empty film

‘’One night, when they were fifteen, they were both in New York City, and they went out for a  dinner. Plimpton ordered soft-shell crabs. A horrified River abruptly left the restaurant. When Plimpton followed him, she found him walking down Park Avenue, crying.

‘’I love you so much – why?’’ he wept. He was devastated that she was eating animals, but even more, he was deeply wounded that he hadn’t been able to convince her that veganism was the better, more moral path.

‘’I love him for that’’, Plimpton said. ‘’For his dramatic desire that we share every belief, that I be with him all the way.’’

[Excerpt from Last Night At The Viper Room by Gavin Edwards].

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The past scenes in Blue Valentine were all shot on film to achieve a more nostalgic feel, like looking back on fond memories. This also meant fewer takes as they only had a certain amount of film to shoot with, and only used one camera. This results in the couple always being in the frame together for majority of the shots. These moments are almost always accompanied by the soundtrack too. A lot of the scenes were unscripted and improvised by the actors, as the director Derek Cianfrance used various method techniques to create these moments, which is why all the scenes are hand held, adding to the spontaneous feeling of the past section of the film. 

The future/present scenes were shot with digital cameras, mostly on tripods and long lenses, creating a more distant feeling. These scenes are shot in a traditional shot, reverse shot way, meaning we don’t see the couple in the same frames anymore. The soundtrack never accompanies these moments until the end, making the future/present section of the film feel more empty. In between filming the past and present parts of the film, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams stayed in a house together for a month, encouraged by the director to pick fights and argue with each other, so when it came to filming these scenes, the arguments would feel real, tiring and repetitive. Shooting on digital also meant they had more time for more takes, which would really emphasize the worn out feeling of the dialogue exchanged, opposed to the fresher, unrehearsed performances of the past. 

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Martial artists must possess humility and selflessly serve others…. Bushido devoid of this spirit of humility is nothing more than violence.” -Shihan Ōtake Risuke

He is the master of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu -  Japan’s oldest and most traditional sword school - considered the pinnacle of classic Japanese martial arts. It was founded in the Muromachi era (1336-1573).
It is an amazing privilege that warriors can learn from centuries of unbroken Japanese tradition, and also that they have opened their doors to share with the rest of us.

The clip is from a full movie called ‘Art of the Japanese Sword’ by Empty Mind Films, that came out in 2010- available to watch on Youtube for under $5.

Thanks so much to Marc S. for sharing this with me!

can we just all appreciate river phoenix for the amazing person he was? like yes he was ridiculously attractive but let’s not forget that he was a supporter of gay rights, a feminist, passionate about animal rights and he truly believed that everyone in the world was, and could do, good. he was a beautiful spirit and soul and i’m so sad he couldn’t be here today