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NPCoombs Profile
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Registered: 04-2005
Posts: 32
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The outline for 'Guillotines'


Dear all,

Apologies for appearing like I am using this forum as a sounding board for all my films and ideas, but it is inetresting to post here to get a unique angle on things.

Below is the pitch for a film I applying for funding for:



“Guillotines” is the story of hope lost and hope regained told through the story of a prisoner who is rescued from certain death.

Set during the French revolution this film questions the ethics of capital punishment and violent revolution with an economical and atmospheric mis-en-scene involving three compelling characters: The prisoner, the jailer and the saviour.


Synopsis
In a passage in Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ Prince Myshkin is forced to respond to the claim of the humaneness of the guillotine. In a striking speech he describes how a man sentenced to death at the guillotine faces the worst torture of all though the loss of hope and the foreknowledge of certain death.

From this passage is the inspiration of ‘Guillotines’, a story set during the reign-of-terror of the French Revolution, but speaking of timeless ethical and moral dilemmas.

These questions are embodied in a tight mis-en-scene in which a jailer is transporting a recently discovered aristocrat to his execution in a horse pulled jail-cart. During this journey the cart is intercepted by another aristocrat who attempts to buy the prisoner from the jailer for his own unscrupulous ends. However, when this mysterious buyer betrays the jailer and the rescue attempt becomes clear, the prisoner glimpses hope and is forced to make a stark moral choice between his own sense of right and his will to survive.

Aesthetics
Period details are kept to a minimum through the entire story taking place in the countryside. There are subtle suggestions of the time through costume details and certain props, including the central horse pulled jailed cart and stoked rifles. But otherwise this is a stripped down interpretation of a period-piece, excising the usual fussy attention to detail in big-budget productions within the genre.

Aesthetically the use of a single mis-en-scene involving the interior of the cart and the space surrounding the cart allows for a very professional, but contained shoot where the atmosphere will be ramped up via the use of chiaroscuro lighting and heavy rainfall.

In order to capture the scene in a powerful way, the shots will be composed of static camera, on platforms up to 10ft in height, and through dolly shots running up to 25ft in length. This will provide visual interest to the contained, single location and fit the overall mood.

Use of a single fast wide-angle prime and a fast, medium focal length prime will allow shooting in relatively low light and can create a shallow depth of field when needed, alongside providing an aesthetic rigor to the production.

***

Any opinions welcome.

5/14/2006, 1:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to NPCoombs   Send PM to NPCoombs
 
Narek Profile
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Registered: 04-2006
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Re: The outline for 'Guillotines'


Situations where we face a choice between our sense of right and the will to survive bring the best and the worst out of us. It is always interesting to watch how other people behave in such situations, so the film could be very interesting.

Is the jailer going to be someone routinely doing his job? Have you thought about making him a deeply understanding character? One option is to present him as an ideologist, someone who is convinced that aristocrats must be executed. Another option is to make him finally see his petty role in the ruthless machine called French revolution. These are just small ideas and suggestions.
5/17/2006, 9:59 am Link to this post Send Email to Narek   Send PM to Narek
 


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