Opening Shots

I was thinking about opening sequences to films.

I’m not a huge fan of Tarantino film, but I love the opening sequence to Jackie Brown. It’s so good it blocks my ability to recall the opening sequence of any other film.

No, wait a minute. I really like the opening sequence to Volver too:

Strange that both involve a slow, measured movement of the camera from right to left. Since I’m normally used to my eyes moving from left to right when reading, maybe the sensation of being taken in the opposite direction is unusually attractive.

In the case of Jackie Brown, you have the sensation of moving from right to left but still staying in the same place, since the camera is fixed on Pam Grier and moves at the precise speed of the travelator.

With Volver, you have a similar sensation of moving, but whereas with Jackie Brown you feel like you are staying in the same place, here, the camera keeps returning to the same place, i.e. a row of graves getting tended, in what may be intended as an allusion to the film’s title and theme (Volver meaning ‘return’).

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March 2007

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