The hair, the hands, the sobbing, and the obscured milk: just a few seconds of rather ordinary—if direct and emotionally effective—film. It doesn’t hold much value out of context, but in A Short Film About Love—as in all of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s cinema—context is everything.
It delivers to its audience exactly what it needs—an openness that stays true to the soul of the film—and yet the opposite of what it craves, which is for the two to, well, ride off into the sunset together; this tension imbues the final shot with an aching duality.
In Last Days, a not-really-veiled fictional account of Kurt Cobain’s end times in an ailing country castle, Van Sant’s implicit concerns with creative ownership and the figure of the artist are finally met explicitly by the film’s subject: visionary, hermetic, drug-numbed alternative musician Blake.
What constitutes a Moment and why does Lynch continually seek it? Firstly, a Moment is the time it takes for Something to happen. For Lynch, down time cannot exist in cinema—Something must occur, whether strange, silly, sensational, sick, sexy, or sad. But never frivolous.
Though invariably praised for the intelligence of his writing, Sayles is rarely singled out for visual flair. His integrity and earnestness have caused many commentators to label his movies worthy but dull, lacking both esthetic daring and technical pizzazz.
A man in medium close-up, sweat-drenched, crying out in what might be pain. His exposed chest suggests a state of undress and, coupled with the copious beads of moisture dripping down from and flying off of his body, it doesn’t take too much of a leap before we assume the conjugal worst.
This shot announces, “Bored yet? You should be, for crying out loud!” The camera itself is bored. How can a camera even be bored, or express boredom? This movement neither matches the action (by focusing on who is speaking) nor provides a reaction shot for the party being spoken to.
A virtuoso shot, and one with more than an echo of the famous “unbroken” take craning into Susan Kane’s nightclub a mere two years previous. But Michael Powell’s willfully grandiose gesture carries far more resonance than Welles’s masterful showboating.