Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Q&A for "The North Sea Riviera" featured on CGWTF.com

Alan Warburton wrote a really nice review of "The North Sea Riviera" and featured it on his blog CGWTF.com.  He also asked some great questions which made me rethink back to how I conceived the film, and to the lengthy and intense production process which saw it come to life.  It's great to hear from people like Alan who enjoyed the film, and I hope my answers are in some way useful to anyone else out there trying to carve something a little bit different out of this medium we call CG.  Head on over to CGWTF.com to read the full Q&A.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Making my MA Dissertation Available Online

There was such a huge volume of work involved in compiling this that it seems silly not to make it available to others who might be interested in reading about Film Narrative Construction.  I've published my full MA Dissertation on scribd, a hefty book about how I think the writers, directors and editors involved in producing "Mirror", "Kings of the Road", "Alice in the Cities" and "Paris, Texas" went about concealing the narrative construction of the film.  I was very much into Tarkovsky and Wenders at the time and some of the shot by shot breakdowns of their work are very meticulous and there probably isn't anything similar out there.  Have a read, see what you think and by all means criticise away!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The North Sea Riviera - Festival News

My graduation film from the RCA has been ticking along nicely, getting some views at festivals here and there.  It's screening as part of Rooftop Films in New York City at some awesome venues in an amazing city, and last weekend it won the 'Jury Prize' at Kiev International Short Film Festival, which was a nice surprise!  Big thanks to all the people who supported its production, and to those who have kindly screened the film and awarded it prizes.  Here's the trailer, and a link to the film's minisite.  If you want to run a screening of the film I'd love to hear from you so give me a shout!

The guys and girls in the year below me at the RCA are coming to the end of their two year saga, and will shortly be showing their graduation films in London.  They've got a tumblr up with some great snapshots of what's to come.  Make sure to check out their show if you're in town.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Kickstarter Double Bill: Universal Air and Wrecked

A friend of mine, Henry Fletcher, has just launched a kickstarter for affordable quadcopters.  Most of the sponsorship options get you parts or the complete copter.  Though the kits he's currently selling are the bare bones versions, he's working on a version camera mounts with gimbal controls which will be ace for rebel low budget film making - keep an eye out for these in the near future...

As a small aside, I taught Henry AfterEffects and Premiere from scratch in 2 hours over the internet via TeamViewer... looks like I did a pretty good job from the video above!

It's definitely Kickstarter open season right now - another friend, Liz Ellis, who was as an EP on the Tube project back when I was an intern out at Hampshire College MA, is working on an independent CC-BY-SA licensed TV series called Wrecked:

Wrecked Season One has a beautiful animated title sequence by Lila Burns which in itself is worth checking out.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tarkovsky's Mirror, Beat by Beat, and in Chronological Order

I've spent the last three days reviewing Tarkovsky's "Mirror" (1975, Зеркало, Zerkalo) and trying to give a date to every scene in the film.  "Mirror" is notoriously difficult to follow, and even with the help of multiple references, there are still some disputed details.  It should be possible to edit the film back into chronological order using this list as a basis.  If you need to cite this page, or have any corrections or comments, please email me josh DOT wedlake AT gmail [etc].

UPDATE:  A slightly corrected and more in depth version of this is available on p.38 of my MA Dissertation, which is published online here.

Characters by Generation

The family name used in the film Nikolaevna is similar to the town where Tarkovsky's father, Arseny, was sent for execution, Nikolayev.

Maria Nikolaevna [Mariya Ivanova Vishnyakova b.1907] (the stepdaughter of Matvey Ivanov)
Alexei's father / Maria's Ex-husband [Arseny Aleksandrovich Tarkovsky b.1907]
'Aunt' Dunya Gorchakov (Maria's sister(-in-law?))
'Uncle' Pasha Gorchakov [Possibly Vladimir Vishnyakova] (Maria's brother(-in-law?))
Yelizavet Pavlovna (Maria's colleague, Lisa)
Travelling Doctor
Nadezhda Petrovna (who Maria visits for the earring sale)

Alexei [Andrei Arsenevich Tarkovsky b.1932] (Maria's son)
Marina [Marina Tarkovsky b.1934] (Alexei's brother, Marina's daughter)
Asafyev (the boy at military training with Alexei)
Alexei's wife Natalia [Irma Ya. Rausch b.1960]
The Strange Woman (who asks Ignat to read, and discusses Alexei's health with the doctor)

The Stutterer (Yuri Zhary from Kharkov, Ukraine)
Ignat [Arseny Tarkovsky b.1962] (Alexei' son)

Events in Film Order

-Scene 1, colour-
1.Ignat age 12, watches the treatment of the Stutterer on TV.
2.The Stutterer is put into a trance.
3.The Stutterer proves he is cured by saying the phrase "I can speak" loudly and clearly.

4.Opening Credits, with Bach's Das Orgelbüchlein No. 16, "Das alte Jahr vergangen ist"/"The Old Year has Passed".

-Scene 2, colour, prewar c1935, near the Dacha-
[Alexei's father has 'left' this year.  Tarkovsky's father divorced when he was a child in 1937.]
5.Maria sits on wooden fence smoking, looking out at the road which goes from Ignatievo station (platforma Ignat'evo) to Tomshino.
6.Sound of train whistle in distance.
7.The Travelling Doctor walks across the field of buckwheat towards the bush (Tarkovsky was born in the house of his mother's mother's second husband, a doctor, possibly explaining the Doctor's role; Maria's mother's husband is formally referred to as Matvey Ivanov in the film).
8.A Narrator (an older Alexei) explains that if the Doctor turns at the bush, he is likely to be 'father' (Alexei's father) as he would be heading for the house (the Dacha, which is based on Tarkovsky's grandmother's house; in the film the narrator later explains that this house is his grandmother's house where he was born).
9.The Doctor walks up to Maria and asks the way to Tomshino.
10.Maria tells the Doctor that he "shouldn't" have taken a turn at the bush - ie. he has gone the wrong way, and it is also implied that he shouldn't be at Maria's house.
11.The Doctor seems overly friendly.  He asks for a nail and a screwdriver to open his case of instruments for which he has forgotten the key.
12.Maria doesn't have any nails.
13.The Doctor asks Maria to give him her hand, and tells her that he is a doctor.
14.Maria threatens to fetch her husband (who she is in fact recently separated from).
15.The Doctor notices that Maria isn't wearing a ring, but remarks that not everyone wear rings now.
16.The Doctor asks for and receives a cigarette.
17.The Doctor looks over Maria's shoulder which prompts Maria to also look back to see Alexei (in a beige lace up light shirt and shorts) and his sister Marina (younger, shorter, wearing a light blue stiped dress) alseep in a hamock.
18.The Doctor sits on the fence next to Maria and it gives way.  Both of them fall to the ground.
19.The Doctor contrasts the calmness of the plants and the trees to human activity.
20.Maria makes reference to Chekhov's "Ward Six", hinting the Doctor is mad.  He claims he is immune to insanity.
21.The Doctor tells Maria to come to Tomshino as they have "good times" there.
22.Maria watches the Doctor leave and a gust of wind (or his own decision; this is left ambiguous) causes him to pause and turn back towards the house and Maria.
23.A different Narrator (Arseny Tarkovsky possibly as Alexei's Father) reads a poem about meeting someone (possibly Alexei's mother) and falling in love.
24.Maria moves towards the house.  Something falls from the house's window. As Maria looks back to the camera the scene cuts.

-Scene 2B, colour, prewar c1935, near the Dacha-
[A possible time lapse since the last scene as Marina is now asleep on a pile of hay in a kennel.]
25.Two young children with shaved heads, Alexei, staring just below the camera, and his sister Marina, are outside.  There are small fires out of focus behind.
26.A lady with dark hair, a dark dress and a dark top (probably Dounya) picks up the girl and follows Alexei towards the house.
27.Inside Alexei's sister Marina eats berries in cream/milk, a black cat licks spilt cream/milk, and Alexei pours a white powder, probably flour, on the black cat's head.
28.Maria is inside looking forlorn.  She sits by a window, outside of which is her ironing and the perimeter fence.
29.Maria begins to cry, presumably over her broken marriage, while the poem reaches its climax.
30.Pasha shouts for Dounya offscreen.
31.Maria tells the two children at the table, Alexei and his sister Marina that there is a fire, but they must be quiet.  A cut breaks the 180 rule, they come running.
32.Alexei and Marina watch the barn burn, shown in a reflection in a mirror hung on a door.
33.Dounya worries about Vitya (male) who she thinks might have burnt, and Klanya (named as Pasha and Dounya's six year old daughter in the script).  Pasha calls for Klanya.
34.Klanya emerges from behind the mirrored door wearing a fur coat.
35.Dounya and Pasha watch the barn burn from outside, as does nearby Maria.
36.Maria walks over to a well and tips the bucket to take a drink and wash her face.  She sits on edge of well while the man (Pasha) trots past her towards the barn.

-Scene 3, black and white dream, prewar before 1935, in the Dacha-
[Prior to Alexei's father's departure.]
37.A younger Alexei sits up in bed, walks towards the doorframe, then a dove flies past.
38.(slow motion) Maria is washing her hair with the help of her husband.
39.(slow motion) The ceiling collapses as it rains inside.
40.Maria walks past several mirrors in a shawl, then in the last of the series, she sees herself as an old woman.

-Scene 4, colour, contemporary after 1966 before 1974, 6pm in the evening, Alexei's apartment-
[Dated by the Andrei Rublev poster.]
41.Sound of a tram, a hand as if holding fire (Scene 4B), then a phone rings.
42.The camera passes a poster on the wall for Andrei Rublev.
43.Alexei answers the phone, it is his mother Maria.  Alexei has a sore throat and hasn't spoke to anyone for 3 days.  He thinks it is good to keep quiet as words can't express everything.
44.Alexei asks his mother which year his father left, the answer is 1935, the same year the barn burned down (dating Scene 2 & 2B).
45.Alexei's mother is calling to say that Lisa, who she worked with at the printers, died this morning at 7am.
46.Alexei has lost track of time and thinks it is now the morning.  His mother says it is 6pm.
47.Alexei asks his mother if they can stop fighting.  He apologises for anything he has done wrong.  Maria hangs up the phone.

-Scene 5, black and white dream, prewar (date uncertain), Printing Press in Moscow-
[Tarkovsky's mother moved to Moscow where she worked at the press in 1935.  In the script Maria is said to be in Moscow in 1943, though it is not necessarily implied that this is the period when Maria works for the press.  The Printing Press is 60km from Ignatievo station, near the Dacha, so it is unlikely that Maria is meant to commute during the years of the film in which she lives in the Dacha.  In Scene 17 Maria says that (up to) two years before she lived in Moscow, which places this scene prior to Scene 17 and after Scene 12.]
48.A tram bell rings, this is the stop for the Printing Press, and the next stop is Serpukhovskaya (in Moscow).
49.Maria is running through leaves, then it starts to rain.
50.A guard on the building who checks her entrance card/ID asks her what the rush is and she doesn't answer.
51.Maria demands the proofs from a girl who is at the desk next to hers.
52.The girl tells her to wait, and that "Yelizavet Pavlovna" (Lisa) is here.
53.(fast motion) Together the three of them walk to find the proofs.
54.The unnamed girl is crying; Lisa tells her to "shut up, you idiot".
55.(slow motion) Lisa runs ahead.
56.A man (Ivan Gavrilovic) tries to check the proofs for Lisa, but she wants to do it herself.  He comments on everyone rushing and tells the unnamed girl to go back to work and let Maria worry.
57.Maria finds the page in question and there is no error.
58.Maria walks back to her desk with the Narrator (Arseny Tarkovsky) reading a poem.  The narrator (presumably Alexei's father) was waiting for someone (presumably Maria) yesterday when there was "holiday weather"; now when they are here the weather is gloomy.
59.Back at her desk and lauging through tears she is joined by Lisa, who is smoking.  Maria whispers the misprint she had imagined: "Shralin", excrement instead of Stalin.
60.Maria and Lisa laugh, then they are joined by Ivan Gavrilovic who brings them pure alcohol and tells Maria that she looks like a scarecrow.
61.Maria says she will take a shower and asks those around her where her comb is (twice).
62.Lisa tells Maria that she reminds her of Maria Timofeyevna (Captain Lebyadkin's sister in Dostoevsky's The Devils/Demons), a woman who was always demanding things.
63.Maria doesn't know who Maria Timofeyevna was.
64.Lisa tells Maria that in her case people do as she says, and that she is amazed at the patience of Maria's ex-husband.
65.Maria gets up and goes to have a shower.  Lisa tries to follow her but Maria locks her out of the shower.
66.Lisa turns back down the corridor and utters the opening lines of Dante's Inferno, "Midway on our life's journey I found myself in a dark woods" as she skips from side to side.
67.Maria laughs and cries in the shower.

-Scene 6, colour, prewar probably 1935, near the Dacha-
[Possibly connected to Scenes 2 & 7B due to the location, the palette the fire, and the time of day.]
68.In the middle distance a fire burns in a field of buckwheat.  The camera is under telegraph poles and in the far background is the woods.  Fade to black.

-Scene 7, colour, contemporary and post divorce of Natalia and Alexei, in Alexei's apartment-
[Location confirmed in 1985 interview (Illg&Neuger,1987), possibly follows Scene 4.]
69.Natalia and her husband Alexei are arguing.  Natalia is looking in the mirror, moving her head around to examine her face.
70.Alexei says that Natalia resembles his mother, Natalia says that apparently this is why they are divorced
71.Natalia is concerned (she says "with horror") that Ignat is becomming like Alexei.

-Scene 7B, colour, prewar 1935, outside the Dacha-
[Probably immediately after Scenes 2B or 6.]
72.Dounya carries Marina inside, while Maria carries a bucket walking with the Pasha towards the house.

-Scene 7, continued-
73.Ignat appears, he has been listening in.  He is told to put the glass down.
74.Natalia tells Alexei that he seems to think his presence will make everyone happy, and that he only knows how to demand (echoing Lisa's statement to his mother).
75.Alexei claims that this is because he was brought up by women (implying without a father).  He tells Natalia to get married as soon as possible or give Ignat to him.
76.Natalia asks Alexei why he hasn't made up with his mother.
77.Alexei says it's because his mother thinks she knows how he should live best, and that he is becoming more distant from her.
[possible time lapse]
78.Ignat eats an apple and watches the Spanish tenants who live in his father's apartment.
79.Alexei asks Natalia to distract one of them who is talking about Spain again.
80.Natalia asks Alexei if Ignat can stay with him for a week as they are redecorating.
81.Natalia breathes onto the mirror and the shot cuts.

-Scene 7C, black and white archive footage, date unknown, Spain-
82.A bullfight.  This footage seems too old to be of Palomo Linares, referred to soon after, as this would date it 1965 onwards.

-Scene 7, continued-
83.Natalia, who is amused by one of the tenants acting out Palomo Linares' (a bullfighter from 1965 onwards) moves, asks another tenant what is happening.

-Scene 7D, black and white archive footage, c1936-1939, Spain-
[this is losely interspersed with Scene 7 in several sections]
84.Spanish Civil War

-Scene 7, continued-
85.One of the tenants explains that the other tenant was most excited by the farewell he was given.  He knew he may never see his mother again after he had left.
86.The daughters of the Spanish Tenants dance to flamenco music.  One of the Tenants accuses them of mocking him as he taught them to dance.
87.A Spanish woman called Louisa explains to Natalia how she can't go back to Spain as she has a Russian husband and Russian children.
88.The Spanish woman runs from the room, Natalia follows and tells her husband that she will talk to her.

-Scene 7E, black and white archive footage, c1934-1939 (possibly including 1941), Spain/USSR-
89.To flamenco music people run for cover, bombs are dropped.  Spanish civil war footage is mixed with footage of Russian children being evacuated during WWII (possibly the Moscow evacuation of 1941).
90.A stratospheric balloon journey shoing one of the "USSR-" series of balloons possibly the failed USSR-3 flight of 1937.
91.Cloudhopper balloonists attempt to untangle cables to the music Pergolesi, Stabat Mater, No 12: Quando corpus morietur fac ut animae donetur paradisi gloria / While my body here decays, may my soul Thy goodness praise, safe in Paradise with Thee!.
92.A ticker tape parade, either for May Day 1939 in Red Square (p.418,Robinson; p.34,Synessios; p.122,Johnson&Petrie), or for the aviator Valerii Chkalov’s return to Moscow after his 63-hour flight across the North Pole in 1937 (p.119,Skakov; p.46,Bird refers to 1936, the year Chkalov was made a "Hero of the Soviet Union") (sources disagree).

-Scene 8, colour, several years after 1935, location unknown-
[Alexei is now 12 years old (p.123,Martin, though evidence is not given to confirm the date), placing this scene during the war.  The room he is in, and the window he walks up to, though out of focus, doesn't resemble the interior of the Dacha as we have seen it so far.  It is possible that he is in Moscow now, prior to the evacuation mentioned in Scene 17, though the age of the book contradicts this, as in Scene 12, which is prior to the move to Moscow, when Alexei is also c12 years old.]
93.Alexei leafs through a book of Leonardo da Vinci reproductions.  He walks up to a window wearing a fur coat.

-Scene 9, colour, contemporary presumably after Scene 7, Alexei's apartment-
94.Natalia tells Ignat she is leaving.  Ignat is sat at a different windowsill to the one Alexei was at.
95.As Natalia drops her purse the music ceases.
96.Ignat helps Natalia put her posessions back in her purse, as Natalia comments how she is always in a rush.
97.Ignat says he felt a shock as if he had picked up coins before (possible reference to Stalker, or to the earrings in Scene 17).
98.Natalia leaves telling Ignat that if "Maria Nikolaevna" (Maria, Alexei's grandmother) comes, he should tell her to wait.
99.The apartment looks dilapidated in subsequent shots.  There is no time jump here as we hear the door close after Natalia.
100.Ignat is running his hands over some books.  He looks round and jumps as he sees two women, one dressed as a Maid serving a cup from a tray, the other, the Strange Woman, resembles a photograph of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1898-1966), a figure condemned and censored by the Stalinist Authorities (Tarkovsky has denied this resemblance in a 1985 interview (Illg&Neuger,1987) and instead pointed out that she is simply someone trying to tie the boy to certain cultural conditions).
101.The Strange Woman tells Ignat to come in and asks the maid for another cup.
102.The Strange Woman tells Ignat to fetch a notebook (which has handwritten pages) and read a passage aloud. He reads aloud, first a sentence in which Rousseau states that the arts and sciences have a negative effect on morals.
103.The Strange Woman then asks him to read only what is underlined.  The passage is from Pushkin's letter to Chaadayev, Oct 19, 1836, which describes how Russia survived the Tatar invasion saving Christian civilization.  Pushkin states that although he is not delighted with the present leaders of Russia, he would not wish to change his home country or have any other history.  Sunlight levels in the room vary as the seated lady listens.  Ignat leans against a wall on which hangs a photograph of Tarkovsky's real mother as a young woman.
104.The Strange Woman sends Ignat to open the door.  Maria (in her old age, as seen in the dream in Scene 3) is at the door.  She doesn't recognise Ignat and says that she has the wrong address.  Ignat doesn't recognise his grandmother either.
105.When Ignat returns to the room, the Strange Woman is no longer there, but a circle of fast evaporating steam marks remains where her cup was.
106.The phone rings, and Ignat has a conversation with father, Alexei.  Alexei asks Ignat if "Maria Niolaevna" (Maria, Alexei's mother) has arrived.
107.Ignat says no, but tells his father that an old lady came to the wrong address.
108.Alexei tells Ignat to find something to do and asks if he knows any girls.
109.Ignat says he doesn't and grins.
110.Alexei tells Ignat that during the war he was in love with a Redhead with chapped lips, a girl who was also chased by Alexei's Military Instructor, a man who suffered from shell-shock.

-Scene 10, colour, after the start of the Leningrad Blockade 1941-1944, Winter, probably near Moscow-
[Tarkovsky would have been 3 in 1935, though Alexei appears to be slightly older in Scene 2B, perhaps age 5-7 which would make him 12 in 1942-44]
111.The teenage Redhead walks away in the snow.  She is a significantly different age to both Alexei and the Instructor.  In the script she is referred to as Nina Petrovna.
112.In voiceover Alexei asks if Ignat is still listening.
113.12 year old Alexei (played by the same actor as 12 year old Ignat) watches the Redhead.
114.Rifle practice, with Purcell from The Indian Queen, Act IV, "They tell us that your mighty powers".
115.The military Instructor reprimands a boy for firing up, not at the target, risking hitting someone.
116.In the drill routine a boy called Asafyev consistently turns the wrong way in the about-turn.
117.The Instructor threatens to send the boy home to his parents.
118.Another boy reveals that Asafyev's parents died in the Leningrad Blockade.
119.Asafyev in tears removes a grenade from his bag.
120.In a confusing series of shots a hand picks up the grenade, another child pulls the pin, and another rolls down the slope and throws the grenade.  A child yells "Asafyev, don't do it" suggesting that it is Asafyev who pulls the pin though this is not entirely clear.
121.The boys drop to the ground as the Instructor throws himself down in front of the grenade and we hear his heart beat.
122.The grenade fails to go off, Asafyev reveals it was a dummy.
123.The Instructor says to Asafyev "And you say you're from Leningrad and have been under siege...".
124.The Redhead wipes blood from her split lip and stares into the camera.

-Scene 10B, black and white archive footage, during WWII, location unknown-
125.A naked man carries a wooden box down a slope to a pier which partially clothed soldiers stand on carrying weapons.
126.Soldiers fall from the pier into the river as firing is heard.

-Scene 10, continued-
127.The echo of firing rings over into this shot. Asafyev leaves the firing range and the other boys stand up.

-Scene 10C, black and white archive footage, c1943, various WWII locations-
128.Soldiers push a canon along a track.
129.The Soviet crossing of Lake Sivash in Crimea, 1943.
130.A poem is read by Arseny Tarkovsky featuring the lines "There is no death. We're all immortal ... Fear not death at seventeen, Nor at seventy...".

-Scene 11, colour, probably consecutive to Scene 10, probably near Moscow-
131.Asafyev slips as he walks up a hill which resembles a Breugel painting.
132.As Asafyev reaches the camera we see that he is whistling but has tears on his cheeks.  He stares as if he is watching the following Scene.

-Scene 11B, black and white archive footage circa, c1945-6, various locations-
133.Russian tanks in the liberation of Prague in 1945.
134.The dead 'Hitler' double is photographed (p.123,Martin).
135.Fireworks in Moscow 1945.
136.The Atomic Bomb dropping on Hiroshima (p.126,Johnson&Petrie), or possibly the explosion at Bikini Atoll in 1946.

-Scene 11, continued-
137.Asafyev stops staring and turns his back to us and walks towards the slope.
138.A bird comes to perch on his hat (after a hidden cut).

-Scene 11C, black and white archive footage, from possibly as early as c1945 to 1969, various locations-
139.Crowds carrying portraits of Mao.  Shots of statues of Mao.
140.Russian soldiers try to hold back Chinese waving red books (published 1964) on Damansky Island (Zhenbao Island) a disputed Russian/Chinese territory, 1969.  This echoes the Pushkin letter - keeping others out of Europe.

-Scene 12, colour, date unknown, in the Dacha-
[Probably after the war in 1945, certainly after Scene 9.]
141.Maria is on the floor of a dilapidated barn.  She gathers scrap wood and starts to cut it.
142.Her husband appears in a military uniform and asks where the children are.  Maria looks shocked.
143.Alexei's sister Marina threatens to tell everyone that Alexei stole the book.  Alexei and Marina quarrel, Alexei pushes Marina away leaving her to quarrel.
144.Alexei and Marina's father calls for Marina.  Marina hears but looks confused.
145.Alexei and Marina both start running towards the voice, Alexei pushing Marina out of the way.
146.Alexei has leaves his Leonardo da Vinci book behind.  It now looks more tattered than in Scene 9.
147.Alexei falls and Marina overtakes him.  They both keep running.
148.Marina watches on in tears, then turns away as Alexei and Marina are embraced by their father.  Alexei's father wears two medals, one of which could be the "Order of the Red Star" for bravery, the other could be the "Order of the Red Banner" for heroism or long service.  The insignia on his shoulder suggests that he could be a captain.  All of these details are slightly out of focus or obscured.
149.Bach's "St Matthew Passion" plays.  The bible passage is "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split".
150.The "Genevra de Benci" by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1474-1478) is shown.  Tarkovsky compares this image to the actor playing Maria (p.108,Sculpting in Time).  The portrait commemorates the wedding of a young woman who was a gifted intellectual.  She was said to be unhappy approaching her wedding.  Later in her life she went into exile because of illness and a love affair tragedy.

-Scene 13, black and white, contemporary, Alexei's apartment-
[Sometime after Scene 9, possibly later in the same day as Alexei is still waiting for Maria.  More than several days after "Aunt Lisa" died in Scene 4.]
151.Natalia tells Alexei that he should have come to visit Ignat more often.
152.Alexei asks Natalia to let Ignat live with him.  Natalia refuses, saying that this would be crazy.
153.Natalia asks Ignat if he's collected his books.
154.Alexei asks Ignat if he thinks it would be better if he lived with Alexei.
155.Ignat looks surprised, then answers negatively.
156.Natalia looks at various photographs of herself (wearing Maria's dress from her youth) with an older Maria (these were taken on set when both actors were present;  the actor representing Natalia in the photographs is dressed to represent Maria).  Natalia says that she and Maria look alike, confirming Alexei's earlier statement in Scene 7.
157.Natalia says that Maria needs Alexei to go back to being born, and that Maria just wants to be able to protect him again.
158.Alexei asks what Natalia is whimpering about.  Natalia asks if she should marry "him" (an unknown Writer called Dostoyevsky).
159.Alexei says that the Writer hasn't written anything worthwhile, and at age 40 this shows he has no talent.
160.Alexei points out that their precious flunk (Ignat, who is failing at school) has put something on the fire.
161.Natalia tells Alexei not to joke about Ignat's flunking.
162.Alexei warns that Ignat will end up being drafted, then Natalia will have to beg to have him exempted.
163.Alexei says that Ignat's behaviour is the result of Natalia indulging him, and that he thinks that the army would be good for Ignat.
164.Natalia tells Alexei to call his mother Maria, and reminds him that she stayed in bed for three days after "Aunt" Lisa died.  Maria was meant to be "here" at 5.
165.Alexei tries to change the conversation back to Ignat.  Alexei criticises how bourgeoise the family has become.
166.Ignat is shown to be burning a bush.  Natalia asks who set the bush on fire in the Bible and suggests sending Ignat to a cadet school.
167.Alexei responds that an angel appeared to Moses as a flaming bush, who then lead his people out across the sea.
168.Natalia asks why nothing like that has ever happened to her.

-Scene 14, black and white dream, date unknown, near the Dacha-
[Probably a precursor to Scene 16.]
169.(slow motion) Cut-away to wind blowing the trees.

-Scene 15, colour, c1935, the Dacha-
[Possibly prior to Scene 2B/2.]
170.The edge of the woods outside the Grandmother's Dacha.
171.Inside Dounya, wearing a shawl, looks at her reflection in a mirror, the older boy takes a lamp from the ceiling and Alexei sits on the mat.  The black cat is on the windowsill.
171.A Narrator (Alexei) describes a dream about the Dacha where he was born on the table 40 years ago.  In the dream something prevents him from entering the Dacha each time he visits it.
172.The Narrator (Alexei) describes the log walls and dark pantry, and the sadness he feels when he realises it is only a dream.
173.The camera follows Maria around the house.  Outside the Klanya fills a glass bottle with water from a much larger bottle.
174.The Narrator (Alexei) describes how, when his dream ends, he must wait for another dream that will make him a child again, so that he can be happy and know that "all still lies ahead... and nothing is impossible".
175.Maria walks outside to sit with the Dounya.
176.Inside, in near total darkness, Alexei lights a match.

-Scene 16, black and white dream, c1935, the Dacha-
[Contains recurring imagery from Scene 14.  Alexei's age is as in Scene 2B.]
177.A vase on a table contains what looks like the inner workings of a clock.  Next to the vase is a half-open knife.  Cut lace curtains dangle next to it, though the table appears to be outside.
178.Alexei walks by and the camera follows him walking towards the house, past a table (which is familar from Scene 3, though possibly relocated).
179.The camera pans past Alexei and zooms in on the house.  Alexei calls out "Mama".
180.Alexei stands next to an opening door, and a hand appears from offscreen to catch the door.
181.(slow motion) A hen smashes through a glass window pane.
182.(slow motion) The trees blow in the wind again (linking this to Scene 14).  Wind blows a lamp off a table.
183.(slow motion) Back at the house a sheet flaps violently in the wind and Alexei runs towards the house looking back at the camera which shakes as if it is a point of view shot.
184.(slow motion) Alexei disappears behind the house and rain falls through the trees.
185.(slow motion) Alexei tries a door which will not open.  He walks away.  After some time the door falls open revealing Maria peeling potatoes and a brightly lit dog, which walks out the door and out of shot.

-Scene 17, colour, wartime, in the countryside 15 miles from Yurievets-
[Probably some time later than Scene 11 as Alexei is now 15 (acted by Philip Yankovsky), and two years after Maria and her children have been evacuated from Moscow.]
186.A farm with a charred log outside.  It is evening and there is a low mist behind the house.
187.A woman walks out of the farm scaring Alexei who is outside.  She throws out the contents of a large dish which look like milk.
188.Alexei runs to fetch his mother Maria.
189.Alexei and Maria meet Nadezhda Petrovna.  A cut breaks the 180 degree rule as she doesn't recognise them.
190.Nadezhda's husband was friends with Matvey Ivanov, who is Maria's stepfather.
191.Maria states that they are from Moscow but have been living in a room in Yurievets since they were evacuated last fall.  It starts to rain.
192.They move under shelter.  Nadezhda says that her husband is not here.
193.Maria says that actually she came to see Nadezhda and that it is about "a little ladies secret". Nadezhda leads Maria and Alexei into a well lit room asking them to wipe their feet as Masha has just wiped the floor.
194.Maria drops her Earrings, (possibly due to embarassment as Nadezhda's family is significantly wealthier; Maria is presumably selling the earring for food) echoing Natalia dropping her coins.  We see that Alexei is barefoot.
195.Nadezhda tells Alexei to wait in the room as they won't be long.  Maria and Nadezhda proceed to another room.
196.Milk drips down from a table past half peeled potatoes.
197.Alexei adjusts his hair and shirt in a mirror on the wall.  He then stares at his reflection for a considerable length of time while music plays.

-Scene 17B, colour dream, wartime, location unknown-
198.Cut-away to a mirror resting on charred wood in a fire.  A face is staring into the mirror.
199.A hand closes a mirrored door revealing a man in a fur coat standing in front of the Redhead girl who Alexei was in love with.
200.The man leaves and the Redhead appears to look up at Alexei.
201.The Redhead appears to be holding the mirror in front of her towards the fire.  She looks into the camera again.
202.The camera swings to one side and the wipe cuts to a hand with burning firewood behind.

-Scene 17, continued-
203.Alexei is awoken from this dream as the lamp flutters on and off several times, then goes out leaving him in the dark.
204.Nadezhda tries on Maria's turquoise Earrings in the room with Maria.
205.Nadezhda walks back into the room where Alexei is sitting and asks why he is in the dark.
206.Maria helps Nadezhda relight the lamp.
207.Nadezhda explains that she also has a son, and says that it's not easy having kids with the war on.
208.Nadezhda checks her new Earrings in the mirror, then invites Maria to come to see her sleeping baby boy.
209.A shot of the baby's cot with netting draped over it.
210.Nadezhda talks about the child's mental development.  She says his father wanted a girl and they expected and prepared for a girl.
211.Maria smooths down Alexei's hair.  She looks bored by Nadezhda's continual talking.
212.Nadezhda wakes up her child with her talking.
213.Maria runs from the room holding her throat looking sick.
214.Nadezhda follows and asks what's wrong, offering to make a hot drink.
215.Nadezhda says that they must stay for dinner.
216.Maria says they have already eaten.
217.Nadezhda says that they should stay so that her husband (a doctor) can examine Alexei, who has a cough which Nadezhda doesn't like.
218.Maria says that they can't wait as they have a 2 hour walk to make.  Nadezhda says that her husband has the money for the Earrings so they will have to wait.
219.Nadezhda asks Maria to slaughter the cock as she (Nadezhda) is pregnant and having fits of sickness.
220.Maria tells Nadezhda that has never done this before.
221.Nadezhda says that tomorrow she will give Maria a chicken to take as well (charity).  Nadezhda says that the slaughtering will happen in the room they are in.
222.Maria looks worried.  In response Nadezhda suggests Alexei do it as he's a "man".
223.Maria holds the cock and the axe.
224.Nadezhda says that she feels unwell, then feathers burst in from out of shot as Maria slaughters the cock.
225.Maria looks strangely triumphant echoing a Da Vinci painting, then the expression changes to be sinister and angry.

-Scene 17C, black and white dream, probably before Maria's husband's departure, location unknown-
226.Maria's husband stares at the camera, as if looking back at Maria in Scene 17.  He is topless.
227.Maria's husband turns round to stroke his hand which rests on a body, which is revealed to be a levitating Maria.
228.Maria (as a voice over) says to her husband that she wishes she could see him not only when she feels unwell.
229.Maria's tells her husband not to be worried and that she loves him.

-Scene 17, continued-
230.Maria and Alexei leave the house in a hurry.
231.Nadezhda asks about the Earring sale.
232.Maria says that they have changed their minds.
233.Nadezhda objects warning them that it is a 15 mile walk back into town.
234.Maria and Alexei leave anyway, and walk along the river as the Narrator (Arseny Tarkovsky) reads a poem about the embodiment of the soul.

-Scene 18, black and white dream, c1935, the Dacha-
[Thematically continuing Scene 16.]
235.(slow motion) The wind blows the trees in the wood surrounding the Dacha.  The camera pans across the garden to a table where a lamp which has already fallen is rolling over edge (as in Scene 16).  The poem continues.
236.(slow motion) Alexei enters into the house which is dark inside and full of hanging curtains and sheets.
237.(slow motion) Alexei looks into a mirror holding a large glass bottle of milk.  He starts to drink from the bottle.

-Scene 19, colour, c1935, near the Dacha-
[In the original script carrying clothes back to the house happens before the barn fire, but the stepping stones and washing is the closing scene.]
238.Alexei swims across a river late one evening.
239.Maria is waching clothes in a tub as an undressed Marina hops over some stepping stones or logs.

-Scene 20, colour dream, c1935, the Dacha-
240.On a new day in the Dacha it is sunny.  Outside Alexei walks towards Maria (as an old woman) and says to her, "Mom, the kerosene stove is smoking."
250.Maria asks "what?" as she glances round, quickly turning back and looking disinterested, staying seated and still smoking.  In the script Tarkovsky states that this is a dream in which he wanted to apologise to his mother.

-Scene 21, colour, last of the postwar scenes, location unknown-
251.A Doctor walks up and down his room, which has one wall covered in mirrors, as Maria (in her old age) knits and a Strange Woman facing away from the camera sits and ask about "his" (Alexei's) condition.
252.The Strange Woman says that she didn't know a sore throat could have such a bad effect.
253.The Doctor says that this has nothing to do with the sore throat, and often when someone's mother dies this happens.
254.The Strange Woman says that noone has died in his family.
255.The Doctor replies that it could be due to his conscience or memory.
256.The Strange Woman turns to reveal herself to be the same woman who asked Ignat to read the Pushkin letter in Scene 9.  She asks if the Doctor thinks Alexei is guilty of something.
257.Maria looks up and jumps in with the answer "he [the Doctor] thinks so".
258.Alexei's voice cuts in with "Leave me alone", then a cut reveals a man (presumably Alexei) lying in bed.
259.A voice asks Alexei what will happen to his mother (Maria) if he doesn't get up.
260.Alexei's hand picks up a tiny bird which is on his bedsheets.  Alexei replies that it's nothing, and everything will be alright.
261.(slow motion) Alexei throws the tiny bird up into the air and it starts to fly.

-Scene 22, colour, pre-1935, near the Dacha-
[Before Maria's first child is born.]
262.A long pan across the buckwheat field reveals the dacha, then a tilt down shows Maria and her husband lying in the meadow.  Her husband asks if she would rather have a boy or a girl.
263.Maria smiles, then she starts crying, as the music Bach's "St John Passion" fades in: "Lord, our Sovereign, whose glory in every land is magnificent!"  She looks towards where her house would be.

-Scene 22B, colour dream, children c1935, Maria c1966-c1974, near the Dacha-
[Possibly Marina's vision of herself in the future, after Scene 20.]
264.To Bach's "St John Passion" Maria (as an old woman) walks back to the house with a basket of washing and Alexei and Marina nearby.
265.They stop when they get to where the house should be.  There are only ruins and rotting wood.
266.Maria takes Marina by the hand and they walk off with Alexei.

-Scene 22, continued-
267.Maria looks back, as if she has just seen the vision of Scene 22.  She smiles and cries at the same time.

-Scene 22B, continue-
268.Maria as an old woman leads Marina and Alexei across the field away from the house as Maria (as a young woman) stands in the middle of the field watching them leave.


Tarkovsky's Life

  • 1932 Andrei was born in the Ivanov district of Russia.
  • 1934 Andrei's sister Marina was born.
  • 1935 The Tarkovsky family to Moscow.  Andrei's Mother joined the press (in Mirror's script the family is said to live in Moscow in 1943).
  • 1937 Andrei's father Arseny left the family (in Mirror this happens in 1935).
  • 1939 Andrei started school.
  • 1941 Andrei was evacuated from Moscow.

Possible Chronological Order of Scenes in Mirror

Scene numbers refer to those given above.

Before the birth of Alexei and Marina, or possibly just Marina, c1930.
22 - Maria and her husband lie in the grass together.

Dreams of life before Maria's husband's departure.  Alexei <c5 years old, c1934.
3 - Alexei's father helping his mother Maria to wash her hair.
17C - Maria wishing to see her husband not only when she felt unwell.

Life after Maria's husband's departure.  Alexei c5 years old, 1935.
19 - Washing clothes in the river.
2 - The Travelling Doctor's visit.
2B - The barn fire.
6 - The burning field.
7B - Dounya carries Marina inside.

Dreams about life after Maria's husband's departure.  Alexei c5 years old, c1935.
14 - Blowing trees, as in Scene 16.
15- Narration describing Alexei's bad dream about the Dacha.  A sunny day in the Dacha without Alexei's father.
16 - Alexei's bad dream about the Dacha.
18 - Alexei's bad dream about the Dacha.
20 - The kerosene stove dream, with the older Marina.
22B - Marina's ruined house dream.

Wartime Archive Footage, c1934-1939/41.
7C - The Bullfight.
7D - The Spanish Civil War.
7E - Russian Evacuations.

Wartime, Alexei c12 years old, c1942.
8 - Alexei reads an undamaged Leonardo book.
10 - The Redhead, Alexei and Asafyev at the firing range.
11 - Asafyev walking up the hill.
12 - Alexei's father returns to the Dacha.

After moving to Moscow. Alexei c13 years old, c1943.
5 - Maria at the Printing Press.

Wartime Archive Footage.
10B - Soldiers and Pier.
10C - Lake Sivash c1943.
11B - WWII c1945-6.

After evacuating Moscow. Alexei c15 years old, c1945.
17 - Selling the Earrings.
4B - The Burning Hand.
17B - Alexei's dream of the Redhead.

1966 or later. Ignat c12 years old.
1 - Ignat watching the Stutterer.
4 - Alexei on the phone to Maria; Lisa has died.

At least 4 days later.
7 - Alexei and Natalia arguing.  The Spanish Tenants.
9 - Alexei and Natalia arguing.  Ignat and the Strange Woman.
13 - Alexei and Natalia arguing.  Ignat burning the bush.
21 - The Doctor and Alexei's death.


Inconsistencies found between sources have been corrected or noted.
As an aside, the section in beauty in everyday occurrences in this review also made me laugh.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Pulp Fiction: In Chronological Order

Part of the research I'm doing for my dissertation involves looking at the structure of well-known narrative based films.  Here's one bit of data I processed today - Pulp Fiction in chronological order:

Acts from the Film

1. Prologue—The Diner (i)
2. Prelude to "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
3. "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife"
4a. Prelude to "The Gold Watch" flashback
4b. Prelude to "The Gold Watch" present
5. "The Gold Watch"
6. "The Bonnie Situation"
7. Epilogue—The Diner (ii)

(from wikipedia)

Chronological Event Order

-Act 4a-
1.Butch's great grandfather bought the gold watch and wore it in WWI
2.Butch's grandfather wore the watch in in WWII
3.Winocki delivered the watch to Butch's father
4.Butch's father hid the watch in Vietnam
5.Koons hid the watch in Vietnam
6.20-30 years before the start of the film: Koons delivered the watch to Butch

-Act 2-
[7.Recently before the start of the film: Vincent visits Europe]
8.Morning: Vincent tells Jules about Europe
9.Vincent tells Jules he will be escorting Marsellus Wallace's wife
10.Jules executes Brett
11.A man bursts out of the bathroom at Brett's house shooting at Vincent and Jules but misses
12.Jules and Vincent return fire surviving
13.Jules decides that not being killed was a miracle

-Act 6-
14.Vincent accidentally kills his informant Marvin
15.Jules calls Jimmie for help and heads to his house
16.Jimmie calls Winston Wolf who helps dispose of the car
17.Jules and Vincent head to breakfast

-Act 1/Act 7-
18.Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a coffee shop as Pumpkin and Honey Bunny plot to rob the diner and its customers
19.Vincent goes to the bathroom
20.Pumpkin and Honey Bunny hold up the diner
21.Pumpkin and Honey Bunny demand Jules' briefcase
22.Jules points his gun at Pumpkin, Honey Bunny points hers at Jules
23.Vincent emerges and points his gun at Honey Bunny
24.Jules delivers his sermon and Honey Bunny and Pumpkin leave
25.Jules and Vincent leave

-Act 3-
26.Butch accepts money from Marsellus to lose a fight.  Later Butch bets his payoff on him winning
27.Vincent and Jules deliver the briefcase
28.Later: Vincent buys heroin
29.Vincent shoots up and travels to Mia's house
30.Vincent and Mia go to Jack Rabbit Slim's
31.Mia overdoses
32.Lance and Vincent revive Mia
33.Mia and Vincent agree not to tell Marsellus about the event

-Act 4b-
34.Butch begins the fight he has been paid to lose

-Act 5-
35.Butch flees the arena after winning
36.Esmarelda tells Butch that he killed his opponent
37.Butch and Fabienne lie low
38.The next day: Butch discovers he has forgotten his Gold Watch
39.Butch returns to retrieve his Gold Watch
40.Butch kills Vincent Vega (who is waiting to kill Butch) as he exits the bathroom
41.Butch drives away but encounters Marsellus Wallace
42.A foot chase ensues and both end up in a pawnshop and are held at gunpoint by Maynard
43.Maynard takes Marsellus to be raped, and the gimp watches Butch
44.Butch breaks free killing Maynard and shooting Zed in the groin freeing Marsellus
45.Marsellus informs Butch that they are even, given some conditions
46.Butch returns to pick up Fabienne

Monday, 17 September 2012

How to Get Data from LibreOffice Base to MySQL on Windows

This is a slightly off topic post but I spent most of yesterday wrestling with LibreOffice Base (like OpenOffice) trying to get my research data out of it into a format I could generate reports from.  The Report Builder for which comes with LibreOffice isn't really much good unless you fancy learning LibreOffice BASIC, and I needed to be able to customise how my data looked.  The database is a collection of shot by shot comments and analysis for a few films I'm studying for my dissertation - notably the two Wim Wenders classics, "Paris, Texas" and "Kings of the Road".

I used Base because I could easily design a simple form and flick between records.  In retrospect I should have used MySQL and PHP from the start and coded all my forms in PHP.  After several failed attempt the way which I found which worked was.

  1. Download WAMP server.  Make sure you get a version which has MySQL 5.1, not the latest 5.5.  You can simply download the latest WAMP if you wish, then click the icon in the system tray, choose 'MySQL' then 'Version', then get more.
  2. Check the WAMP is fired up and running the right version:  click the icon in the system tray, choose 'MySQL' then 'Version', then 5.1.xx.
  3. Install a MySQL to ODBC connector which speaks to version 5.1 (here).
  4. Add a database to MySQL (however you wish, but the easy way is with phpMyAdmin from the WAMP system tray icon.  Make sure you set up the access permissions for a user name.
  5. Add a connection to the database in the Data Sources list in the Windows Control Panel > Administrative Tools (more instructions here).  The port number is probably 3306 if you haven't touched anything.
  6. Create a new database in LibreOffice Base which connects to the ODBC source by clicking File > New > Connect to an Existing Database > choose MySQL from the dropdown, then click Next.  Choose 'Connect using ODBC' click Next, then browse for the data source you just added in Data Sources in step 5.
  7. Finally you can copy your table from your original LibreOffice Base file and paste it into the new file which is linked to MySQL via ODBC.  You'll probably have to convert some data types along the way and rename some fields if the names are too long or use forbidden characters.  LibreOffice will ask you about this if you need to do it.
That took me a good few hours to work out yesterday, so I hope that it helps anyone else who has entered a huge amount of data into LibreOffice Base only to discover they need to get it out again.  I couldn't export to text, or do the copy and paste into a LibreOffice Calc sheet as I had binary data which made the text file too large to be uploaded again into MySQL.

Now on with the research!