Victoria – Film Analysis 

One girl, one night, one take. 

Two hours of uninterrupted pure cinematic joy. That’s the only way I can describe the 2015 foreign
film ‘Victoria’. Told in one continuous shot, the story of one girl meeting four guys, has never been so
riveting to watch. This is a film that grips you in right from the start and doesn’t let you go until the
closing credits.  

The directing is an art form in itself to watch. It’s a dance and director Sebastian Schipper gives the
dance of a life time. There are a few stand out moments in this film that have stayed with me, even
after watching it a second time. There is a scene around 40 minutes in which features the lead role  

Victoria played by Lela Costa, playing the piano. It’s a beautiful piece of film to watch and the way the
camera moves around is elegant and plays to the actress’s performance. And can I just ask why we
haven’t seen more of Lela Costa? Cause she is amazing! 

The second scene is around 1hour 24 minutes in and it revolves around Victoria not being about to
concentrate after the guys pull the bank heist. Again its absolutely stunning to watch. 

Not long after that. There is a scene where Victoria and the guys arrive back in the club and the Audio fades out and is replaced by a piano instrumental and it’s an amazing and such a great performance by both the actors and the director. 

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Opening Credits For FMP

Originally, my FMP was going to be fade to black and have the credits roll over the screen.  But to make my film a lot more interesting, I have decided to incorporate the credits into the actual film and have an actual open credit sequence.

In this list, I have assembled a selection of opening credits from both film and TV.

This is from the show ‘The Affair’ featuring ‘The Wire’ star Dominic West, ‘Luther”s Ruth Wilson and ‘ER’ alum Maura Tierny.

The show follows the characters of West and Wilson who have an affair, despite being married to other people.

The theme song and the credits work so well with this show. The theme song, ‘Container’ written and sung by Fiona Apple, was specifically written for this show.

The Lyrics:

I was screaming into the canyon
At the moment of my death
The echo I created
Outlasted my last breath

resinate the whole plot of this show and suit the sequence that shows the opening titles.

Another example of amazing use of an opening credits are the ones that go to Mad Med,

John Hamm’s of Don Draper is probably one of the best characters ever created for television and the shows opening titles the best in television.

The song, ‘A Beautiful Mine’ by RJD2 is one one the most beautifulest pieces of music ever created.

But it’s the titles have fans asking one simple question, even three years after the show ended, is the man falling from the building actually Don? The answer, we’ll never know. With the shows series finale ending with Don coming up with a new soda, it’s coke a cola, just in case you’re wondering. We’ll never know who the falling man was. 

Having looked at these, i think I am going to make my credits in the style of the show ‘Twin Peaks’ 

These titles are simple yet effective.  But also keep you engaged to the screen. 

Havinh spent the past three weeks binge watching the original series, in anticipation for the revival series, this will serve as a little homage to the talented David Lynch and the amazing show he created over twenty five years ago. 

Former Ideas

The very first idea that I had for my FMP was to adapt a few chapters of a book, the book in question was ‘Someday, Somday, Maybe’ by Lauren Graham. This went quite far into the production stage that I even wrote a script.

Franny_Script.pdf 1

Naming it ‘An Evening With Frances Banks’ was a nod to the main character’s idea for her ideal name for a play. When it came to adapting the book into the script, it was a very interesting thing to do, so to get in the mind set of the writer, I watched books that were adapted into films and also read the books of the film.

I of course, started with the Harry Potter series by reading and then watching the first film, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone.’ Reading the book and then watching the film, has given me a greater appreciation for the Boy Who Lived.

Other books that I read were, John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and then watched the film. Both times I cried like a child. Never has the word ‘Okay’ been so soul destroying.

To try and get a better feel for the genre, I read ‘Eat,Prey,Love’ written by Elizabeth Gilbert and starring Julia Roberts, she can do so much better. Let’s just leave it at that. and ‘Wild’ based on the novel ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ by Cheryl Strayed and starring Reece Withaspoon. You can actually sign up to do the actual hike, just follow this link.

https://www.pcta.org/wild/

Both books are outstanding.

After I had a talk with my tutor about this, it soon became clear that adapting a book without the authors permission, even for a college project, is actually against the law. So I did what I thought was best, hunt down Lauran Graham’s fan mail address and write her a letter. I sent that letter End of January and to this day, have not heard back. But in her defense, she’s probably still loving the hype from the new Gilmore Girls series. But let’s be honest. Who isnt? 

So I then decided to go down another route, taking a look at musicals! I’m sure you can see where this is going, but just stick with it. I watched Les Miserables and thought to myself that I can try and re-modernize it. It’s a crime just thinking about it! But, like with ‘Someday, Someday, Maybe’ I wrote a script.

