The sound of a life

Film survey is one of six courses on my first semester of media foundation program at Humber college. In this course they taught us how to critique a movie and in the last assignment I had to write about a short movie and explain how the movie-maker made meaning. The instructor asked, “In a short 500-600 word answer, written in complete sentences and paragraphs, discuss how aspects of two of the following categories create meaning in the short film of your choosing: the tools of film-making (e,g. Composition, camera movement, lighting, editing, music, narrative, acting); the four film-making traditions (Fiction, documentary, experimental, animated); Genre (e.g. Drama, science-fiction, horror)”.

I chose “Cutaway” by a Canadian filmmaker who create a massive piece of art that shows an event of a worker all in inserts.

Forty-four clips in six minute and forty-six second made a short movie named Cutaway by Kazik Radwanski that is a cutaway of a man’s life who is a construction worker. While the man placing a pipe in an ongoing renovation building, an ongoing life finds trouble to build. There is no face and all shots captured from the man’s hand or hands. Radwanski showing an overused story, but he made Cutaway by unique way in film-making. A collection of inserts, even sometimes on foreground or background, took more attention and interest for his audience. The director made a drama short movie that sound is a unique character.

Cutaway is a serious film which happening in a real world with all realistic things that we can see it every day. These are two important characteristic of drama genre that identify this movie as a drama. Another important characteristic of drama is conflicts which in this movie is person vs. self and person vs person. Also, the first picture in Cutaway is a person hands that drilling ground which follows a drama rule: shows the main character, but in the same time breaking the rule while shots are close up. Usually a drama or most of narrative movies began or has a long shot to show the setting. Radwanski by breaking this rule and keep capturing in close up tried to sell his cliché story to us.

A hard worker man lost a baby. This short, simple and boring sentence is the subject of this cliché movie, but the theme of this six and forty-six second can not be same from groups of audience. Radwanski walked on edge while used an overused story in the most common genre in cinema, but he knew his drama’s rule and his camera could turn a boring story to an interesting one. Also, we might can say he follows a mathematical formula that negative times negative equals positive.

This positive formula to narrate the story follows in sound as well. There is no music which is metaphor of rhythm, and talk about the man rhythm’s life. Also, there is no dialog between characters that is a symbol of communication, and tell us about his connections. The most important is the first clip comes with the man’s hand and sound, but last scene finishes with sound on a black screen. Sound of breaking stone at the first place with a machine and the last clip with a hummer: same sound; different cause. He is sniffing that says he is cold. He is crying that says he is sad. There is ambient in store, subway, bar that says he is not a social man. There is mobile typing sound that says he is a quiet man. There is only a clip with nature sound: last clip, number forty-four. Birds are singing while sun is shining, the only sunshine in the movie, that says winter is over; spring is coming.

In the winter a baby died, so in spring a man is born. Sound is a character or at least a narrator in this drama short film.

Radwanski in Cutaway narrated a cliché story with different and variety theme while he broke drama rules and used sound as a character. He presented this film to his father that shows he is belong to working class who talk about their life and troubles. Therefore, he knows that someone his father face can shows emotion, but this is a hand that can transfer it and make connection. A connection like the pipe placed with the man after cutting metal with a grinder.