A Chilling Look At Close-Up Shots In Films By Jonathan Demme

A chilling look at close-up shots in films by Jonathan Demme

Director of movies like The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and others, Jonathan Demme has mastered the use of the close-up shots. Pretty much every director of every film has put their camera right in front of their actors but Demme is able to bring out more emotion in the shot by creating his own style.

Jacob T. Swinney writes:

Most filmmakers choose to employ the close-up shot during scenes of crucial dialogue — the scene cuts back and forth to the characters' respective close ups, each character looking to the opposite side of the screen in order to mine the 180 line. This is a standard, yet effective, procedure and is seen in almost any film. On the other hand, Demme prefers to line up his characters in the center of the frame and have them look directly into the lens of the camera. As the scene cuts back and forth, the characters usually match placement and seem to be looking right at us, conveying a unique sense of urgency or poignancy.

Demme's approach to the close-up is effective on many emotional levels, and this is largely due to the eye/lens relationship.

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