1.i remember that in a discussion with hitchcock,truffaut was comparing the way hitchcok shot a scene in one of his movies,and the way the same scene was shot by some american director who remade that movie.the scene was two guys talking in the street.bad guys probably.hitchcock shot it from inside a room, from above,so you could see them through the window but not hear them.the american director shot it from up close, and i think you could hear the dialogue and see the characters clearly.truffaut’s claim was that hitchcock’s way was superior because it preserved a sense of mistery and menace about the two strangers, whereas in the remake that sense was gone.
my question is why this is superior.maybe the remake had a different view of the characters and there were other things the director was interested in.for example,we get aquainted with the characters that way.i don’t think it’s good to generalize and say that one way to do it is the best absolutely.it depends on the overall effect the director is after.
2.why is that it’s claimed sometimes that certain techniques generate specific feelings or thoughts in the viewer?for example, close-ups are said to bring you in closer psychological contact to the characters, whereas shooting from a distance is supposed to be more distant and neutral.is that some psychological fact about film viewing?it doesn’t seem obviously true to me.
also,suppose you shoot a scene in a bar, with many characters everywhere, and you do it by moving the camera around very smoothly and nicely, a la scorsese (on a dolly maybe). someone else could do the same scene by editing, cutting a lot and so not in one shot.now, is the one superior to the other?sometimes i hear that editing is more artificial,and it draws attention to the medium,whereas the long take is more realistic .i can’t find aything in my experience of movies to support that.maybe if it’s editted very fast,but usually editing doesn’t create any impression of artificiality.
and even more interestingly, what possible justification could someone have for using one technique rather than the other in shooting a scene,other than personal taste?can they really say ‘This kind of shooting will lead to this effect in the viewer,whereas this other way will lead to this other effect’?there may be of course limitations in what you can do:i don’t know how john woo would have shot an antonioni movie,but there the script and story imposes the limitations.you might have a story that is very slow,like satan’s tango,or nostalgia.but within that aim,slowness,i’m not sure how many of the technical choices are not just immaterial to the overall effect(i.e., a lot of the things could have been done differently and it would not have mattered.if p.t. anderson had shot inglorious basterds, i’m sure it would have been different, but probably not worse).
to conclude,im not sure to what extent a lot of technical decisions matter in movies.
there might be some tension between my thoughts on 1 and 2,but that’s fine,im confused about stuff most of the time