Ready for My Close-Up: A Montage Tracing the Intimacy of Proximity

One of the early influences of TV on film.
By  · Published on June 6th, 2017

One of the early influences of TV on film.

Fun fact: though it was in use before the advent of television, it wasn’t until that medium became ubiquitous that the close-up became a cinematic staple. Originally, film shied away from the shot because it was too limiting, and directors wanted to make the most of their frames, combining people with backgrounds to get a more complete picture. But the early days of TV mostly took place on single-stage studio lots where the background was just set dressing and therefore not nearly as important, meaning the directors could focus more on the faces of their actors. Over time this practice rippled into film to the point that today close-ups are actually a part of the negotiation process for many stars, who require a certain number of them in the films they make.

At its root the close-up is a psychological reflection of character, it is visual dialogue relating emotional states words couldn’t do justice, and it brings with it a certain kind of intimacy, almost unnerving, that allows audiences to connect with the film in a more personal, more visceral way.

In the latest montage from our friend Candice Drouet, the close-up is given it’s due along with a little historical and creative context. Films from Ingmar Bergman, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Mendes, Sergio Leone, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Blake Edwards, Nicholas Ray and others are included, proving that from the Golden Age of Hollywood right up to the present day, there’s no narrative substitute for looking a character right in their eyes.

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