Is there any greater story-telling medium than cinema? Story in and of itself is so important; whether we get it from a book, from a stage or from a screen, story is the means through which we as a species can attempt to grasp the many meanings of life within a personal, emotional experience.
Of course for those who choose moving image as their preferred method of story-telling, cinema presents its own unique set of challenges, primarily in the idea that they must show and not tell. If a character is depressed, it just wouldn’t do for them to turned to another character and say “Gee, I’m really glum. I hope something comes along to challenge this status quo”. That’s just not copacetic.
No, instead, the film-maker has to figure out a way to visually convey this interior emotion. He or she might, for example, have the character sitting alone in front of the T.V popping anti-depressants or drinking heavily. To show marital discord, they might show the character stopping for an extended period in their car before entering their house.
Sometimes there are entirely different sets of problems that stem from the technicality of making a film. ‘How do we achieve this effect’ or ‘how do we get around this issue’.
To put it simply, film-making is a process of repeatedly asking yourself ‘how do I say this in an visually effective way’ and then following that up by figuring out a way to actually do it.
The following ten examples have all been lifted from those moments in cinema history; where a director has faced a challenge in story-telling and, either with the help of a crew or entirely by themselves, have defeated said challenge, and created a visually stunning, inventive shot.
So without any more down time, let’s roll camera…