Old School Film Making


I got an email yesterday from a guy called Alex Schiller, who said, ‘Could ANY film director tell me how this video clip was shot? I could watch this over & over. Terrific! Never seen anything like this before, my word!’ So I went and had a look, the clip is above.

It’s from a feature film made in the late eighties called ‘The Bear’, and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud who also directed two of my favorite movies from the eighties, ‘The Name Of The Rose’, and the classic, ‘Quest For Fire’, another film without dialogue.

For me, what is outstanding about this clip is just how well it is choreographed, photographed and dare I say acted. And it struck me like a ton of bricks when I saw it, the tension, feeling and jeopardy in this scene is what digital effects can so often kill dead. Watching this, you can sense these are real animals doing real things. Sure, we know that just out of shot there are animal handlers and safety divers, but audiences willingly suspend the disbelief. Subconsciously, we know real danger and jeopardy are present, and it oozes out of every frame in a way digital effects so often try to copy but fail and become hollow and emotionless. The upshot is that we engage more fully. More is at stake. And we are in for the ride.

Of course I was not there when filming took place, but I can only imagine that it was shot with a huge amount of planning and storyboarding, with animal handlers working for months, with a an incredibly patient director and crew, with clever editing and camera angle choices, and great sound too… but most of all, I am sure it was made with a huge amount of love.

It really is great film making.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author


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