- Directed by Susan Maughlin Wood -
‘Spectratta’ comes as an accompanying music video for ‘Parallel Plaid’, a sonatina for violin and piano. It doesn’t have a linear story per se, focusing instead of suggestive natural imagery, which complements the tone of the music rather well. Each of the musical composition’s three movements unfolds in parallel with shots where varying tempos and editing techniques are applied, while thematically in line with the structure of a sonata.
The exposition part sets the tone of the piece, and a crescendo technique is recognizable throughout the movement. This part features the best editing of the music video: shots utilizing a transparency effect in order to create a juxtaposition of images, mainly natural cadres over various objects. Little toy animals and insects complete the surreal landscape.
The second movement- the development stage- features shots of bees pollinating flowers of different shapes and colours. The bright colour palette utilized here makes its desired effect, creating a vibrant, flashy chromatic effect, to which the colourful fish also contribute. While the first movement’s theme was a more abstract one, the second movement establishes a more realist perspective, and largely explores the theme of air and water. The ground is not visible in the shots with the flowers and the insects flying around, while the water in the sequence featuring the fish largely reflects the sky.
The third and final movement, the recapitulation, explores the remaining medium- the earth. Beautiful macro shots of snails moving around, in search for nourishment, constitute the primary mode of exposition here. Some of the scenes hint at a return to some of the first movement’s elements, also suggested by the tempo of the music.
While the editing is of a relatively consistent quality throughout, surprising with a few well-utilized techniques in the first part, and then working smoothly enough in the remaining two parts, the cinematography of ‘Spectratta’ is an aspect which needs additional work. There is an inconsistency between the perspectives of the scenes, while others seem to have a focus problem: the focus is sometimes on the moving object, and other times this is blurred and the surrounding environment is emphasized- these succeeding themselves in a random fashion. While the beauty of the images is undeniable, a more cohesive perspective would be value-adding.
Overall, however, ‘Spectratta’ is an interesting project which resonates well with its musical accompaniment. Careful thought has been put in creating not a narrative, but a sequence of shots which thematically resembles the music and doesn’t feel like a random collection of scenes simply thrown into the mix. Rather, it creates a feeling of audio-visual harmony, and enhances the overall result.
© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest,
Images provided by Stephen Brace and Jason Hargrove,
have not been altered and are used in compliance with CC License.