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His Famous Zoom (was: Viva Rossellini!)

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  • J. Mabe
    For those of us completely unfamiliar with late Rossellini (my own knowledge of his work is totally limited to what s on video - though I would make the trip
    Message 1 of 4 , May 30, 2005
      For those of us completely unfamiliar with late
      Rossellini (my own knowledge of his work is totally
      limited to what's on video - though I would make the
      trip to NY or elsewhere if that was ever corrected by
      a retrospective) could someone explain his "famous
      zoom?" What do you mean exactly? When did it first
      appear? Is it something that is used throughout his
      late work? Is there anything written about it I could
      go track down... or is there good writing on his late
      work in general?

      Josh M.



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    • Fred Camper
      There are some zooms in pre-1967 Rossellinis -- there s even one or two in Generale Della Rovere -- but starting with La Prise du Pouvoir par Louis XIV,
      Message 2 of 4 , May 30, 2005
        There are some zooms in pre-1967 Rossellinis -- there's even one or two
        in "Generale Della Rovere" -- but starting with "La Prise du Pouvoir par
        Louis XIV," Rossellini used the zoom pretty continuously. At one point
        he even had a remote control device built so that he could zoom without
        looking through the camera, during shooting. The zoom is constantly
        reframing, going to wider or closer views, and his use of it I think is
        crucial to the style and ideas of the films: it places every moment of
        them, every image, at a potential transition point between two or more
        perspectives, suggesting that at any instant there are other, and in a
        sense always "wider," possible ways of seeing the situation.
        Rossellini's late films tend to center around "pivot points" in history,
        such as the beginning of the Renaissance in "The Age of the Medici,"
        which is consistent with his way of seeing, in which whatever is
        happening is always on the brink of some momentous change.

        Fred Camper
      • Maxime Renaudin
        ... Era Notte a Roma is, I believe, the first where he widely used the zoom. For his TV films, he had to combine his remote-controlled zoom (which allows for
        Message 3 of 4 , May 31, 2005
          --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "J. Mabe" <brack_28@y...> wrote:
          > For those of us completely unfamiliar with late
          > Rossellini (my own knowledge of his work is totally
          > limited to what's on video - though I would make the
          > trip to NY or elsewhere if that was ever corrected by
          > a retrospective) could someone explain his "famous
          > zoom?" What do you mean exactly?
          > When did it first appear?

          Era Notte a Roma is, I believe, the first where he widely used the
          zoom. For his TV films, he had to combine his remote-controlled zoom
          (which allows for smooth and easy movements) with the use of "black
          projection" (not sure of the term), with mirrors (the old trick from
          Melies and others), which is used constantly. He described the whole
          thing in details in interviews published by Cahiers (French) and
          maybe elsewhere.

          He was so obsessed by this technique that he was furious to have to
          use a 'shot/reverse shot' approach in a scene of La Prise du Pouvoir
          (with Mazarin and the priest).

          A text by afb member Chris Fujiwara 'Zooming through Space'
          http://www.hermenaut.com/a18.shtml
          "Rossellini's zoom is lulling, liquid. We become immersed in the
          wash of the film"

          'Making Reality' by Tag Gallagher
          http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/04/32/rossellini_television.ht
          ml
          I notably disagree with last sentence, with the very last words...
          "Its fluid pictorial style, with its continuous reframing as
          Rossellini looks in (using a remote-controlled zoom he invented for
          this purpose), assures us of the reality of his gaze and the
          distance of the past, encourages us to look in, animate the
          characters, and bring them to life." Where is the damned life!?
        • MG4273@aol.com
          Really liked Fred Camper s analysis of Rossellini s zoom! Some of R s early films also deal with pivotal events in history, such as Paisan , which shows with
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 1, 2005
            Really liked Fred Camper's analysis of Rossellini's zoom!
            Some of R's early films also deal with pivotal events in history, such as
            "Paisan", which shows with the Allied invasion of Italy.
            I would love to be able to see more of R's later films. Oddly enough, they
            used to be screened far more often than they are today. Years ago, saw "La Prise
            du Pouvoir par Louis XIV," a great classic, and "Socrates". The Louis XIV
            film shows R's tremendous sense of logic.

            Mike Grost
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