Citizen Kane and a Saint

16 Feb

My film must have a potent and expressive opening shot.  This was made very clear to me by my friend, Thomas Ethan Harris, a film consultant and instructor.  At his most recent film seminar, “Creating a More Visually Comprehensive Cinema,” Thomas  stressed the importance of a film’s opening shot.

To illustrate his point, Thomas showed the opening shot of Citizen Kane (1941), directed by Orson Welles.  It instantly evokes the danger, mystery, and resistance embodied by the main character and the film itself.

Follow-My-Film-Directing-001

The opening shot of the film Citizen Kane (1941), directed by Orson Welles.

Below are two of my favorite opening shots.  First, Sofia Coppola opens Lost in Translation (2003) with a static shot of a woman’s behind.  Be assured, this is much more than a sexually charged image; Ms. Coppola is an intelligent filmmaker, hence, careful not to objectify female characters.

The opening shot of film Lost in Translation (2003), directed by Sofia Coppola.

This shot is about guarded intimacy.  We see the woman’s backside in a dimply lit room.  Her undergarment is partially transparent, revealing much, but not all.  It suggests that we will get to know the characters privately, but not fully.

And perhaps, with this revealing image, Ms. Coppola establishes her own vulnerability as the writer and director of the film.

A second opening shot that I love is Saint Francis and his disciples treading down a muddy road under freezing rain in Roberto Rossellini’s, The Flowers of St. Francis (1950).

The opening shot of the film The Flowers of St. Francis (1950), directed by Roberto Rossellini.

Rather than interpret this shot, I thought a saying of Jesus would be apropos for this spiritual film: “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Thanks to my friend Thomas, I will approach the opening shot of my film with intent.  In fact, I already have a pretty good idea what it will be! Here’s a link to Thomas Ethan Harris‘ superb seminars!

What are some of your favorite opening shots and why?  Please leave a comment and let me know…

About these ads

49 Responses to “Citizen Kane and a Saint”

  1. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements
    would really make my blog stand out. Please let me
    know where you got your design. Kudos

  2. wikipedia.org August 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    How long should it take to house break him. And, you want
    them to obey the leader of the first things to remember, when your
    dog has mastered housetraining and good manners and this quality means they can learn to communicate with
    them.

  3. Louis August 18, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    After drawing the pictures, you can see a Prius driving through
    your animated drawings. The Xperia X10 measures 119×63x13mm and weighs in at 135 grams.
    The reviews of the Samsung Galaxy W i8150are very good and it is well known
    now as among the best performing Smartphone’s’ in its range.

  4. Lv1 Amplify Damage (Your skeleton will do double damage on the cursed monster).
    The general concensus is that these are most likely to work with an un-patched version of the game.
    t planing machine is likewise entire of in force liquor.
    Before it falls back down climb up and use the fleece on the other eye.
    Take the right corridor and make your way past the baddies.
    There are many reasons why this game is highly addicting:.
    Jump up and take the top boulder to right so you can reach
    the ledge.

  5. Jaime August 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed
    here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other experienced individuals that share the same
    interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Kudos!

  6. throne rush cheats more diamonds August 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting!
    I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.
    I will always bookmark your blog and definitely
    will come back down the road. I want to encourage yourself
    to continue your great job, have a nice morning!

  7. társkereso veszprém megye August 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep
    a reader entertained. Between your wit and you videos, I was almosst moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

  8. Mahmoud Heidarian Vancouver August 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    This is my first time go to see at here and i am truly pleassant to read all at single place.

  9. Lashawn August 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to
    say that I acquire in fact loved account
    your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your augment and even I fulfillment you access constantly quickly.

  10. Apple store Repair In schaumburg August 15, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your
    feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post.
    Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  11. หนังx August 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    At this time it sounds like Drupal is the best blogging platform
    available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what
    you’re using on your blog?

  12. zelený čaj chudnutie August 14, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Thank you forr every other informative blog.

    Where else may I get thhat type of information writtfen in such a perfect approach?
    I’ve a mission that I’m just now operating on, and I have been on the look
    out for such information.

  13. الكازينو على الانترنت August 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I was recommended this bpog by way of my cousin. I’m noow not positive
    whether this publish is written by him aas nobody else realize such specified about mmy
    problem. You’re wonderful! Thank you!

  14. lovely August 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care
    for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.

    Thank you and good luck.

  15. www.womenscenter.com August 13, 2014 at 2:38 am #

    I think that what you wrote was very logical. But, what about this?
    what if you were to write a killer headline? I mean, I don’t wish
    to tell you how to run your website, however suppose
    you added a title that makes people want more? I mean Citizen Kane and a Saint | Follow My Film
    is a little plain. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and see how
    they write news titles to get people to click.
    You might add a video or a picture or two to grab people excited about what you’ve got
    to say. In my opinion, it would make your posts a little bit more interesting.

  16. Megapolis Hack August 12, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    The reason some sites in a blogroll do not have their latest article shown yet others do?
    To change that?

  17. prada 2014 August 11, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    prada 2014
    I every time spent my half an hour to read this web site’s articles
    everyday along with a cup of coffee.

  18. chanel tote bags replica outlet August 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    chanel tote bags replica outlet
    Hi, I do think your web site could possibly be
    having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!

    Besides that, excellent site!

  19. vasomotor August 1, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    It’s remarkable to go to see this website and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this post, while I
    am also eager of getting know-how.

