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Rear Window: Framing, Offscreen Space, Cognitive Fill
Transcript of Rear Window: Framing, Offscreen Space, Cognitive Fill
Frame Within a Frame
Noel Burch, Theory of Film Practice
Ames Room Illusion
Pac Man Illusion
"Nana, or the Two Kinds of Space"
“By that I simply mean that one or another of the spatial segments in question takes shape in the viewer’s imagination every time an entrance or exit occurs into or out of that segment.”
the viewer's imagination
“It is thus principally the empty frame that focuses our attention on what is occurring off screen, thereby making us aware of off-screen space, for with the screen empty there is nothing as yet (or nothing any longer) to hold the eye’s attention.”
the empty frame
six segments of offscreen space
4 borders of the frame
behind the camera
behind the set or object
“Off-screen sound, however, always bring off-screen space into play, regardless of whether or not it occurs in conjunction with any of the spatial modalities thus far described.”
Law of Closure
Illusions, Schema and the Spatial Imagination
Public Views of Private Spaces
Law of Closure
Augmenting, Remixing, Remodeling Rear Window
Greenwich by Way of Hollywood
Rear Window, with considerably more money at its disposal, had a $100,000 set built — 38 feet wide, 185 feet long, and 40 feet high — combining Jeff’s living room, the only part of his flat we ever see, with the courtyard it overlooks. The set also included a short patch of sidewalk and street between two buildings and beyond that a bar, visible only when Jeff uses his telephoto lens to follow Miss Lonely Hearts when she leaves her flat. The fact that these buildings are supposed to be in the West Village may strike some viewers as beside the point, but to me it’s central: Lisa’s uptown and East Side trappings seem designed to contrast with Jeff’s humble abode and carefree manner, and when, late in the film, Thorwald is sent on a wild-goose chase so that Lisa can search his flat for evidence, Jeff arranges a bogus meeting with him at the Albert Hotel, a Village landmark — which suddenly makes it clear that the whole story has been set in a very distinctive location.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Backyard Ethics" Chicago Reader, 2000
Plot is not Story
Restricted and Unrestricted Narration
Narrative Flow of Information
Plot = all that is perceived
Story = plot + all that is inferred or assumed
Narrative information can be restricted (denied) or unrestricted (revealed) to characters and viewers
One can think of a story as providing a continual flow of information to characters and viewers that fluctuates from more unrestricted (omniscient) to restricted (limited perspective)
Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art
Rear Window mashup making of video
Rear Window Time Lapse
. . . a film’s point of view determines our access to and relationship with that world. An appreciation of film worlds can help us to explain why what goes unseen in a film will routinely form as large a part of our understanding of its story as what is seen. This is because it rightly places an emphasis on the continuation of an imagined world beyond the limits of what we actually see represented. In his recent work on film worlds, V.F. Perkins notes that
We are offered an assembly of bits and pieces from which to compose a world. Fragmentary representation yields an imagined solidarity and extensiveness. The malleability of the image is in a reciprocal relationship with the seamlessness and continuity that the image can evoke in our minds. Our imagination of the world is impressively independent of the means of representation.
Offscreen Space Student Assignments
offscreen space in video games
Rear Window Reimagined as Augmented Reality
Rear Window Augmented Exhibition
Rear Window Edward Hopper Mashup
Mimic 3: Sentinel (2003)