Les Mis Script

But after several re-writes and several viewings of the film later, (I’ve seen the show on Broadway, absolutely strange with American Accents) I never felt I had enough gravitas in the script to give such a wonderful book, film, musical justice.

FMP Music

Music:

The music to play over my final thirty seconds of my film and over my end credits is to me, almost and if not more important than the story of whatever movie you’re using it in. Music stays with you long after the moments happened and when you have a good song, it makes whatever’s happening in the scene much more memorable.

I love incorporating music into my movies, the first major film I made last year was a music video set to Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’. Then I made a genre film set to ‘Keep Me In your Heart For A While’ by Warren, and for my final project last year, I used ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ by Whitney Houston, but covered by the band Bootstraps.

All the above examples moved my story along with the storytelling through the lyrics of the song, In some cases I have chosen the song before hand and then tried to write to the song and whatever fits the mood. I tried this last year for my FMP by originally wanting the song, ‘Gone Away’ by Lucy Schwartz but when it came to the editing side of things, I found that the song didn’t work with what I’ve recorded. So then in came Whitney!

My song for this year was a hard choice to pick, mainly because it’s only being used for about thirty-fourtyfive seconds. Knowing this, I wanted to pick a song with a punch. Something that makes you thinks ‘okay, this is a good song.’  and to also pick a song that felt relevant to the story.

So to make that happen, I looked at really old songs, because we all know, some of the best songs out in the world, are old. After a while of listenig to songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I came across Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man and I think It’s Gonna Be A Long Long Time‘ 

I felt as though this song reflects the story of Sam as it’s been a long long time since he has seen Melody, which is the main plot line to the story.  I even add reference to the song in the script, when their talking about Elton John, Sam says ‘He made want to become an astronaut’  just to link back to the song.

When it came to being allowed to use the song, I went on the Elton John website and emailed them asking them if I could use the song.

This was their response

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 16.31.00.png

 

A copy of the music rights can be found student-licence-template-connor-norton

FMP Research

Another thing I wanted to do with this FMP was to incorporate monologue, so i looked at Monologue from TV shows that I watch, the following are a select few.

 

TV Shows:

Grey’s Anatomy is well known for its many Meredith Grey voiceovers at the beginning and end of episodes, but episode 2×05, “Bring The Pain,” will always stand out to me, as one of the most famous monologues in the show’s thirteen (yes, Meredith Grey’s been in our lives for the past thirteen years) run as Meredith makes love interest Derek choose between her, or his wife Addison. Here is what she says.

 

Okay, here it is. Your choice, it’s simple, her or me. And I’m sure she’s really great. But Derek, I love you. In a really, big really big pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your bedroom window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you… love you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me. I’ll be at Joe’s tonight so if you do decide to sign the papers, meet me there.

Just hearing Meredith say this to Derek really shows just how much she loves him and it gives her portray er, Ellen Pompeo a real chance to shine. But let’s be honest, I couldn’t have been the only who wanted him to choose Addison? God bless us the amazing Kate Walsh and the spin off ‘Private Practice’

But perhaps one of the best monologue’s comes from the character Amelia Shepherd, portrayed by Catarina Scorsone. The scene plays out like a play with only just two characters and is set around the death of one of the main characters.

11×23 and 11×24 ‘She’s Leaving Home’

“I have a baggie full of black-market oxy in my coat pocket, and I’m trying to decide whether or not to take it. I’ve got the dead-Derek thing completely managed.
I know people were worried. Since he died, everybody’s been looking at me, waiting for me to fall apart or freak out or just become a mess. Like some bomb everyone thinks is supposed to go off. My mother was calling three, four times a day. Addison was calling Everyone. It makes sense. It’s natural. Every man I’ve ever loved Has died. Including my baby.Thank you, universe. So, I should be, like Greek tragedy, turned to stone, bat-crap crazy, but I’m good. I got this. I am fine. I’m telling you, I’m amazing.I am saving lives left and right. I am putting butts in the seats in that O. R.gallery. I mean, people are fighting to hear me lecture. I am entertaining Joke, joke, joke! I’m funny! I’m fun! I’m a party! I’m doing I’m great! I’m handling the dead-Derek thing really well. Okay. Except today, I yelled at Richard Who was only trying to invite me for coffee, and then I went and scored oxy from this junkie doctor. But have I taken any? Not yet. But I might. That’s the thing.  I really actually might. I have been sober for 1,321 days, Owen. I was fine. It was managed. But I might.”

Having watched Amelia’s journey from the spin-off show ‘Private Practice’ and knowing what the character went through during her time on the show. This monologue is even more heart-breaking once you take all of Amelia’s past into account.

