Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What is best in life? Every Frame A Painting

I adore video essays about film technique, craft and structure like nothing else, but there are so many rubbish ones. Videos that think they are making some kind of groundbreaking observation when they point out that Twelve Monkeys has a circular structure, or that Kubrick liked to use a bit of the old Steadicam.

But there are some lovely ones out there - Sean Witzke did a terrific piece of the Mission Impossible movies recently, and Tony Zhou's videos are the best.

Drive (2011) - The Quadrant System from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

Zhou's videos are funny, thoughtful, informative and freaking obsessed with craft, nailing what makes directors like David Fincher so great - and it's all about the staging.

David Fincher - And the Other Way is Wrong from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

He's done tonnes of them, on the sheer brilliance of Jackie Chan, the grace of Robin Williams and the use of chairs in modern cinema, and his poetic ode to F For Fake somehow turns into a tribute to the art of all storytelling. In four minutes.

F for Fake (1973) - How to Structure a Video Essay from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

You can find them all here, and Zhou is producing them semi-regularly, with a look at ensemble staging just the other day. Which is good, because this kind of articulate and ultra-modern love letter to cinema can only be a good thing.

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