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Tuesday, 24 January 2012


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Thanks for this. On previous viewings, I had an easy time noticing how the actors evoked sympathy in me for their claustrophobic conditions, but I hadn't consciously keyed in to how the framing and other directorial choices contributed as well. This is especially apparent in the shots you mention when they are contrasted with the shots when the crew are on land (or even simply on the surface).
I think I'll have to watch this again soon. To the Netflix queue!


I'd be curious to see what you'd say about Moon which seemes like a contemporary film which does claustrophobia well (or, at least, does a good job of portraying isolation with a strong added element of claustrophobia).

Gary Farber

Moon might be argued to be claustrophobic, but I'm also in the tiny minority of sf viewers who felt that the plot situation made no sense whatever (they need a guy to take care of a station where he doesn't know that 9/10ths doesn't exist, which is all run by an AI, but the AI can't run a rover or the parts that man is allegedly there to do -- just wtf is the protagonist THERE, someone please explain to me? -- all this can be kept a secret, the economics make no sense, and on and on).

Digressive, but the movie is so highly and widely praised (in the sf field, at least) that I'm a bit hot-buttony on it.

Sometime I'd like to see the mini-series cut of Das Boot, which runs almost five hours (293 minutes).

An outdoor showing might be nice.


I agree with you honestly -- I think it's an impressive first film with quality acting and directing but a story that doesn't really make sense.

Watching it (on DVD, well after it had received all of the hype) I found myself wondering what I would have written about it if I'd been a reviewer watching a pre-release screening. Ultimately I think I, too, would have strongly recommended it as a film to watch, despite it's obvious flaws, because it does some things so well.

I'm a bit of a Sam Rockwell fan, but I think his acting is remarkably good in the film.


On the topic of claustrophobic shots in cinema, it struck me while I watched Black Swan last year that Nina's psychological duress (or "entrapment" if you will) is mirrored visually. The camera spends a good deal of time closely tracking Nina through narrow, confined hallways, whether in her home or backstage in the theater. We also see her navigating through crowds of people in New York City. This "boxing in" underscores the psychological pressures Nina feels from her instructor, mother, perfectionism, etc.

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