Action v Abstract

A short quote from Ben Wheatley from a really interesting ‘Baker’s Dozen’ interview at The Quietus:

“I really like Avatar. I had no trouble with the plot. It doesn’t matter. What is interesting about that movie is the surfaces of things: the plants waving, the bark on the trees, and the drab olive of the plane. That’s what those movies are about. The stories are kind of irrelevant. That’s what you see in modern action cinema: it ends up meeting abstract cinema on the other side.”

Now that’s an interesting observation. Something to chew over for the VJing.

Tangentially, on the subject of abstract film, or maybe ‘more concrete’ might be a way of framing it, I was always struck by Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England which is wonderful in many directions and I’m sure I’ll come back to it again. The thing I want to highlight is the effect that black and white has on perception.

A Field In England [Frame]

This image is a still from the trailer, but you might get an idea of what I’m talking about. When you strip out the colour from the image all you’re left with is texture, and you have to work on that, to almost read what you’re seeing on screen.

The point this struck me was during a scene when one of the characters is being dragged through the field, there’s a close up on their face and I was pulled out of the film by how interesting the grass looked. If I’d been watching the same scene in colour I wouldn’t have given the grass any thought whatsoever, but because everything in the frame is in black and white you ‘have’ to see something before dismissing it as less important, or in this case, not.