23 Reasons For Close-Ups

To conclude our series on Cinematic Storytelling, last week Mystery Man examined the origins of and opinions about close-ups.
Today, in the 10th and final episode, we look at 23 visual examples and their dramatic reason.

To examine beauty / ugliness:

To illuminate a glance we would not have seen (as in Lady Snowblood):

To establish an essential prop in the narrative (thanks to Keith Uhlich):

To insert an important text or image that pushes the story forward:

To inspire using a much-loved visual symbol:

To convey non-verbal emotions (like confusion and embarrassment):

To emphasize a word(s):

To make us face a face that we may not wish to see:

To intimidate:

To emphasize power, influence, obsession, or one individual’s absolute resolve to stay the course:

To create a feeling of unease and paranoia:

To punctuate the severity of a tragedy (as in Battleship Potemkin):

To convey isolation and emptiness:

To show a different side of a character, such as an army leader’s personal, private breakdown:

To terrify (as in Opera):

To disorient (thanks to Jonathan Lapper):

To tantalize (as in Malena):

To show a moment of extreme intimacy:

To make a visual statement about a character (as in Miller’s Crossing thanks to the Opening Shots Project):

To reveal a sought-after MaGuffin:

To capitalize on a heightened emotional near-death climax:

To provide a moment of humor:

And to give resolution to a conflict:

– Mystery Man

In his own words, Mystery Man was “famous yet anonymous, failed yet accomplished, brilliant yet semi-brilliant. A homebody jetsetting around the world. Brash and daring yet chilled with a twist.”

MM blogged for nearly 4 years and tweeted for only 4 months, then disappeared – mysteriously.

The Story Department continues to republish his best articles on Monday.

Here, you’ll also be informed about the release of his screenwriting book.

1 thought on “23 Reasons For Close-Ups”

  1. Love the Jack Nicholson photo. Hilarious. I’m going to send it to all my friends in Canada, the States and Europe, poor sods. :)


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