Hi my name is Tony and this is Every Frame a Painting.
So this video was supposed to be done in time for Mother's Day but that didn't happen, sorry ma.
Anyways today's film is Wolf Children directed by Mamoru Hosoda.
This is a really lovely little film and it won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Animated Film two years ago.
If you haven't seen it, please do but for once, my video will provide no spoilers so you can enjoy this without having seen Wolf Children.
My subject today is a single shot from the film right here.
It's a lateral tracking shot lasting 57 seconds and it follows the two children, Ame and Yuki from first grade the fourth grade without any cuts.
We see Ame as a loner in first grade while his sister Yuki adjusts to life in school.
We see him bullied, we see her reaction, we see her find a place in the classroom while he starts to ditch class.
That's really it.
So why do I think this shot is actually kinda amazing?
This might sound like a weird thing to say but I've never really understood how to use the lateral tracking shot.
Like, I've seen other directors use it, sometimes beautifully, but I've never figured out how to pull it off myself.
Because when you break it down, the lateral tracking shot is kinda weird.
It's one of the least subjective shots in cinema.
It's actually one of most objective.
It doesn't really suggest any character's POV, it just suggests you're an omniscient God and you're watching.
And it's very literal.
What you see is what you get, so what do you use it for?
Most filmmakers use it as a quick establishing move.
When you wanna start a scene and end in your master, it's a simple way to go.
-Hey man, if I were to shave off a nipple, would it be covered by workmen's comp?
Sadly in the last five years, this type of shot has just been beaten into the ground by DSLRs and sliders.
Even good movies shot on DSLR have slider overkill going on.
So yeah, we can find a better way to use it.
Well, what else is there?
Another place you see the shot is in war movies.
When you wanna show the vastness of an army, or the world around some soldiers, the lateral tracking shot will do the trick.
It's really the go-to shot for establishing a camp.
-This whole goddamn war.
-Like finding a needle in a stack of needles.
It's also great for running whether that be people running towards destiny or towards the woman they love, even just running to run.
Hell, why not slow-motion?
Or Tom Cruise?
And I don't know why but it also really popular for supermarkets, maybe because they're soulless and terrible like the Safeway near my house.
Godard seems to have done the definitive "I hate supermarkets" shot in cinema.
And there's a bunch of other like one-off uses by certain filmmakers.
Peter Greenaway uses it to make the frame feel like a moving painting.
I've seen Park Chan-wook use it for an amazing fight scene.
I've seen Buster Keaton use it for physical comedy.
I've seen Scorsese use it for a mass execution and I also really like this one-off gag from Toy Story.
Some filmmakers make it a personal statement.
Stanley Kubrick loved it because it showed things the way they were and not how we imagine them to be.
He used it brilliantly in Paths of Glory to show just the extent of the war and the trenches.
And in The Shining, it's everywhere, it's one of the ongoing ways that he builds a sense of dread.
The environment just feels oppressive when you look at it like this.