(DIR) Film_ Essay_A fool there was

June 28, 2016

 

I am So Lucky to be Watching...

 

    Museum Of Modern Art is located in a middle of shopping center in Manhattan, where I tend to avoid. People constantly bumped me. An ambulance is passing, beautiful old european tourists are wondering, what happened like a group of meerkats. New Yorkers just walk along traffic load, right next to pedestrian load to avoid bump. Crowds are disappearing on 54th street corner. Not many cars were visible. It was quiet, and subtle. Gigantic, mirror door signs says "Museum of Modern Art, Media, Educational center" I entered into the building.

 

    A Fool There Was, was published in 1915. I had not known much of the details, but all I knew was that the movie was about love and tragedy. Unlike most time in the theater, there is a piano near the screen. Before the movie started, I saw the pianist is entering, whom I met last time from our class. I was going to say hello to him. But, I just decided to enjoy the silent film myself for the first time in a real theater.

 

A Fool There Was a story about two family, and a gold digger's story. One of the family is almost breaking down, because of one beautiful gold digger. At the end, the family's wife visited church, and somehow, the husband realized that the woman is an evil. The film is showing, what's good, and evil 'obviously', I mean too obvious. The film is "teaching" what's good, and what's bad. Most characters are really flat. Just typical caricature of what is the model of good people, and good family in 1910s.

 

    A silent film made in 1915... There are many continuity problems are visible. In the first half of the montage, and interactive scene between a wife and a husband looked terrible. The scene didn't look like they were looking at each other, because eye levels were broken, the scenes is not based on 180 rule. In terms of cinematography, the compositions are always staying at wide shot or medium shot. Personally, I like wide shots like Roy Andersson’s taste. However, in this case, the sets look too narrow between foreground and background in general. Entire film was esthetically, flat.

 

    However, the evil gold digger's character was created considerably. At first, I almost misunderstood that she tried to hook up the husband for the sake of money. But, over the time, she is just a lonely person, who needs extra attention. High maintenance, spending money like water, extreme jealous type, and she knew how to make men love her. These aspects of her characteristic gave me a variety of taste of character.She is a great character, because audience would feel both hatred and feel sorry to her.

 

    Interestingly, performance wise, the film achieved great jobs. Casting processing was right, castings did great job for what they were given. On the other hand, I am a bit disappointed by the art directions, and mise en scene. Just simply, it could have been better, if this project was created for theater, it could have been more pleasing to watch. I can count how many sets they used, probably less than 10 sets. If director or cinematographer understood the importance of mise en scene, the movie could have been come out much better.

 

    At the end, my journey of visiting one of the most tourism place on manhattan was done nicely with a great film. I learned importance role of casting and it's performance with limited cinematography and art directions. In fact, it worked on me.  Usually, audiences “dislike” the antagonist, but in this case, I liked the antagonist much more than protagonist. May be, the time has been changed, and 21st century citizen myself that I am perceiving the character a bit different comparing to 100 years ago, people’s perception.

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