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The cry of the owl: investigating decision-making in a contemporary feature film

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Gibbs, J. (2011) The cry of the owl: investigating decision-making in a contemporary feature film. Movie: a Journal of Film Criticism (3). pp. 80-93. ISSN 2047-1661

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Official URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/film/movie/

Abstract/Summary

This article extends the traditions of style-based criticism through an encounter with the insights that can be gained from engaging with filmmakers at work. By bringing into relationship two things normally thought of as separate: production history and disinterested critical analysis, the discussion aims to extend the subjects which criticism can appreciate as well as providing some insights on the creative process. Drawing on close analysis, on observations made during fieldwork and on access to earlier cuts of the film, this article looks at a range of interrelated decision-making anchored by the reading of a particular sequence. The article examines changes the film underwent in the different stages of production, and some of the inventions deployed to ensure key themes and ideas remained in play, as other elements changed. It draws conclusions which reveal perspectives on the filmmaking process, on collaboration, and on the creative response to material realities. The article reveals elements of the complexity of the process of the construction of image and soundtrack, and extends the range of filmmakers’ choices which are part of a critical dialogue. Has a relationship to ‘Sleeping with half open eyes: dreams and realities in The Cry of the Owl’, Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, 1, (2010) which provides a broader interpretative context for the enquiry.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:25807
Uncontrolled Keywords:John Gibbs, The Cry of the Owl, Patricia Highsmith, Jamie Thraves, Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, contemporary film, American film, book to movie, thriller, literary adaptations, film style, mise en scene, film criticism, luc Montpellier, matthew davies, tone, permissions, editing, grading, décor, production history, adr, dubbing, script, rough cut, long take, steadicam, ophuls, lang, wilson

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