is very special because you see her being capable of being beautiful and elegant on her own way, and respectfull, and noble, and embracing the goodness of humanity in its pure form...everyone experiences the feeling of love at some point in their lives and Edith was experiencing it THIS very time. What nobody knows is that she is just seeing visions, is a complete farse. But she lives every second of it full of joy and happiness. She is in love. She is living a fantasy.

Then direction drives her progressive change and desperation taking place....big house, random people appearing and intruding on her little moment of joy with her lover, nobody doing anything to help her out finding that watch she soo wants to give to the guy....she still retains that rude, careless, expressive personality inherent in her, and it manifests as soon as things start to go wrong. This whole bit is probably (as I see it) an anticipation to what's coming next, loss of control. Also the fact that is all in one camera shot makes everything more intense.

Performance at its best, Edith Piaf is told about her lover having died from a plane crash...nothing, in a split of a second, makes sense anymore...Is like all of a sudden someone sucked the last drop of water that was left in a huge glass. Everything is just hollow. She doesn't like it one bit, she was enjoying that last drop and it was taken out so quickly. She doesn't have time to react, no matter what she'll do, that water drop has been taken already, but she still tries to rectify this by "trying to drink anything that still remains in the glass" (or literally just going to check that Marcell was actually there with her, in the bedroom). Nothing is there, the water has gone for real. She is alone, in a desert of misfortune and hopelessness. She has lost it, and doesn't have a clue as to what to do. Her loneliness takes form and haunts her as all the things of her past are coming back without Marcell being there to share it all with her.

I might have gone a bit too far with the metaphor, I guess I enjoyed it a lot because I tend to be a very sensitive person at times. I like emotions and deep reactions from people. I find them to be the main reasons to drive someones actions in certain ways (I believe Ed Hooks would agree with me on this haha). My whole point is that thanks to contrast this whole scene was soo exciting to watch. It was such a simple concept, and it could have just been shown with the last bit of her having heard the news of Marcell dying and desperately crying, but it wouldn't have had the same effect at all. Contrast is not only about "Fat and thin, big and small, heavy and light..." when it comes to animation. Is not just a "physicall" thing, in my opinion. And this has proved it to me really well. The contrast here was needed as well...because it was what hinted us to the schizophrenic evolution of Edith's character.

Hope this all makes sense and that people understand what is it I'm trying to say...have a good day!

1 comment:

Karen McMillan said...

Hi Ravi,

I really enjoyed this blog- and will definately have to check this film out. You write really well. You might enjoy reading some of Cary Tennis' stuff- he is an American Agony Uncle- sounds cheesy I know! But he has this column- and he is always writing about the constant battle and compromise between everyday reality and the imagination- he's ace!