LANG, GODARD, AND BRESSON: 3 APPROACHES TO SHOOTING
I took this photo after I finished writing 24 Frames Lalla and my room was a complete mess.
24 Frames Lalla is a 30 page short film. It will be shot Feb 2022 and will be a 9 day shoot. I wrote the screenplay between June 2020-November 2021. The film is about a suicidal artist who makes a film alone during the Covid-19 lockdown.
There's an amazing interview on the criterion channel between Fritz Lang and Jean Luc Godard. In the interview you learn that Lang has a very preplanned approach to shooting that sounds similar to how Hitchcock worked. Lang knows exactly how he will shoot the scene before he walks onto the location. Godard, on the other hand, doesn’t know how he will shoot the scene at all. He figures it out once he's on set.
In the interview, Lang is very concerned and asks Godard why he does this. Godard points out that he doesn’t work with studio sets and often sees a location on the day he arrives to shoot. There isn’t a designer to build him a office. He has to find the office and the space informs the shot. Whereas for Lang, the shot informs the location.
Robert Bresson is a mix of the two. Robert Bresson storyboards, plans his shots, but he still insists on creating the shot once he arrives to the location because for Bresson he wants the shot to be created in the moment so that the audience is watching a creation unfold.
"It's not that I haven’t thought about the film. I already have made a storyboard. A plan on paper. I shut myself up all alone to do this, and in my mind, I make the film. After that, I leave the storyboard aside. I don’t look at it again and I shoot the film. There’s an enormous gulf between the film as it is on paper and the real film. They’re not the same thing at all. It’s surprise how different the celluloid and paper versions are. It has to be a surprise and I want it to be total. You have to come face to face with the new. That’s very important to me novelty and nature. Not the natural. Nature. I want moments like that to create something within me. And what is created is what I want to commit to film. I always want that to be something new. I have great faith in beauty but beauty is only beauty when it is new.”
I like Bresson's passage above because it points out how you need both prep and improvisation. I think there is not one set way to make a film and that stories need different approaches but for 24 Frames Lallla my approach will be Bresson’s because that's what fits the style of the film best.