Friday, July 20, 2012

The Explanation in Cinema: Third Example

We are now ready for our third example of this extraordinary technique in cinema, one which has eluded nearly all modern filmmakers because of its challenging technique and sophisticated requirements, which will be detailed in a later post.

I realize now that I will need many more than just three examples in order to illustrate the power and originality of this idea to the modern filmgoing audience, who unfortunately, have rarely seen anything like this in modern films.

In this scene, from Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers (Group Captain Lionel Mandrake) is confronting General Jack Ripper who has sent his Strategic Air Command Wing to attack Russia and force the US and the USSR into nuclear war.  We begin the scene and the conversation in media res with Mandrake locked in a room with General Ripper.  

I have cut this important scene down to the very minimum to illustrate the key idea.


Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war ?


No, I don't think I do, sir, no.


He said that war was too important to be left to the generals.  When 
he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right.  But today,
war is too important to be left to the politicians.   They have neither 
the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought.

I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist 
indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist
conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.  

The careful reader will no doubt be able to deduce the ideas that lie behind all three scenes.

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