I was thinking about certain patterns in movie-making, which gets used over and over again. Like certain camera angles, poses, gestures or composition.
Basically shots, which should deliver a specific emotion. Shots, which should emphasise a particular mood and which become a cliché of themselve, since they got used over and over again since decades.
Spontaneously I had to think of a typical dying-sequence:
… and of a focus on a grieving counterpart:
Also the tarantinian trunkshot came into mind:
… and the horror on the face of someone, who just had to witness something terrible happen:
(Please ignore the fact, that most of the stills are from Starship Troopers. As I said, I was being spontaneous :) )
I want to collect more clichés and stereotypes, so I would love to hear your suggestion or maybe more movie-titles featuring the examples I just listed here.
What specific shot do you come across all the time?
Thanks a lot!
Wow. Actually a great topic. Reply no one?
Do you want this to be a fun, silly thread or a rigorous, intellectual one?
I’m ready to be a cheeky asshole either way…
Can I add another dimension, since film is not just about the visual image?
Damn piano music playing whenever there’s a tragic/sad scene. Can’t stand that.
@ Dave Kang
I want it to be either way – just give me everything you can think of! :)
First, just to get the contentiousness rolling, let’s blame the screenwriters for writing scenes that are simply too susceptible to this kind of visual cliche.
No more comrades dying in your arms!
No more bachelors waking up in their messy, juvenile bedrooms!
No more precocious children outwitting adults!
No more dubiously attractive women as lawyers, doctors and journalists!
The woman in that picture looks like Quentin Tarantino. Eeeewww!
Camera facing a grave stone when suddenly a hand bursts through the soil.
all of them
why is it, more often than not, that people who claim to love movies can only talk about what they hate about movies?
a little odd, no?
Only on Mubi, RUS.
@Westley — lol! You’re right!
Waking up to find out — IT WAS ALL JUST A DREAM.
@ Rich Uncle Skeleton
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that we hate all those things just by exposing them to be stereotypes.
@ classic shot
Here is another one:
The typical camera pan over Manhattan, seen a hundred times.
Check out this music video for the Alex Gopher track “The Child”. Basically it is a car racing sequence through New York City, but the architecture has been transformed into abstract typographical objects.
The designers (french company called H5) used existing material from 90s action movies such as Die Hard 3 and translated it frame by frame into typography – and because everybody saw those camera angles and camera pans a hundred times, everybody instantly feels at home and can translate that abstract code back into a typical New-York-shot.
(By the way, how do I embed images here?)
“Also the tarantinian trunkshot came into mind:”
The “in-the-container” shot, a pet peeve of mine. Anytime anyone opens a trunk, locker, safe, refrigerator, sometimes even closet…
Sometimes it’s done well and fits the form. In Requiem for a Dream there are many of these shots, but they graphically match with the other inserts that Aronofsky structures the movie around (including the opening split screen set-up) so that the characters are boxed into their repetitive habits… and each shot speeds up, so that the checking of the mailbox, opening of the safe, etc becomes less of a reveal of the objects within the container and the characters regarding them (drat, that letter still hasn’t arrived; hrm, we’re not making as much money selling drugs right now), and more a look into the character’s motion as they go back to the same points waiting for the same fix (itstherenoitsnot, “It’ll fill up again… next summer”).
Generic, not wrong set-up: The Shawshank Redemption , where the prison boss puts his papers in the safe. It seems arbitrary and random for the most part until the end, when it sets up the reveal that the papers are not there. Well Deakins ya got me there.
Bad, cliched set-up: Be Cool. “It’s a Leonard novel, right? Tarantino adapted a Leonard novel, right? And it had a trunk-shot, right? So this is supposed to be a Tarantino movie, right?” "But the previous movie, Get Shorty …. " “Shut up and put the camera in the trunk!”
in all coming of age films where the main character is a love struck teen boy and he is riding his bike in the middle of a road in a generic suburb with a dazed expression and his arms flying out at night
Establishing shots of big cities like New York and Paris.
A view of the Eiffel Tower from a window.
the over-the-shoulder shot in a conversation qualifies
Once we go there we might as well call out the whole classical Hollywood continuity system, though.
Mike — do you mean the shot where one character faces the camera with his/her back to the person who he/she is talking to? That’s a classic soap opera move.
Overhead shot of the coffin being placed in the grave hole during a (often rainy) funeral.
I’ve been keeping track of staircase shots (camera looking up or down a stairwell) for a number of years now. I find it in all genres and in movies from all over the world. The earliest one I’ve recorded is in M.
Including Park Avenue in the frame.
Oh, and a shot of someone, usually a man, just released from prison, standing just outside the prison in front of the prison gate, looking out into the world, wearing a suit, or jacket of some sort, without a tie.
med shot Person finds old book, opens it , blows, dust flying.
American Shot (3/4) of gunfighter from the back, fto the right of frame,facing oppponent at the other end of stree, to the left of frame.
Hand held or Steadicam following WW1 soldier through trenches, at night, explosions.
C/Up Hitman screwing on silencer.
Person in bathtub about to cut wrists, almost always camera at subject eye level from about where bathroom door shold be pointing to the right.
Fisheye lens to denote POV drunk/stoned
Chinese/Japanese men walk in slomo into tea house. Mayhem to ensue.
RomCom shot of couple kissing crane camera ascending.
“Chinese/Japanese men walk in slomo into tea house. Mayhem to ensue.”
I could see Wong Kar Wai doing this sort of thing, without the mayhem of course.
Well, in his case maybe mayhem of the sword kind. Or the broken heart kind.
Torres Law- “About 50% of cinema is about mayhem of some sort of other”.