Thursday, July 17, 2008

framing for convention

i notice as i look at the still of Christina Hendricks, in my earlier post (i'll just reproduce it, above) some curious troubling interesting (i can't find the right words) design moves at work.

i have been so delighted to see "actual women" on Mad Men (oops, this is not to say that superthin actresses are to be slighted, still ...) that i hadn't realized the extent to which the frame has been designed so that Ms. Hendricks is proporitioned in a way that approximates "smaller" or maybe "more linear." i mean, that's sort of okay, i suppose, for although i enjoy my curves, as many of us do, i want to look lovely in a picture, and, well, in filmic terms, lovely = at least a little bit thinner (regrettably, but there you go. and here, i have to note that this is the message Ms. Hendricks' character, Joan, keeps imparting to sad little Peggy). and we could say that it's simple rule of thirds-type design, but how this frame operates seems worth noting.

so but notice the elements, the downscaling effects of the multi-framed window in the background, the fan, which is very interesting in terms of how that shape operates to sort of parallel (counterbalance?) Ms. Hendricks' curves. and then, the frame is sort of rendered more vertical, more, um, "slender" with the inclusion of the shadowy left side of the frame.

i want to say that none of these design moves are necessary, but despite the celebration of a womanly silhouette, it's still a filmic image, and conventions are conventions. i could lament the equation, smaller = better, all day, but then, i recall that when i was making my short film remove to dispense, i wound up in a directorial dilemma when a shot of my own relatively large (by film standards) hand (which Mike calls "tiny") looked enormous, and i had a very petite-to-worrisomely thin girl put her delicate hand in the frame, instead. and it was, um, better. so. ??

p.s.: why, oh why, does Peggy have to get fat as a consequence of being smart? i get it, but it wish i didn't. i wish ... i don't know, there is something both right and very wrong about that plot move. also, that Don goes to Rachel after Sterling's coronary? weak. too bad. still, i'm hoping for more slobberingly fabulous spectation, later today.

1 comment:

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

and oh yes i realize that Peggy could be preggers, but it does seem they're going for "fat" over pregnant (i mean, the prosthetic chin?! yipes. poor Elizabeth Moss!).

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

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