Opening Shots Project

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Opening Shots: Memento

From Andrew Davies: I think the first shot of Christopher Nolan's Memento could be best described as the film in miniature because of how the subject of the shot establishes several important elements of the film. The credits begin on…

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Opening Shots: Badlands

It starts in a girl's bedroom, the camera slowly retreating in a gentle arc around the bed where the girl lovingly pets and hugs her dog. A teenager's room is a private sanctuary, and this bed (with a blanket folded…

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Opening Shots: The New World

From David Nicol: The camera drifts slowly across a stretch of calm water. Insects and birdsong can be heard. Raindrops begin to strike the water's surface as we pass over a patch of water weed. And in voice-over, a young…

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Opening Shots: They Live By Night

Nicholas Ray's directorial debut, "They Live By Night" (1949), begins like a trailer and then slams us right into the opening titles of the feature. An attractive young couple (Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell) are nestling in close-up by the…

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Opening Shots: The American Friend

The opening shot of Wim Wenders' moody color noir "The American Friend" (1977), based on Patricia Highsmith's 1974 novel "Ripley's Game," isn't anything fancy or complicated -- no intricate tracking or crane movement -- but, wow, does it announce the…

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Opening Shots: The Player

From Jason Haggstrom (haggie), Reel 3: The opening shot of Robert Altman's "The Player" establishes the film as a self-reflexive deconstruction of the Hollywood system and those who run it. With its prolonged shot length, the take is also designed…

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Opening Shots: Another Woman

Woody Allen's "Another Woman" (1988) begins with a shot that is the whole movie in miniature. As followers of the Opening Shots Project know, that's one of my favorite approaches, and I think "Another Woman" is one of Allen's best…

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Opening Shots: The Conversation

From Nathan Marone: It begins high above Union Square in San Francisco and by the time it ends, nearly three minutes later, the opening shot of Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film, "The Conversation", will hone in on one as-yet-unidentified man.…

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Opening Shots: The 400 Blows

From Gavin Breeden, Charlotte, NC: When I think of great opening shots, my mind quickly goes to Francios Truffaut's 1959 masterpiece, "Les Quatre Cents Coups" (aka "The 400 Blows"). I may have to break the rules a bit here and…