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Opening movements in Ophuls: Caught (and Madame de …)(audiovisual essay)

Gibbs, J. (2016) Opening movements in Ophuls: Caught (and Madame de …)(audiovisual essay). [in]Transition, 3 (2). ISSN 2469-4312

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Official URL: http://mediacommons.org/intransition/opening-movem...

Abstract/Summary

This audiovisual essay was created at the wonderful NEH-funded workshop in videographic criticism at Middlebury College, ‘Scholarship in Sound and Image’. The essay provides an analysis of the orchestration of long takes and camera movement in the opening of Caught (Ophuls, 1949), and develops a comparison with the opening of Madame de… (Ophuls, 1953 – U.S. release title The Earrings of Madame de…), not least through a series of juxtapositions, which can be directly presented and compared in an audiovisual essay. The openings share a concern with the subjectivity of the female protagonists and our relationship toward it, evoking the women’s experience while balancing this with other kinds of perspective. As has been noted in the critical literature on Ophuls, and on melodramas of passion more generally, such views enable us to perceive the women concerned to be caught in material and ideological frameworks of which they are at best partially aware. Among the interests of this particular comparison, however, is the extent to which the dynamic around female subjectivity is played in relation to luxury goods, imagined, owned or admired. Tensions between on- and off-screen spaces and sounds are critical to the interest of the long takes under discussion. Camera movements subtly inflect the extent to which we are aligned (or otherwise) with the characters and the ways in which their material circumstances are revealed to us.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:61977
Uncontrolled Keywords:Max, Ophuls, Matras, Charles, Boyer, Danielle, Darrieux, Vittorio, De Sica, Barbara Bel Geddes, Perkins, Britton, V.F. Perkins, long take, long takes, camera movement, female, subjectivity, distance, off-screen, space, desire, furs, jewellery, Lee Garmes, Leonora Eames, Robert Ryan, James Mason, video, essay, Caught, Madame de ..., earrings
Additional Information:To watch the video essay, click on the Official URL above
Publisher:Media commons / cinema journal

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