Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Spielberg Face

I almost feel like I should let Little Earl handle this one. Here's a terrific short video on Spielberg and his dramatic use of the close-up face, with the authors going so far to say it's Spielberg's defining technique. Watch and decide for yourself.

1 comment:

Little Earl said...

Yeah, but what about the horse face?

Thanks for sharing Zrbo. Now let me rip this video apart. On the surface it might seem kind of interesting, but ultimately I thought it smacked of grad school nonsense. OK, so this guy found a bunch of clips from Spielberg movies where he's showing somebody's face. What about all the times he DOESN'T show somebody's face? Where was the "Spielberg face" in Schindler's List, for instance? I doubt Spielberg himself consciously thinks about the "Spielberg face," but I could be wrong.

At any rate, even if the "Spielberg face" is his defining technique, so what? How is knowing that going to improve my life? Wouldn't you say that the actual plots and ideas in his movies are more important than his tendency to show a certain expression on people's faces?

I get red flags whenever I hear terms like these:

"You can't think of the most iconic moments in Spielberg cinema without the Spielberg face."

Sure I can! E.T.'s big important body part is his finger, not his lousy face, etc.

"grounding it in a personal ethos"

"The film can also be seen as an interrogation of the emotional ploys Spielberg has used all throughout his career."

This is the standard "you thought this film was meaningless but I actually found the secret key that you missed" talk.

That said, I liked A.I. when it came out, I thought it was weird and ambitious, and it's probably more common now to praise it and call it "misunderstood" and "underappreciated" than it is to say it's bad.