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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Film Project: Seminar 6

Learning objectives and discussed films
  • Character flaws & character relations

  • Also looking at how well these films construct overall consistency in tone and mood.

NOTE: I have included the video version of the film that piqued my interest the most, but I will be including my notes and the elements that were raised from the discussions of these films in class.

Whale Valley
Dog Walker
Fata. Morgana

Character flaws, what are they? - 'bias, limitation, imperfection, problem, personality disorder, vice, phobia, prejudice, or deficiency present in a character who may be otherwise very functional.'

Whale Valley (dir. Guòdmundr Arnar Guòmundsson)

  • Character flaws: Although we are able to understand and connect with Arnar's mental health struggles, he projects onto his little brother who only wants to make sure that he is safe, to the point where Ivor felt like he had to do something drastic to finally get his brother's attention. This adds depth to the narrative and is very well executed, demonstrating a strong bond between the brothers and the men in the film.

  • Consistency: The film delivers a melancholic and bittersweet feel throughout, through the colours in the cinematography, the emotions and performances of the actors, and the locations and elements explored. All contribute to delivering the same style and tone.

  • This is a good example of a well-executed film with limited dialogue, the silence quite truly speaks volumes and demonstrates the film's minimalistic ability to show instead of telling.

  • The small clues or foreshadowing embedded into elements such as the production design are powerful: prior to the graphic scene of the younger brother's almost-death, he looks at himself in the mirror and tugs at a piece of thread coming from his sweatshirt, a clear indication of his idea of how to get his brother's attention and convince him to seek help.

  • In a more editing-focused discussion, the edit chooses to linger on the right moments, which allows audiences to absorb the intentional silences, environment, and body language of the actors, utilising the space and performances.

Dog Walker (dir. Kim Sherman)

  • Character flaws: Her selfish or perhaps insane reactions/emotions to the fact that the dog got stolen. She is of course relieved, which we would all be if it meant we would be able to get out of a difficult situation somehow, but it feels a little sinister, and the lack of connection to the character further complicates things.

  • Consistency: Although the film attempts to borrow conventions from genres such as rom-com to mislead audiences, there are consistent pinpoint moments throughout that bring it back to the dark comedy that it has pursued. i.e. The dog in the suitcase, the suitcase falling down the stairs, her suspicious looks around the neighbourhood, the punch in the face, and the smiling at the strangers

  • While on a surface level we feel for the protagonist and her struggle, it is hard to connect with her as a character as we know nothing about her, her likes, her hobbies - any information about who she is, other than the fact that she is a dog walker. This reduces the potential emotional impact that the film could have had if her personality was further established in the narrative. Because of this, her character becomes passive.

  • An editing criticism that was brought up was their decision to cut to black after she gets punched in the face. On top of this, the entirety of the sequence of her in the house on the phone with the vets is drawn out for no reason. It offers so little in such a long amount of time. Time could have easily been saved from this, and left for the end sequence to be without credits plastered on top. -- We know that the dog is dead, stop telling us again and again and again!

  • The last shot, being a very long shot that includes a lot of interesting action, definitely could have looked better if it was put say, at the beginning instead of the end. The criticism of this clip was also the decision to put the credits over it. While this is understanding for festival run times (having done the same thing myself in the past) it is definitely not helpful to the film itself.

Fata. Morgana (dir. Amelie Wen)

  • Character flaws: The key character flaw in this is on the husband's side/the father of the deceased. His attitudes towards the death of his daughter and his approach to things seem questionable. While he and the wife resolve things at the end, his character just does not sit right with me (personally, at least). On the other hand, it is clearly demonstrated that they deal with emotion in different ways, and the way in which he does it isn't the healthiest.

  • Consistency: The wife constantly fights to 'send off' her daughter in a way that fulfils tradition, while the husband does not understand why she wants to do so. This back and forth, often subtle and later on more prominent, maintains the constant tone and style in addition to the obvious funeral processes of their daughter's passing.

  • At times, this film utilises the runtime a lot better than the previous in its long-winded first act.

  • The cutting points at the funeral scene when the husband was playing with the baby is an important thing to consider - we do not see the wife's face when the husband is smiling, but only after his facade starts to break away. This is clearly intentional and very emotionally powerful. We feel bad for the wife, but from this point on we connect a little more to the husband too.

7:35 DE LE MAÑANA (dir. Nacho Vigalondo)

  • Character flaws: A man who has fallen in love with a woman to who he is too afraid to confess, so does so in an elaborate plan which results in his death and confetti splattered everywhere. An absolutely hilarious character flaw.

  • Consistency: This piece feels very short, but the emotions and the song and performance maintain consistency in style, tone and performance.

  • The film constructs tension in such a successful and amusing way, from the very beginning audiences are able to tell that something is wrong.

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