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Alfonso Cuarón - Children of Men


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Aye, indeed I think I am which is why I asked the question. If I then can't "get" an answer, that's my problem still, isn't it ;)

It's not a documentary, and I'm not there. Why splash blood on something that isn't there? I've seen a figurative bucket load of blood thrown over the camera in some gore-fest movie, and just accepted it as part of the overall intended effect. Here, I just do not get the point.

Well, obviously you're not actually 'there'. You're not there when you watch a real documentary either. The intention was, that if it looks like a real war documentary for that section of the film, then it will heighten the tension and the realism.

It makes it feel less like a scripted film if anything because it looks so real. It looks like he's being followed by a camera man in a war zone and adds an extra little bit of danger to the scene as a result. One of the most intense and gripping action scenes I've seen at the cinema in years.

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K, I am able to suspend my disbelief over watching a film on a magic box in my living room.

Well, obviously you're not actually 'there'. You're not there when you watch a real documentary either. The intention was, that if it looks like a real war documentary for that section of the film, then it will heighten the tension and the realism.

It makes it feel less like a scripted film if anything because it looks so real. It looks like he's being followed by a camera man in a war zone and adds an extra little bit of danger to the scene as a result. One of the most intense and gripping action scenes I've seen at the cinema in years.

I agree with you utterly that it was intense and gripping. It was an amazing scene in an amazing movie. It's just that the blood splash jarred me out of it. Not entirely, but just enough for me to be as bugged about it as I obviously am. So I just wanted to see what a few other people's opinions were.

It's just a tiny gripe.

If indeed it was blood that got on there accidentally, as K offers, and they decided to leave it, then that, also, is an interesting (and to me equally irksome) angle on the matter.

In other news, has anyone read the book? How does it compare to the film? Would anyone recommend it? I think so far I've found an even split with film/book conversions (either way) as to which is "better". Is the world fleshed out a bit more in the book? I'd find that interesting, even though I very much appreciated the amount that was left to our imaginations in the film.

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K, I am able to suspend my disbelief over watching a film on a magic box in my living room.

I agree with you utterly that it was intense and gripping. It was an amazing scene in an amazing movie. It's just that the blood splash jarred me out of it. Not entirely, but just enough for me to be as bugged about it as I obviously am. So I just wanted to see what a few other people's opinions were.

It's just a tiny gripe.

If indeed it was blood that got on there accidentally, as K offers, and they decided to leave it, then that, also, is an interesting (and to me equally irksome) angle on the matter.

I think I've explained as best I can why they did. I genuinely cannot see why you find it 'irksome' in the slightest.

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Presumably, some fake blood did splatter onto the camera. Given how complex and logistically intricate those enormous takes must have been, it presumably wouldn't be cost-effective to re-shoot it.

They could've easily composited it out in post.

I have to say, after watching the dvd extra about how they did the baby birth scene, it's possibly the greatest piece of CG I've ever seen in film.

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I think I've explained as best I can why they did. I genuinely cannot see why you find it 'irksome' in the slightest.

Yeah, that's cool, thanks for trying. One question though, are you explaining your interpretation, or the director's known or presumed intent? Either way is equally valid to me.

I like the idea that the book is so different, I mean how much more fundamentally different can it be than having the men go infertile? I also find that more believable, what with dwindling sperm counts. I'll add it to my Christmas list.

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Yeah, that's cool, thanks for trying. One question though, are you explaining your interpretation, or the director's known or presumed intent? Either way is equally valid to me.

Both.

EDIT: I haven't read the book either, but am intrigued by it just to see what the differences are.

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Presumably, some fake blood did splatter onto the camera. Given how complex and logistically intricate those enormous takes must have been, it presumably wouldn't be cost-effective to re-shoot it.

Besides, is it really that hard to suspend your disbelief regarding a few drops of blood? You may as well sit there saying "you mean the filmmakers expect me to buy that there's this magic window in the corner of my living room, through which I can watch events from a supposed future? Talk about killing the sense of immersion!"

I'm pretty sure that blood splatter was put there in post. I've watched it a few times and to me it looks like a very nice digital effect.

I'm with you on it pulling the rug out ever so slightly. You cant help what snaps you back to relaity once you are nvolved in a movie. nobody consciously suspends their disbelief. You either enjoy or the ride or something repels you slightly. i think its a valid criticism, even though it didnt affect me personally.

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Fair enough. I guess you could argue that the shot itself took you out of the film, purely because I was sat there thinking "how the fuck are they doing this?" as much as I was thinking how exciting it was.

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I found the blood on the camera was fine for me, I don't know what cameras/film grade whatever they used in CoM but it has this reportage feel to it. You know when you are watching a making of documentary and you see the actors acting on set and it looks totally non film like.

CoM has that feel for me, the constant and long handheld shots, the telling of events through newscasts and media all points towards this being a recording of events rather than the making of a story. In the same way as when watching a docu-drama I'm drawn in totally but there's this constant awareness of the camera throughout, the way conversations and incidents are almost eavesdropped rather than filmed, so when the blood hits the camera lense it's enforcing that feel for me and doesn't detract from the story itself.

I personally think Cuaron wants you to feel this, the special effects are very subtle in terms of creating a world but the way he plays with the camera is the opposite of that, to the point where you can't stop yourself stepping out of the film and thinking 'ooh, how did they do that'.

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It is, and it's taken from the end credits of the movie.

And the blood on the camera effect worked on me. It was a bit jarring, but cool I thought.

Oh, really? Never knew that. Aaaace piece of music though.

'Cunts are still ruling the world' i think it's called

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I found the blood on the camera was fine for me, I don't know what cameras/film grade whatever they used in CoM but it has this reportage feel to it. You know when you are watching a making of documentary and you see the actors acting on set and it looks totally non film like.

CoM has that feel for me, the constant and long handheld shots, the telling of events through newscasts and media all points towards this being a recording of events rather than the making of a story. In the same way as when watching a docu-drama I'm drawn in totally but there's this constant awareness of the camera throughout, the way conversations and incidents are almost eavesdropped rather than filmed, so when the blood hits the camera lense it's enforcing that feel for me and doesn't detract from the story itself.

I personally think Cuaron wants you to feel this, the special effects are very subtle in terms of creating a world but the way he plays with the camera is the opposite of that, to the point where you can't stop yourself stepping out of the film and thinking 'ooh, how did they do that'.

100% agree with all of that. Wonderfully well put

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  • 1 month later...

I bought this on the second day of my holiday and have been dying to watch it, i just did and i wasnt let down. I loved this film, from the prologue bit through to the end it had so much style, so many cool touchs and Cheeko put it very well with the reporting of events feeling. Very few films have invoked actual feelings for characters (even small ones like the dread locked activist guy or Jasper). Outstanding stuff, think i'll get Pans Labyrinth just since Cuaron is involved in that isnt he?

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I haven't read the book, but from the synopsis I've read it sounds almost completely different:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Children_of_Men

Interestingly, in the book it's all the men who have become infertile whereas in the film, it's female infertility that's causing the crisis.

Late return to this point, but I think it's because of the tentativeness of this point:

"Theo takes us back to 1995, when, for reasons unknown, the sperm counts of all human males plummeted to zero. Even sperm already in storage lost their potency. "

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I'm pretty sure that blood splatter was put there in post. I've watched it a few times and to me it looks like a very nice digital effect.

I'm with you on it pulling the rug out ever so slightly. You cant help what snaps you back to relaity once you are nvolved in a movie. nobody consciously suspends their disbelief. You either enjoy or the ride or something repels you slightly. i think its a valid criticism, even though it didnt affect me personally.

He said it was an accident and that it was a pain to remove in post.

Didn't he mention this during that Charlie Rose interview?

I've heard him talk about this somewhere...

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I'm with you on it pulling the rug out ever so slightly. You cant help what snaps you back to relaity once you are nvolved in a movie. nobody consciously suspends their disbelief. You either enjoy or the ride or something repels you slightly. i think its a valid criticism, even though it didnt affect me personally.

I think anyone with an interest in film would have been sat there thinking "how the fuck are they doing this?" half the time, just because it's so amazingly well done.

Do you think audiences were thinking this during Citizen Kane, when that was first released? After all, that pioneered lots of new techniques.

Surely film-lovers back then were just as distracted by the bravura directing.

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Do you think audiences were thinking this during Citizen Kane, when that was first released? After all, that pioneered lots of new techniques.

That is probably unlikely on its first release considering it bombed and was then pulled for over a decade. It was also booed continually at the Oscars that year (further proof how pointless the awards actually are).

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He said it was an accident and that it was a pain to remove in post.

It was an accident that he liked, and he asked the post production peeps [Double Negative] to enhance it, but then make it sneakily disappear as Theo is making his way up the stairs. Double Negative said this at a presentation about their work on the film at my uni [Teesside] last year, so this is super duper true!

I loved the blood splatter, by the way. Back when I saw it in the cinema for the first time, I was totally taken away by the film in general, and when the blood hit the lens it added another layer of horror to what was happening on screen. I almost did a sex wee at what a tour de force of filmmaking I was watching.

Incidentally...

Did you realise that the scene in the car was all done in one 12 minute take?

It wasn't. All the super-impressive long sequences like the one in the car and the final war scene were actually shot in as many as 7 different segments, in such a way that they could be put together seamlessly in post production.

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