  20. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking
    to swap techniques with others, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  21. Ana July 17, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Austin trash removal.
    Regards

  22. مكافحة حشرات July 16, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    Quality articles or reviews is the crucial to be a focus for the people to pay a visit
    the web page, that’s what this website is providing.

  23. classroom July 9, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    What’s up, this weekend is nice in support of me, as this occasion i am reading
    this wonderful informative post here at my home.

  24. โกดังให้เช่า July 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Self storage operator’s offer limited access to the
    units or locker owned by the customer. Go to the slot machine
    and get it to line up with the strange doodle that you found earlier.
    Typically this is seen as commercial activity on the street level, and apartments or condos up above.

  25. شركة مكافحة الصراصير June 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    It’s remarkable to visit this site and reading the views of
    all colleagues about this article, while I am also eager of getting familiarity.

  26. eagledumpsterrental.wordpress.com June 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Thanks for any other wonderful article. Where else may anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect appreoach
    of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the look
    for such info.

  27. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This article posted at this site is really pleasant.

  28. niveous June 25, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the
    rest of the site is very good.

  29. weight loss tips June 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Double-check to make sure the glue-up will be about an inch
    wider than the final product after trimming. Sharp design lets you
    achieve a whole host of different exercises for a thorough body workout.
    Cost of racks depends on the complexity of manufacture, has a value calculated racks, the racks scheme.

  30. Creative photo Ideas April 28, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    This is a great little illusion and can be used very effectively once you get the hang of it.
    They understand that within today’s competitive market place, providing high-quality camerawork that is rapid, reliable and inventive
    isn’t always enough. He is the author of “Money Shots: The Insider’s Guide to the World of Nude & Erotic Photography” (this book is available for purchase and immediate download at For over a
    decade, Michael has shot exclusively in the world of nude, erotic, and adult-oriented photography.

  31. hazmat storage April 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    All of these are currently still stalled in committee, but several states have
    proactively passed their own laws governing e-waste management.
    Geotechnical engineering is an important field of engineering that
    is concerned with behavior of earth materials. Nuclear reactors use radioactive fuel (uranium), in order to heat up water and produce steam.

  32. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKbaYIqucxc April 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Over 25 minutes of cleaning time and a 30 foot power cord is featured.
    Laminate flooring is typically constructed with a HDF core, sandwiched between a melamine laminate backing, high quality photographic paper with an image of wood, stone or other natural flooring,
    and a melamine laminate top. 5 inch clearing that enables you to wash underneath furniture,
    beds and tables.

  33. Our main site twitter April 22, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    For hottest information you have to visit internet and on web I found this
    site as a most excellent web site for newest updates.

  34. compost bin plans April 17, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    A Compost Bin: Most gardeners use a special
    bin for composting. And to uproot this problem simple plantation campaign is not going to help.
    Locate a hazardous waste collection center that accepts paint in your area or learn
    alternative ways to properly dispose of old paint here.

  35. melaleuca reviews April 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Howdy! This post could not be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  36. hay day astuce ipad March 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Dо you haνe any video of that? I’d love to find out some aԀditional information.

  37. reflexology in feet In Calgary Alberta March 30, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    fantastic put up, very informative. I ponder why the other
    experts of this sector don’t realize this.
    You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  38. Quality assurance training online March 27, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Wonderful site. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thanks to your sweat!

  39. starting a web based business March 27, 2014 at 3:18 am #

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with valuable info to work on.

    You’ve done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  40. google plus app for ipad March 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve you guys to blogroll.

  41. Jason March 8, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    Beyond that, I believe that the opening shot of each individual scene is incredibly important. As is the closing shot of each scene, and larger than that, the closing shot of the film.

    The closing shot of the film is the last thing an audience is going to see before they walk out of the theatre, so it better be good!

    • Christopher March 8, 2010 at 9:27 am #

      Great point, Jason. I totally agree, like a front yard and a backyard, huh? Perhaps I’ll write up a “closing shot” post soon! Thanks for the insight!!!

  42. Jingle February 22, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    great film views…

    http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/u-deserve-a-star-today/

    I thought u may enjoy a star award today!

    Happy Monday!
    ;)

  43. Harv February 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Chris,
    you’ve captured the themes of some great films by their opening scenes. Very clever. The opening scene does put into the audience’s mind an attitude that they will carry through whole film. Good stuff.
    Brett

  44. Christopher February 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I really, really want to be intentional with the opening shot of my film….

  45. Susan February 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Wow. This post really caught my attention. It’s very true that opening shots of a movie can foreshadow many themes that will be developed in the story. I really liked your thoughts about the opening shot in Lost in Translation. I think some of the most memorable opening shots are those that are seductive and intimate…

  46. Graham February 16, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Great examples. Another great opening shot is the one of Captain Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. It starts in close on him – the glorious pirate king with the wind at the top of the crows nest – but as the camera pulls back, it reveals the mast quickly sinking, deeper and deeper, moving forward, until Depp nonchalantly – not skipping a beat – steps off onto the dock. What a great character intro.

  47. Chuck Norton February 14, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Great post. Interesting interpretation of ‘Lost in Translation’ – agreed.

    I love the opening of Being John Malcovich. There is the puppet scene where the puppet looks so much like the master Cusack, and quickly starts acting more like a person than a stereotypical childrens puppet. And then we find out Cusack is in his basement doing this whole scene just for himself – dreaming of being a famous puppet master. Stringed puppets are so weird, in my opinion, and unconventional as a desired profession for most viewers – that it quickly grabbed my attention and set the tone of the whole movie.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers

%d bloggers like this: