I really enjoy the work that Tony Zhou does with his Every Frame a Painting video essays. They’re informative, well considered and presented, insightful, and super educational for even the seasoned filmmaker. Whether you’ve never thought of a particular idea before or you treat it as a refresher, they’re as entertaining as they are illuminating. I could watch his essay on Kurosawa on repeat play, and his exploration of Edgar Wright’s visual comedy is as fun as it is inspired. You may not always agree with him, but you’ll have a stimulating and productive time articulating why.
Tony narrates most of the essays, but this one, the clip below, is the exception. And in this case, I think that’s smart. It’s a compilation of one of my favorite techniques from one of my favorite directors: oners by Spielberg. They’re not the usual suspects necessarily and for that I really dig it. (Though the first one is a go-to, I think, and rightfully so.)
From Bogdanovich to Spielberg
If anything, the compilation is a good reminder that oners can stylistically reside within a wide range: from boldly dynamic to evenly restrained, depending on the content at hand. As demonstrated in my post on Bogdanovich’s gargantuan and delightful oner in Paper Moon, oners are the ultimate use of intention, and clear intention creates cinematic weight. And that’s why I love them.
From Spielberg, by way of Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting: