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Behind the Scenes Assignment # 1 for COM 275: The Art of Film
This assignment asked me to watch a film with the commentary on and discuss what I learned. The film I chose to watch and discuss is in my opinion, one of the most disturbing movies ever made. 'The Devils Rejects' by musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie, who also wrote and directed the film. The film was released in 2004 and has a running time of 109 minutes.
My main reason for choosing 'The Devils Rejects' is because of the effect it has on you upon viewing. This disturbing film has excessive violence and the goriness leaves you with a feeling of being both dirty and also exhilarated.
Rob Zombie of course does the commentary and it is very good. He not only discusses the technical and storytelling challenges, but also presents his thesis for the movie and discusses why some scenes were included while others were excluded.
Zombie initially seems unpracticed at this type of thing, verbally running after his film, but after about ten minutes he finds a nice rhythm. Once he finds his groove, he produces all kinds of information though some seems somewhat unneeded. For example, there is a scene early in the film in which a naked, dead women is being dragged in the woods, Zombie feels the need to articulate that the women is wearing a rubber piece protecting her vagina to avoid?crap going inside her?. In what could be called a flaw, once Rob Zombie gets going he rarely lets up. Don't expect to to hear much dialogue while watching the commentary feature on this film.
There is an amazing shootout scene which opens up the film. Zombie informs us that he never used the same camera shot twice.
Rob also points out the few places in which he used CGI. He also marvels at the difficulty of creating a realistic skin mask because ?once you cut the eyes out it just doesn't look real?.
Music was integral to the film and Rob's love of music comes out when he discusses why he chose certain songs to convey the mood for a scene and film as a whole. One of the songs he discusses 'Midnight Rider', underlines an entire scene and creates a musical montage at the beginning of the film. The song sets the moody, kinetic, violent tone of the film. Rob suggests that he chooses songs as a cleanser for your palette in order to set the mood for each scene while in keeping with the super objective of the overall film.
The director clearly appreciates his crew and takes every opportunity to point out their fine work. He also makes jokes about the actors and points out repeatedly that one of the actresses in the film, Sophia Moon happens to be his wife.
While watching the film with the commentary on, I longed for the actual experience of watching the film however it did make me appreciate the hard work of the cast, crew and filmmaker of the film and their work. It never ceases to amaze me all the hard work that goes into making a film.
When I watched the film for the first time without commentary, I found it rather derivative and not very interesting to someone other than an avid horror film fan. After watching it with the commentary turned on, then re-watching it without the commentary, my opinion of the film changed. Now I find 'The Devils Rejects' taut, violent and scary satire that doesn't let up.
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