Another example is from the T.V. show ‘The Blacklist’. This is a show known for it’s fast pace action and heart pounding cliff-hangers, but one thing it isn’t known for is monologues. In the shows first season, with two main characters in a life or death situation, the shows main protagonist, Raymond, Reddington, played by Emmy Winner, James Spader delivers probably one of the most emotional monologue’s in television history.  Spader’s voice is superb and really makes you sit up and pay attention to what he is saying.

 

Season One: Episode Nine

 “Have you ever sailed across an ocean Donald? On a sail boat surrounded by sea with no land in sight. Without even the possibility of sighting land for days to come. To stand at the helm of your destiny. I want that, one more time.I want to be in the Piazza Del Campo in Sienna. To feel the surge as ten race horses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris, at L’Ambroisie in the Place Des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine. And then another. I want the warmth of a woman in a cool set of sheets. One more night of Jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on summits and smoke cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can.Walk on the wall again. Climb the tower. Ride the river. Stare at the frescoes. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book.Most of all I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Give me that. Just one time. That’s why I won’t allow that punk out there to get the best of me. Let alone the last of me.”

 

 

 

James Spader is also the king of improvising, as the following monologue see’s Red find missing collage FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen after an undercover mission goes wrong. This is taken from the episode ‘Madiline  Pratt

 

“There you are. What the hell happened to you? You just leave me stranded with awful Algerian. He’s been hitting on me for 20 minutes.“

Embassy Guard: “Sir, this is a secure area.”

Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington: “ [to security guard] Well, not secure enough if you ask me, sister. You know what? Why don’t ask Rasil? We wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for that troublemaker. Always an agenda with him. Cultural attaché. Culture, my ass. The things I do for this one. Gallivanting around the globe for you little assignations with you know, hmm-hmm.

[to security guard]

Carrying her furs and bikinis as if I wouldn’t rather be back in Dutchess County my shelties.  Hey, don’t take anything for granted. Everything you have was bought and paid for by your boyfriend.  Do you have any idea who’s horn this tramp is blowing? Let’s just say it starts with Bashiar, and ends with Assad, gassing you faster than a Sunni. So let’s get her out of the hot seat and into a limo. Good God, crumbs up!“  “Your cummerbund. Pleats up. You look like Bob Yashimura in eighth grade swing choir. It’s upside down.”

[Red punches out the security guard]

“Oh god, that hurts!”

Elizabeth Keen: “What the hell was that?”

Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington: “I don’t know it just felt so right in the moment.

All of the above examples show a showcase in not just acting, but also in writing. Where some were improvised, others were written with heart felt emotion. The best one from this list, has to be  Caterina Scorsone’s breakdown in the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ episode, ‘She’s Leaving Home’

Scorsone acted her arse off in this scene and it’s a crime that she’s never been nominated for an Emmy or a Golden Globe for her acting. Just this performance alone is worthy of a nomination.

FMP Research

Part of my research is to look at TV Shows and Films with long tracking shots or that have filmed parts of the episode in one take.

Many of the walk and talk scenes in the the hit US tv series ‘The West Wing’ are filmed this way.

If you’re apart of an Aron Sorkin drama, you’re gonna have lots and walk and talks. The most epic was this ridiculously long tracking shot as the President and his staff walk through the back of the Ambassador Hotel. It involves going down several fights of stairs and outside into a parking, and involves over 500 extras and nearly all the major cast.

‘True Detective’ preformed a one shot take lasting six minutes. This was the moment that made True Detective more than just another crime drama. Director Cary Joli Fukunanga’s six minutes follows Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle as he goes undercover. But things go Very wrong.

Hit Si-Fi Series ‘The X-Files’ made an entire episode from four – ten minute long takes. But that show is so old, and they’re making more! That there are no clips available from that time. Sorry. The episode ‘Triangle’ had different acts, all of which were one continuous shot. The one in particular that I had chosen, follows Gillian Anderson’s Agent Scullt as she walks through various corridors and elevators to complete an important and dangerous task.

A truly remarkable and utterly harrowing one take (seriously, this is not for the faint-heated), as police officers respond to a school shooting. The cops (and the camera) steps into the school to chase the shooter, while the chaos continues around them. Amazingly, they shot this scene twice, once for the original French-Canadian viewers and once more for the English language viewers.

Another, more terrifying one take is in the film ‘The Shining’

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 13.52.04

The Two-Minute, Sixteen Second oner, is both uttertly horrifying and beautiful at the same time.

FMP Early Plans

I have had many ideas for my FMP for this year, from adapting a book ‘Someday Someday Maybe’ by Lauren Graham, all the way to re-modernizing the hit musical Les Misérables, I have scripts for both. But in the end, I have decided to stick with my original plan and that is to do a film in one continuous shot. I have started research on this and plan to continue over the holidays.