Sunday, May 26, 2013

Creative Minimal Cinema

Recently re-watching Star Trek (Abrams, 2009), and thinking about the use of silence during moments when explosions are going off, led to this brief thought on the use of minimalism to convey narrative content. There was no need for the sound of explosions during those Star Trek scenes (that would sound like: Ka-boomkrrrrkrrrr!!! etc.) because the audience already knows that information and thus recreates it in his or her mind.

Like traditional paratactic Chinese poetry, or Ernest Hemingway and the absence of adverbs in his writing... the audience just needs the minimum detail to understand -- and perhaps ultimately enjoy -- the piece.

Like the absence of a soundtrack in Yang Li's 2003 film Blind Shaft.

Like Aeschylus's play Agamemnon in which the murder is off-stage, or sex scenes in 1950s film noir films that are off-camera, the equation seems to follow that the less detail conveyed, the more the rhetorical/emotional impact, and maybe even at times the following is true: when only the minimum is conveyed, film is at its best.

If too little information is presented, then a specific idea might not be conveyed, and the result could be pure abstraction.

If too much information is conveyed ... the English language has much to say about this: over-embellishment, heavy-handed, unauthentic, perhaps the baroque. The result can be impatience, boredom, eye-rolling.

Certainly, over time the definition of minimum -- "only the minimum is necessary" -- changes; that's what I think appeals to me the most.

No comments:

Post a Comment