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A shot analysis from Seven Samurai

Pacze Moj over at a blog called Critical Culture has posted a relatively good short analysis of some important shots from Seven Samurai. The comments there are also well worth the read!




Jeremy Quintanilla

A nice analysis I do agree for the most part,some minor areas I think are more opinion then actually fact as to why Kurosawa did what he did.

I do disagree completely with his analysis regarding the broken 180* rule. Without use of drawing its hard to describe why it is not broken but I will try.

On the farmer scene, the camera actually is sitting directly below the eye line of the two characters, with the middle of the line going almost right down the middle of the camera. More less a low angle eye line two shot close up.
The angle of the characters, the lack of items to give a clear angle of the camera and the lens. Make it appear the camera is slightly right of the eye line. Its hard to tell but after the cut its slightly easier to tell where the camera was, but with the bowl in the way, I can see where personal viewpoint comes into play.
When the cut is made to show the rice bowl and the farmers. The camera is now at roughly a right angle master, since the characters again are angled, it makes it appear odd but is actually around 90* if not less shift from the original two shot-close up.

I dont believe Kurosawa would break this rule. Doing so is not disturbing as some could say it was intended to be, to give emotion to the lost rice. It would be actually confusing, since its the change of the character sizing within the frame, and enlarges a small bowl. A break of the rule and we would appear someplace else til we adjusted to the scene. Instead we are not lost and basically given a insert of the pot with the two farmers in the frame to fill space and to give association to the bowl.

The second 180* break is different altogether, unfortunately I cant easily verbalize it without getting very lengthly. To quickly put it, in my opinion it was intended as a whole new scene regardless if the same subject are involved. In changing the scene the crossing of the line is no longer a problem as the camera is given a fresh start. I do admit however this part is completely subjective.

I wonder why Moj thinks Kurosawa broke the 180* and even if he actually did, for what reason would he do so.


Jeremy Quintanilla

I have a heard time typing what I am thinking and even a harder time explaining what is normally drawn out.
To add to the farmer scene

The camera is framed to the left of the farmer’s face being yelled at. The farmer doing the yelling is roughly 45* from the other farmer. The camera is sitting under the eye line and to the left of the line. Hugging close to the yelling farmer, the fact that the camera is pull out, zoomed in, and the character angled along with their faces, it can be mistaken for being on the right. When the farmer being yelled at slides down the wall from a standing position to a sitting position. You can easily tell the camera is to the left of the farmer and next to the yell(standing) farmer. Its even framed more to the left, but cuts quickly because it would look weird now that we have a straight facing character to judge the angle.

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