Window’s allow spectators to both look onto a scene and look to the outside world. Either way, you are both with and with out, as a spectator we do not get to see the details. Whether it’s the reaction on a persons face, or the sounds of the bustling streets outside, we are only provided with visuals we cannot control. It’s an immobile transparent fourth wall.
Ken Loach’s Kes (1969) is an example of providing an audience with a window into a characters life. Partnered with Chris Menges cinematography, Loach was able to create a documentary style realism into a form of natural observations with the help of Barry Hines, who created a sense of everyday dialogue through out the film. As an audience member, I felt I was able to witness a very powerful coming of age story in its beautiful simplicity, but it all felt very real due to his fly on the wall style of filming.
In contrast, “Wax – California” directed by Spike Jones, creates a window into the inner workings of a child’s imagination. In one shot, we follow the movement of a man running on fire in slow motion through a street, and yet no one around him seems to care. We begin at a close up of his feet, zooming out, to see him in his entirety. We follow him through the streets until the very end of the music video, we zoom out even further only to find that it was all the imaginings of child sat behind the window of a car. It’s complex and simple use of a single shot provides an escape into a child’s imagination for both the viewer and the listener.
Frames are mobile, allowing a director to use all different techniques, such as reaction shots. It forms a constructed vision, narrative and a closed complete world of artistic intent. It also allows a director to pick up on the smaller details, providing their audience’s details that may have gone unnoticed, it subjectively expresses human experience.
It is all constructed and planned to show a specific shot. “Lucas- Lucas With the Lid Off (1994)” , is an example of this, directed by Michael Gondry. Much like Jones’ music video it is filmed in one shot. However, Gondry uses physical frames in a number of very different scenes using different props and narratives. Using an array of characters, a number of different sets in one location and different story lines, Gondry creates a music video that captures moments of everyday life. It begins with two men carrying a piano up a flight of narrow winding stairs, it then follows the singer getting out of bed out onto the streets, then a group of people in a car etc. This is all shown in a smooth motion. Moving up, down and side to side, we follow these characters in their own miniature story line.
When relating cinema to a window it becomes more relatable, especially when it’s created in a very naturalistic style, it makes it simple which can be very difficult for certain directors but it can also compliment a storyline. Cinema as a frame gives the director a lot more freedom with its mobility. There is no limitation on the length of shot, the movement, how far the director can zoom in or out and even whether if it’s in or out of focus. I think it’s important to remember that film like a window would work with particular story lines, as it provides a very natural and mundane feel to a film, in contrast to cinema like a frame.