Kurosawa’s High and Low

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  • #215653

      I had the great pleasure to finally watch High and Low in January, and oh my lord did it blow me away.

      Im simply obsessed over the amount of detail and care put into its blocking in the first half in the apartment. Theres just so much visual info and tension being constructed between like 6 characters in one room, yet its all perfectly legible and understandable. And its done with just the placement of the actors!

      i also deeply in love with the camera movement and those deeply expressive images in the 2nd half too! where they descend into the depths of hell (aka 60s tokyo) and the lighting and images becomes literally and figuratively darker and surreal.

      As fas as Im concerned, its one of the few movies that fully utilizes everything that the widescreen frame has to offer (although close encounters of the third kind comes in close at 2nd place imo).

      what other movies do u think use the widescreen frame to its fullest potential?

      ps-how does one learn to block cinematic drama like that anyway and where can i sign up???

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        Lawrence of Arabia includes a lot breathtaking wide shots of the landscape, and it’s at full effect when its hundreds of extras are on screen. Similarly, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon feature immaculate looking and incredible precise artwork, I love every  painterly frame of Barry Lyndon.

        But do check out Hitchcock and Fellini’s films too! Fellini’s films are visually extravagant and encompass a surreal cinematic style. And both directors move the camera superbly.

        Hope this helps!


          It’s hard to top Kurosawa for ‘scope compositions, especially of groups of people.

          Leone and Spielberg are worth studying for that, 2.35 : 1 framing, as are Lean’s movies.

          “Last Year at Marienbad”, “La Dolce Vita”.

          Nicholas Ray and Anthony Mann movies.

          Gordon Willis’ compositions in anamorphic movies such as “Klute”, “The Parallax View”, “The Paper Chase”, “Manhattan”, “Comes a Horseman”.

          In terms of a looser style of widescreen framing, there are some of Altman’s movies worth looking at such as “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “The Long Goodbye” (both shot by Zsigmond.)

          Badarinath K B

            hai master Roger, hope you are doing well. I heard you mentioned jean pierre melville movies in several interviews. could you please suggest your favourites.

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