Friday, October 5, 2012

He and She

My creative piece for City Lights.

City Lights

City Lights Review 

            Due to his unique sense of humor Charlie Chaplin has made a long list of many successful films and City Lights is most definitely on it. With it’s  witty, comedic moments  mixed with one’s that pull at your heartstrings Chaplin has once again made a cinematic masterpiece.  In City Lights, The Tramp, played by Chaplin himself) goes through makes new friends, causes trouble, and falls in love providing a story that all audiences would love. From the opening scene we encounter music that accompanies Chaplin on his many journeys and enhances the whole film with its genius to make funny moments even better. Chaplins use of kazoo’s during some scenes where people would talk was completely genius because it gave the audience something to listen to other than the music and he also managed to not branch out of the world of silent film.  It was once said by Chaplin himself that “There is no set rule that a close-up gives more emphasis than a long shot. A close-up is a question of feeling; in some instances a long shot can effect greater emphasis.” This technique of not conforming to the prescribed rules in cinema set City Lights apart from other films of that time. For example when he meets the girl he loves the wide shot he uses makes the situation just as powerful as any close-up could have. Chaplin’s lighting approaches were basic and practical and I believe fit the film very well because his story was so fast-paced and full of moments where dramatic lighting was not needed. When The Tramp meets his friend the millionaire the camera is static for most of the scene but it does not take away from any emotion in fact it helps us understand more of what is going on in the story at that moment. Another example of when the scene is a wide shot is during the party and wildness but because he doesn’t move from that wide shot then we are able to understand the happenings and events in this scene although it is moderately confusing.  Chaplin’s use of shots at eye-level made him film easy to understand and followable. In other films Chaplin used mainly wide or medium shots and City Lights was no exception. It seemed that Chaplin was mainly focused on the theater aspect of the film world and less on making his shots elaborate. Not to say that City Lights did not hold any beautiful scenes, in fact most of them were pleasing to the eye and a convenient space where his characters could move about freely and tell the story. For example when The Tramp brings his love to her door in his very expensive car the scene where they are saying goodbye is lovely with them both on the staircase and this creates a moment of beauty that when looked for can be found in many of Chaplin’s films. The innovative style of Charlie Chaplins is one that is hard to be recreated. His use of slapstick comedy was there but not very evident due to Chaplins own creative ways to humor an audience. I believe that it is the way his sets, lights and shots are so simplistic and yet so dynamic that really shows the obvious trademark of a Chaplin film.  City Lights success was a large one and really brought Chaplin to a place similar to absolute stardom except that it wasn’t only his many talents of acting and writing that got him there, it was the way he made his films technical, beautiful, and a very pleasant watch. Work Cited Film Art History Book