spacetime coordinates: 1927–1947 California / ConnecticutThe Aviator is a 2004 American epic biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. Based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham, the film depicts the life of Howard Hughes, an aviation pioneer and director of Hell’s Angels. The film portrays his life from 1927–1947 during which time Hughes became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).
In an article for the American Cinematographer, John Pavlus wrote: “The film boasts an ambitious fusion of period lighting techniques, extensive effects sequences and a digital re-creation of two extinct cinema color processes: two-color and three-strip Technicolor.” For the first 52 minutes of the film, scenes appear in shades of only red and cyan blue; green objects are rendered as blue. This was done, according to Scorsese, to emulate the look of early bipack color films, in particular the Multicolor process, which Hughes himself owned, emulating the available technology of the era. Similarly, many of the scenes depicting events occurring after 1935 are treated to emulate the saturated appearance of three-strip Technicolor. Other scenes were stock footage colorized and incorporated into the film.
Rocks in My Pockets (Latvian: Akmeņi manās kabatās) is a 2014 2D / 3D animated film written, produced, directed and animated by Signe Baumane. It was originally created in English and a Latvian version was thereafter translated and produced. The film is based on true events about five women of the filmmaker’s family, including herself, and their battles with depression and suicide. For the entire film, approximately 30,000 drawings were created.
spacetime coordinates: Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Poland 6 – 7 October 1944Son of Saul (Hungarian: Saul fia) is a 2015 Hungarian drama film directed by László Nemes and co-written by Nemes and Clara Royer. It is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul Ausländer (played by Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando. The film’s many historical sources included the personal accounts of Schlomo Venezia and Filip Müller, the records of Miklos Nyiszli, a Romanian-Jewish doctor who was forced to work in the crematoria, and Claude Lanzmann‘s Shoah (1985).
During the preparation, director László Nemes, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély and production designer László Rajk made a pledge to stick to certain rules, or a “dogma”, which included: The film cannot look beautiful. // The film cannot look appealing. // We cannot make a horror film. // Staying with Saul means not going beyond his own field of vision, hearing, or presence. // The camera is his companion, it stays with him throughout this hell.
The film took five months of sound design, where human voices in eight languages were recorded and attached to the original recording of the production. Sound designer Tamás Zányi described the sound in the film “as a sort of acoustic counterpoint to the intentionally narrowed imagery”. The music score by László Melis is intentionally kept so subtle that viewers won’t even notice it. (read more: imdb, wiki)The film follows the same stylistic approach as László Nemes’ first and most successful short film Türelem (2007). In the short, the camera follows a woman proceed with her daily work routine with a very narrow focus and vision, until she walks up to a window and sees a group of Jewish prisoners stripped down by Sonderkommando prisoners and SS officers. The short is available online HERE.
spacetime coordinates: 1940s Mississippi
Mudbound is a 2017 American period drama film directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. It stars Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, and Mary J. Blige. The film depicts two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and PTSD in his own way.
Rachel’s term for the goal they tried to achieve is ‘subjective naturalism,’ ‘The period wasn’t a character in this film. The mud was a character, the weather was a character, the house was a character… we were trying to make more of a commentary about just how tough times were through experiences.’
spacetime coordinates: 1930s-1940s Hiroshima and Kure JapanIn This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni) is a 2016 Japanese animated wartime drama film produced by MAPPA, co-written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi, featuring character designs by Hidenori Matsubara and music by Kotringo. The film is based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kōno. Though it is a fictional account, the episodes and background of the story are based on facts and real incidents researched by the production staff. In the film, the lost townscape of pre-war Hiroshima, damaged by the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, is accurately revived in the scenes, following old photos, documents, and the memories of living people.
spacetime coordinates: 1940 Great Britain Darkest Hour is a 2017 British war drama film directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten. It stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and is a fictionalised account of his early days as Prime Minister, as Nazi Germany swept across Western Europe, threatening to defeat the United Kingdom during World War II, leading to friction at the highest levels of government. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup.