Robert Altman Short Cuts Research Paper

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Robert Altman: Short Cuts Essay, Research Paper


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By Valerie Dominguez

The intent of the initial scene, while the credits are still turn overing, is to present us to the copiousness of characters, state of affairss and interpersonal dealingss that take topographic point in an urban scene and to see life beyond the control that its characters have upon it.

It observes the inevitable and unpredictable alterations in relationships, their development and the interactions between the different twosomes that sometimes enrich but largely endanger their delicate stableness.

Altman’s camera can be perceived as an exploratory oculus that inquires into the day-to-day pandemonium while trying to do it comprehendible to the spectator.

I chose the first five proceedingss because that scene is, in my sentiment, the most representative of the spirit of the movie and introduces the legion characters which are positioned in day-to-day state of affairss such as the theater, assorted places, a java store, a limousine and a wind nine. Short Cuts is really similar to his 1975 undertaking? Nashville? in that they both consist of narratives that overlap and are both chiefly linked together by holding the characters from the different narratives interact. He besides uses recurrent shootings which unify the actions that take topographic point to give the feeling that they are all go oning at the same clip and topographic point.

It’s on this initial scene that he elaborates the remainder of the movie, going an? oculus? that observes the development in the life of the characters he introduced and through which he will develop the struggles and involvements that life nowadayss.

In an interview with Connie Byrne and William O. Lopez he refers to how he is sometimes perceived as non really expressive about his work and that when he tries to speak about what his movies are about he sounds silly.

This is seen exactly in the selected sequence which reflects the fact that Altman wants to portray life as it is and set up legion state of affairss that develop by themselves as if the statement of the scene originated from a natural development instead than from a antecedently established secret plan.

I consider the first five proceedingss to be a general sequence that presents a state of affairs and all the chief characters. I divide this sequence into assorted partial sequences that are the 1s relative to each chief character and the intertwined aerial shootings that give the full sequence a? infinite? context and a narrative development.

I will analyse in item how shootings and sequences are intertwined during the first two proceedingss to so pull out the general notes of Altman’s vision that can be seen in the five minute sequence.


IN ( 00:00 )

Frame: Establishing shooting

Motion: Panoramic to the right – & # 224 ; close-up of the traffic mark & # 224 ; Panoramic to the left- & # 224 ; Establishing shooting of metropolis at dark


The movie starts with a general shooting of the metropolis from far off and at dark, it’s about an abstract composing. The motion of the camera shows us the traffic mark and with the Panoramics ( pan ) to the right and left about works as a human regard, it so goes back to a general shooting of the metropolis at dark.

The focal length doesn? t alteration at any point and gives the witness a really natural esthesis as if we were merely looking around us. The alteration between the long and short shootings isn? T done utilizing a rapid climb, the manager takes advantage of the existent intimacy to the object to heighten it in the short cut.

The produced esthesis is clearly descriptive. When the camera gets to the Quarantine warning mark I perceive an overlapped sound of motors and the mark starts to agitate. R.Altman is progressing the approaching presence of the choppers that are so illuminated. This is followed by a general set uping shooting of the choppers. This convergence of sound and image is used as a narrative EL

ement which gives the sequence continuity.


Frame: Inactive set uping shooting with a inactive low-angle position of the passing choppers

Motion: No camera movement- & # 224 ; high-angle position from chopper of a limousine on main roads ( aerial traveling ) – & # 224 ; sequence of medium shootings in the inside of limousine with descriptive consequence and hand-held camera.

The succesion of sequences in the studied five proceedingss are:

Sequence 1: L.A at dark and mark

Sequence 2: Helicopters

Sequence 3: Limousine

Sequence 4: Helicopters

Sequence 5: Home scene of Anchor and married woman

Sequence 6: Helicopters

Sequence 7: Man walks into house with married woman and kids

Sequence 8: Helicopters

Sequence 9: Coffee store with geting limousine

Sequence 10: Helicopters

Sequence 11: Wind nine

Sequence 12: Helicopters

Sequence 13: Policeman and household quarrelling

Sequence 14: Helicopters

Sequence 15 would be a scene in the theater merely it isn? T included because it is no longer portion of the debut of the chief characters and locations, it is the beginning of the geographic expedition of the character’s lives and personalities.

On a more common note, I will now continue to compose about the general trifles of the whole scene.

The camera is used as an impartial perceiver. The Panoramic ( pan ) motions of the camera are utilized to cover the actions of the characters and demo us parallel actions that happen at the same time. There is a moderate usage of the rapid climb that brings us to the objects of attending but without really affecting us overly, a balance which Concords with Altman’s wont of detecting and understanding without go throughing opinion.

An illustration of this would be the general shooting of the place of the Anchor which directs us towards an confidant location yet without being intrusive, ever at a distance with the purpose of objectiveness.

The general shootings, particularly the aerial 1s situate us geographically and are ever followed by short shootings that bit by bit introduce us into the different scenarios where the play will result throughout the movie. The images with the choppers have a really specific intent, they geographically unify the vicinities Altman is shooting which are all in L.A and near to each other. The periodic shootings of the Television screens in the different places in which one ever sees the same ground tackle unify the accions with regard to clip, all the actions are go oning at the same time. The lighting is realistic, the manager places the histrions while making a really bewitching consequence of the lighting on the choppers which serves to capture the attending of the audience at the beginning of the movie. The common usage of long and average shootings with really few close-ups articulation with the usage of a broad angle lens ( likely 35-50mm ) gives the witness the feeling of being a mere informant or bystander in the scenes that are presented to us. Certain camera motions such as? going? are more prevailing and pronounced in the aerial shootings and give us the feeling of taking us from one portion of the town to the other ; they contrast with the more restricted panoramic ( pan ) motions when we are in forepart of histrions and which give us the esthesis that these actions are go oning right in forepart of us. Altman doesn? T want to enforce his opinion of the state of affairs, he wants the scenes to talk for themselves. There is a continued usage of overlapped sound that sensorially mixes each state of affairs with musical subjects that help convey a dynamic esthesis to the populace and a certain exhilaration about the mystery of future occurrences in the lives of the bizarre and challenging characters that were late introduced into our head and emotional mind.


Robert Altman Interviews by David Sterritt

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