Conversations About Dead People: Les Mis And How Not To Use Cinematography

url-2Olivia de Havilland: what were your thoughts on Les Mis, if you don’t mind my asking

Ida Lupino: they were these, in this order: HOLD THE DAMN CAMERA STILL, Tom Hooper you are the worst director and you don’t understand musicals. OH MY GOD, ANNE HATHAWAY, ALL THE OSCARS ARE BELONG TO YOOOOOOOU. Damn, Eddie Redmayne, you can sing, can’t you? Is this over yet? Why is the editing so not in line with the rhythm? Ok, Samantha Barks, you are legit.Yay guns!

Olivia: this is the best commentary ever

Ida: just diiieeee, Wolverine. You know, Baron-Cohen and Bonham-Carter stick out, but they could have been so much worse. Oh good, giant barricade. IF ONLY YOU’D SHOT ALL YOUR GROUP NUMBERS LIKE THAT. This end credit arrangement is pretty cool. And I think I liked Russell Crowe’s voice, even if the script gave him nothing. Now I’m going to go watch The Hobbit. /thought and feelings

cinema studies

Olivia: clarification, on Baron-Cohen and Bonham-Carter you did not like?

Ida: I did. “oh Santa!” might be my favorite line of the film. But I think they took me out of the film a little bit. It was really weird to see them interact with serious characters, because it felt like they belonged in a totally different universe. but they could have been ever worse.

Olivia: i see. I thought they were great, but the way Master of the House was filmed really bothered me. They were one of the only things that I felt I might have liked better in the film that in the stage show. I both liked that it felt more musical-y. but because nothing else in the film really did, that made it feel out of place the dancing specifically. are the dancing because this is a musical? or are they dancing because they are ridiculous people who are dancing?

Ida: lots of stuff not quite thought out. but the chaos fit and was wonderful.

Olivia: YES. I loved the idea of it

Ida: but then you go back to the movie and it’s like, oh, ok, that was a weird moment in time that is not going to be repeated because NOTHING IN THIS FILM IS UNIFIED. and the production design was pretty great. Glasses. Eyeballs. Santa.

Olivia: YES. And it is a nice break from all the seriousness going on but then its like “ok, back to death and drudgery!” and what wa with all the profile shots? people just singing, looking somewhere off to the side…no reason. just chillin. I JUST WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE. and then, the rest of it I WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOMETHING BESIDES YOUR FACE. I would take waist up even

Ida: AND ALWAYS THE RIGHT PROFILE. Is there something wrong with the left side of the frame? Did your lens smudge? what’s going on?

Olivia: I don’t know. I wasnt sure if that was just me, because by the end I couldnt tell if I was paranoid of was being possessed by something that only let me see profiles and close ups and I was really tired of sitting

Ida: I KNOW.. I was so tired. And felt like all the close up and shakeycams had built barricades in my temples are were giving me the most melodramatic headache.

Olivia: then the glorious end happened with the giant barricade and I was very confused as to where it came from, or if they were in heaven since they were all dead? but why are there barricades in heaven? I mean i guess that’s ok. fine, it is a musical, i love this song, I dont even care. but yeah. WHY ARE YOU NOT EDITING IT RIGHT? just go phrase by phrase. different person…aaaaarrhhgg

Ida: I KNOW. was your editor also doing, like, live-editing that paced the sequences based on the editor’s mood or interpretation or something? why is it weird?

Olivia: when it comes down to it, for me, it is just not the stage show. And I wasn’t expecting it to be, but I was hopeful it would be something that could be wonderful in a different way than the stage version.

Ida: and it kinda tries to be all stagey, in terms of capturing the immediacy of performance. it doesn’t understand how to be filmy. and that is sad. but still, “I Dreamed A Dream,” right? Eat that, Susan Boyle.

Olivia: But it missed the mark. I still needed it to feel like a musical, which it only did a few times.

Ida: just so.

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