Maggots and food experimentation and problem solving

During my project I have been keeping a smaller sketchbook inspired by Tracey Emin’s book ‘One Thousand Drawings’ where I forced myself to draw memories as quickly as possible in order to keep them unrefined and raw. When flicking through this sketchbook for inspiration I came across a drawing that included the sentence: ‘THERE ARE MAGGOTS IN MY BRAIN/ EVERY TIME I THINK OF FOOD/ I AM ROTTING AWAY.’ This led me to start filming with maggots, as well as inspiration from the boat scene in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory’ where we see a centipede crawling over a mans face, which is something I found particularly disturbing. Inspired by the fluid scene changes in ‘Enter the Void’ and the constant use of zooming in and out, I decided to try and make short piece of footage which zoomed into something pleasant and then zoomed out of something that looked similar but was actually maggots. I wanted to do this with food because the idea of having maggots in my mouth makes me feel physically sick and can completely put me off food, which I think will be the same with the majority of people. So I set up a plate of spaghetti bolognaise and zoomed into it so that the shot was completely obscured, and the set up spaghetti in the same bowl at the same angle but instead of bolognaise I seasoned the spaghetti with maggots and took several shots zooming out of this set up. I then used Adobe Premiere pro to put these two shots together, the problem I faced with this was that the bolognaise was much darker than the maggots when both shots where completely zoomed in. This caused problems for me because when I put both of the clips next to each other on the timeline, when watching it through, it went from the brown hues of the Bolognese to a flash oh white, which made it obvious that the clips had been cut and changed. This was a problem because to make this footage work the two clips needed to integrate seamlessly so that the audience would assume that the clip was about to zoom out again onto the bolognaise, so that the juxtaposition of the maggots was much more shocking. I tried many different ways of solving this, firstly I tried re filming the zoomed in bolognaise shot to see if I could focus the camera on spaghetti instead to make the change seem less obvious, this still didn’t work because there was still an obvious change of shots when watching it back through. Next I tried turning the opacity of the bolognaise shot down at the end and at the beginning of the zooming out footage of the maggots on the spaghetti so that the footage would go completely dark when the shots where changing. Although this got rid of the flashing problem between the two scenes, this made the audience suspect that there was going to be a change of footage as it seemed like a proper cut, whereas I wanted the audience to be constantly looking at the texture and assuming the shot was staying the same. Next I tried using the ‘change to colour’ tool to try and get the bright whites in the second shot to match the colours in the first, but this only made the second clip go a strange colour and took it further away from merging fluidly with the first shot. I then watched a Youtube tutorial which showed me how to overlap films, so I turned down the opacity where the clips would overlap and then merged them together by placing one over the other. This worked perfectly and I finally had the outcome that I was aiming for, as the two clips merged fluidly so to an unsuspecting eye it does not seem that the footage is changing at all. This clip is to show the different perspectives of someone living with a mental illness and someone who is not, as it is meant to demonstrate how everyday situations such as sitting at a table to eat a meal can be a struggle for people who suffer from a mental illness.

Enter the void analysis

This film had an interesting plot, but it is more the bizarre visuals, use of perspective and unique camera angles that inspired me most. In particular the cuts that Noe uses throughout the film, which transports the audience via light display or what appears to be Tokyo’s electric system to the next scene instead of blacking in and out. I think if I do experimenting with making films with multiple cuts I should find more interesting ways of linking shots that will add to the viewers anticipation and anxiety. One change of scene that I thought was particularly well done takes place when we are following the backs of the two main characters who are on a rollercoaster, as an audience we get the sensation of being hurtled forward by the ride with all the noises and lights that you would expect to hear and see flashing past you. Once the rollercoaster goes into a tunnel the fairground audio fades slightly and we begin to see a light that we assume to be the end of the tunnel, but as we get closer we realize that it is actually an oncoming car and we are moving at full speed towards it, all of a sudden we find ourselves in the midst of a fatal car crash. The way in which the camera is continuously moving forward at such high speed until this point is effectively what makes this transition so smooth and shocking, helped by the way in which Noe has chosen very similar colour palettes for both scenes. This idea of transforming something pleasant to something disturbing very quickly is something I’d like to experiment with as I think this use of shock would be an effective way of creating anxiety in my audience. Another transition technique that I want to experiment with which takes place when the two main characters are talking and the camera blurs slightly and when the camera restores focus the female lead is carrying on the exact same dialogue and stood in the exact same position with the same costume but the rest of their surroundings have changed. As this is from the lead males memory we can interpret that this is him being unclear about the location of the memory, but I think that this technique of setting up to similar shots but with changes that confuse you as to what you where expecting to see. The hallucinogenic sequences that Noe also chose in transitions between shots were also something that I’d like to experiment with, possibly in a kaleidoscope format but with everyday objects to reiterate the idea that everyday situations, however familiar can seem scary and confusing from the perspective of someone living with a mental illness. Another technique I felt was worth noting was used in the beginning of the film when we are in the perspective of the male lead in such a literal sense that we even experience his blinks. In an article I read in the guardian, the writer described how as he was watching this part he noticed that his blinks where in the same rhythm as the characters. This idea of being able to physically effect the viewer by influencing their basic human need to blink is something I’d love to be able to recreate, as it shows the complete subconscious control that a mental illness can have which turns into a physical action (in this case the viewers blinking, in the metaphoric sense self harm or loosing motivation).