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Old 01-05-2020, 10:51 AM   #11
Friday
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Default Re: 1917

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It basically is a one-take, though there are a couple obvious act breaks where Mendes "cuts." Even within that rule, Deakins does a lot of different things to keep it interesting and surprising. But Eisenstein's montage theory of cinema has persisted for over a century for a reason -- it really does work better than the reality of viewing images continuously the way we do in real life (though the brain makes its own cuts and edits to that too). As hacky as Spielberg's platoon of war movie cliches and stereotypes was in SPR, it did manage to keep you always engaged on a character level as they made their way across France. Here, the technical accomplishments feel more like a way to avoid having to develop the characters much at all.

It must be way harder to make it look like one continuous take. The actors having to memorize more lines. The crew having to be more exact so that it all flows. I am not sure how they match the scenes day to day.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1917

This instantly became one of my favorite war movies. I thought it was brilliant.

In the context of a war, it was a very small story and probably representative of many similar incidents, but the movie is both epic in scope and wonderfully intimate.

Easily Best Picture for me.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:44 AM   #13
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How did Sam Mendes make this look like one continually take? A few times maybe, I thought he might have been able to do it, but there are literally 40 minutes where the camera follows along with no visible places to cut. What's more impressive is that it includes huge battle scenes to set up. There's the daylight to deal with. It looked like it would take several months to film this. Not to mention a bunch of different set ups. Even if you have different camera men taking turns, there's no way the actors can go that many hours without breaking or remembering their lines.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:52 AM   #14
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This is the most realistic war film I've ever seen. It feels like you're following along with the soldier protagonist the whole way. It feels like I'm right there in 1917. The camera work is amazing. It always seems to move to capture the action and tell the story, while making it feel like you're right there present in the moment.



(minor spoilers)
I can see why some feel that the soldiers felt kind of faceless, with the audience not really that involved with them (a la Dunkirk). But, I will say that half way into the movie, I did feel hooked by the French girl and baby scene. Something about a soldier being nice to a villager and a little baby makes me like him. I know it's a gimmick, but it's the same thing that happened to me when I saw Jack Nicholson be nice to that cute puppy in As Good as it Gets. Also, the action here was more personal and intense than most war movies. That shooting at close range was one of the best war action sequences I've ever seen. Rather than the usual rely on explosions, it's much more intense when you're literally running for your life when someone is five feet from you trying to gun you down. The realistic continuous take really took advantage of that. The trailers do not do this movie justice. It's much better than what's implied in the trailer. I wasn't that taken with the trailer, since I've seen a billion movies. I would say 1917, Joker and JoJo Rabbit have been the movies that have most impressed me so far.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:31 AM   #15
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Default Re: 1917

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How did Sam Mendes make this look like one continually take? A few times maybe, I thought he might have been able to do it, but there are literally 40 minutes where the camera follows along with no visible places to cut. What's more impressive is that it includes huge battle scenes to set up. There's the daylight to deal with. It looked like it would take several months to film this. Not to mention a bunch of different set ups. Even if you have different camera men taking turns, there's no way the actors can go that many hours without breaking or remembering their lines.
No one was doing 40 minute takes, of course. As you can see/learn from the video below, they rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. They built sets specifically to allow for filming. They put an amazing amount of time in before the cameras ever rolled. They basically filmed a play, so to speak.

In this day & age of VFX, one can trick the eye, especially during a moment of action. The longest takes were roughly 8 1/2 to 9 minutes, which is a still a lot especially when you are there in person; but infinitely more realistic and manageable than 15 minutes or more, obviously. They "shot around 65 days."

Incredible planning and preparation was the key. Models of sets. Walk-throughs. Tests. More rehearsals the day of. And patience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMBnvz-dEXw
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:04 PM   #16
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No one was doing 40 minute takes, of course. As you can see/learn from the video below, they rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed. They built sets specifically to allow for filming. They put an amazing amount of time in before the cameras ever rolled. They basically filmed a play, so to speak.

In this day & age of VFX, one can trick the eye, especially during a moment of action. The longest takes were roughly 8 1/2 to 9 minutes, which is a still a lot especially when you are there in person; but infinitely more realistic and manageable than 15 minutes or more, obviously. They "shot around 65 days."

Incredible planning and preparation was the key. Models of sets. Walk-throughs. Tests. More rehearsals the day of. And patience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMBnvz-dEXw

Thanks Will. That's very fascinating.


I am still buzzing at what I saw. I was actively looking for where they could cut and it kept going and going. The degree of difficulty kept rising from running action scenes to full on battle scenes....all seemingly seamless. It wasn't just a gimmick....it really added to the storytelling. I don't think I've ever seen a war film that looked like this. I've pretty much seen every way of telling a war story...and they managed to come up with a fresh way of telling it. It looked more like 1917 than the actual documentary about World War 1 that was released last year.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:07 PM   #17
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Just saw the youtube video. Even if it wasn't one continuous take, they must have to be very precise to match the scenes to make it look like one take. I am sure film students will be copying this like the way they did Citizen Kane and Hitchcock.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1917

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Just saw the youtube video. Even if it wasn't one continuous take, they must have to be very precise to match the scenes to make it look like one take. I am sure film students will be copying this like the way they did Citizen Kane and Hitchcock.
I hope film students spend more time studying Eisenstein's montage theory than these gimmicky stunts that don't really serve the ultimate story they're trying to tell
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1917

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I hope film students spend more time studying Eisenstein's montage theory than these gimmicky stunts that don't really serve the ultimate story they're trying to tell
Hats off to Roger Deakins and his camera crew for bringing to life a fictional World War I soldier’s experience cultivated from Sam Mendes’s memories of the war stories of Mendes’s grandfather, author Alfred Mendes.

Whether or not the technique best served the story, only Time will tell. The methods used were one way to tell the story, a way that seems different from all others in contention for the Academy Awards this year. “Give me the same thing, only different.” Isn’t that the mantra of the Hollywood producer? Regardless, it was quite a challenge to carry it off, and the collaborative efforts of the team of cast and crew met that challenge and then some.

“1917” was a fine feat of camera choreography, and, as ever, there will be no stopping aspiring cinematographers from giving it the sincerest form of flattery through imitation.

Why do I so ardently believe the film is great? My longtime girlfriend — someone who is not your usual war movie fanatic — was the one who wanted to go see it, not I. She said it looked “interesting” to her. When it was over she said that she “loved it!” That’s high praise coming from her, and, as she put it, over a story that was not about the war itself.
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Last edited by TigerFang : 01-17-2020 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 03-08-2020, 08:01 AM   #20
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Throughout the film 1917, I looked for Tristan Ludlow as he tried to save his brother Samuel hung up on barbed-wire before the German soldiers crucified him with machine-gun fire, but I must have missed it because I did not see it in there.
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