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¶ Short of the Day #47: Feeling My Way

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Perception de Ambiguity
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¶ Short of the Day #47: Feeling My Way

#1

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » March 31st, 2017, 10:10 am

"Short of the Day" is the daily discussion of a short.

Tasks:
1) Watch.
2) Discuss.
3) Send me your suggestions for the next Short of the Day per PM, along with links to the shorts and comments, questions for the other users to think about, and/or info about the short.

Detailed project introduction & index: here


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Feeling My Way (Jonathan Hodgson, 1997) :ICM: :imdb:

https://vimeo.com/32255983
Length: 5 minutes 34 seconds

Suggested by: Perception de Ambiguity

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A journey from home to work as seen through the filter of the conscious and subconscious mind. Through the use of moving collages and painterly animation combined with live-action footage, the viewer is able to share the traveller’s experiences and his mental reactions to the trials and triviality of urban existence.
Quote by: Perception de Ambiguity
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on March 31st, 2017, 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Carmel1379
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#2

Post by Carmel1379 » March 31st, 2017, 9:57 pm

Brilliant. It's so rare (and welcome) to see subjectivity and stream-of-consciousness depicted to such an extent. Here the viewer's really inside the mind of the character, relatably seeing things from his point of view - all the intrusive thoughts, memories, associations, "internal senses" (how he instinctively imagines seeing a band upon hearing a snippet of music, visualisation of his route on a map, etc.), greyouts, floaters, light from the surroundings not being recorded/interpreted rapidly enough ("delays in sights"), selective attention, intuitions, biases (e.g. how he labels the people he sees ("tourist", "smart guy") without any certainty), responses to stimuli ("look left") and so on. Another great thing is that the process is non-linear, he doesn't get to remember everything he has experienced i.e. there are "blackouts", varying levels of cognition, scenes merging into one-another, unfinished sentences - there is no such thing as pure or complete consciousness, it's naturally fragmented such that his trajectory aptly feels like a dream. His preoccupation with death (and more generally sickness, loneliness and constrainment, like the 'Synecdoche, New York' guy) was also interesting and grateful to notice.

A spoken internal monologue/dialogue would make it even more realistic, but I'm guessing that without any words the short works better (and it finds a good solution by writing the verbal thoughts on the screen, either randomly or next to the external objects that inspire them). And it goes without saying that walking through the city is the best setting for this sort of short film, because moving through a dense environment stimulates (and limits) the mind in these particular ways on average more than for example doing some routine job or sitting in a familiar environment (although of course meditation and introspection generate plenty of activity too).

Cinema is fantastic to explore subjectivity, but only a small subset actually uses POV-camera. I'm going to appreciate more films in its likeness. Thanks.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on March 31st, 2017, 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

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Perception de Ambiguity
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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » April 1st, 2017, 1:56 am

Cheers, Carmel. The physical world (live-action) is augmented with hand-drawn animation, which in theory creates a distinction between objectivity and subjectivity, but in practice the animation largely drowns out the live-action that itself already has a processed look by, among other things, clearly having mostly a lower framerate than the usual 24 fps, making clear distinctions difficult or even impossible. The world becomes thought, you could say. Even the natural limitation that comes with having to translate a person's thoughts and feelings into real-time film-form is a virtue here, the viewer doesn't have time to process every frame fully, mirroring how the protagonist's feelings and thoughts aren't all fully conscious, even the most subconscious thoughts are visualized even though they aren't likely to register much for the viewer due to their shortness or smallness on screen.

I would say that this is about as far as you can go in recreating a person's subjectivity with film, at least without slowing down the world to give plenty of time to analyze each moment which can have some truth to it - time is relative, of course - but in practice I find it to be a lie in most films, it's usually an artifice that takes the factor of time completely out of the equation, in reality the oncoming train doesn't wait for you to finish your thoughts.

I think words-on-screen was definitely the way to go here, as opposed to a voice-over, cinema's default method of communicating a character's verbal thoughts, which is a very literal-minded approach that 'Feeling My Way' gets away from. Even when you process your environment and think very much with the use of language they often aren't fully formed sentences and elaborate monologues, because they may not even be fully formed thoughts. So instead you just have individual words and phrases. And you just couldn't use audible words in the same way as text being used here, because like all the other feelings and thoughts sometimes they linger for longer, but sometimes they only pop up for a moment, some are bigger, some are smaller. And not only do they all have a different weight but by their position on screen you also know what the words relate to whereas if it was on the soundtrack it could possibly relate to several things that are on screen at that moment.

With voice-over the inner monologue automatically takes center stage, the visual becomes the augmentation. This way the verbal thoughts and all the less tangible thoughts and feelings are put on the same level, which I find more realistic, even though your eyes naturally are still drawn to the words, which is fair enough, since words tend to represent more conscious thoughts. But thoughts being verbal and feelings being non-verbal I also think is an artificial distinction that would only be reinforced by separating them from the image when putting the words on the soundtrack.

Which is why I think the short does such an exemplary job in recreating subjectivity, cinema's efforts to distinguish itself from literature by completely eschewing text are admirable, but translating the whole range of experiences and thoughts into audio-visuals is just as much a falsification as translating them all into text, all it does is trade the sensorial for the intellectual. Language can't be ignored because thought very much presupposes language, so while cinematically it may not be the most elegant solution for putting you into a character's headspace, it is the most accurate one, creating a close marriage of the word and the visual, where the two become practically inseparable.
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on April 1st, 2017, 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#4

Post by Carmel1379 » April 1st, 2017, 10:24 pm

I was reminded by 'It's Such a Beautiful Day', the masterpiece on subjectivity (where the narration obviously works very well in combination with the visuals, both reinforcing each other), where at a certain moment there are plenty of live-action shots with a similarly augmenting distinct, recognisable tint. And there is this:

Image

- a POV-shot where the the animated/sketched/stick-man world is blurred with the "real" world. Something is also said along the lines of Bill walking down the street, looking at the woman's face, and for the first time "acquiring/noticing" her physiognomy, seeing new, beautiful details all around him within the world, as if he'd awakened. The way that the stick-figure is superimposed with the real person is very reminiscent of 'Feeling My Way' for me. Strangers on the street are "abstracted", instinctively categorised, their faces blurred, because devoting any special attention to view each as an "individual" is unnecessary and potentially too draining for one's subconscious. I wouldn't go as far as saying that everyone doesn't recognise everyone else fully as "human beings" or something like that, but in a certain sense everyone does live in his own myopic, self-absorbed world, with narcissism being the pathological terminal.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on April 1st, 2017, 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

User avatar
Carmel1379
Donator
Posts: 4489
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Location: ∅ ⋁ ⋀ ∞ | myself am Hell
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#5

Post by Carmel1379 » December 15th, 2017, 4:11 am

Image

This is a big moment.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3622
Joined: Jul 09, 2011
Contact:

#6

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 15th, 2017, 6:20 am

I had don-hertzfeldt starting to follow me on tumbr recently but it turned out to be just a fan using that name (most likely), so I'm still a nobody.

What platform is this? Is there a conceivable reason that you attracted Hodgson's attention like sharing a link to his content or something, or does it seem to come out of nowhere?
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on December 15th, 2017, 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Carmel1379
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#7

Post by Carmel1379 » December 15th, 2017, 2:21 pm

Completely out of nowhere (on tumblr). But he has barely any content on tumblr (or twitter), so I wouldn't be surprised if he just followed people back a few months later, to remind them that he exists. Or maybe he just liked the aesthetics.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

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