Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why Don't You Justify My Foot Up Your Ass?

Q: Justify why this is blue? A: Because there's a blue gel over the light!>>>

That's one of the last things I remember saying in film school. We had a fairly useless lighting lab. It was all technique, and no creativity, as usual. It could be argued that's all film school students are tech geeks sans any creativity whatsoever, but I don't think so. The problem lies with the instructors. They don't allow for creativity to bleed into their tried and true formulas.

I have had many an argument about the lighting I like to showcase in my films. I don't feel I need to justify every light shown on screen. The dogma says differently. They tell you, every light must obviously come from something on screen, or off screen, but the viewer must subconsciously say, "Oh, that soft light is coming from the street lamp just off screen". Me, being a huge fan of Lynch and Argento, vehemently deny this rule. It has a place, yes. But I feel if I want to bathe my film in red light, I should be able to do so. It's a stylistic choice. I like surreal images. I enjoy that disorienting feeling I first got when I watched Suspiria, or The Lost Highway. I don't believe it takes people out of the film, I believe it transplants them further into a dream like state. They become fully immersed in their perceived surroundings. Of course, if the movie blows, the lighting will be ripped apart. But if the movie sucks, it sucks. Period. So what's the difference?

If I'm filming a comedy, then perhaps the rule applies. I doubt my lighting style would work for any movies that are comedic in tone. But I know that. That's not the point. I feel the lighting is another tool filmmakers can use to draw people into the story, and I think it's under utilized because Directors are so worried about "How can I justify this blue light?". I think of films as an escape. Why can't I make my spot more unconventional, more surreal, for tourists?

1 Comment:

Scott the Reader said...

Works for me, if that's the kind of film it is.

I always loved the fact that "Lost Highway" got thumbs down from Siskel and Ebert, and Lynch put that in the ad. He knew who his fans were.