Opening Shots Project

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Opening Shots: 'Repo Man'

View image From Schuyler Chapman: Down a desert road the car ambles erratically, while the motorcycle-cop watches from the far side of the road. Lapsing, perhaps, four seconds and consisting of a 180-degree pan that follows the car as it…

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Opening Shots: 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'

View image "But I do want to say something about imagination purely as a tool in the art and science of scaring the crap out of people... You approach the door in the old, deserted house, and you hear something…

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Opening Shots: 'Day for Night'

A bus crosses the frame from left to right and we follow a woman in red walking from right to left, who stops to get a magazine. Notice the curves and circles that establish a pattern for the shot --…

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Opening Shots: 'The Silence of the Lambs'

View image View image From Mike Calia: Bare tree branches set against an oppressive grey sky, meeting somewhere between impressionism and expressionism and setting the palate for the whole movie (save for the blaring reds and wood tones that pop…

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Opening Shots: 'Cat People' (1982)

View image From Andrew Wright, The Stranger: Cinematic brimstone manna for pubescent Cinemax viewers, Paul Schrader's unjustly neglected 1982 remake of "Cat People" leaves the watcher uneasily poised somewhere between needing a wet-nap and a steel-wool shower. Working again with…

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Opening Shots: 'Punch-Drunk Love'

Three eloquent and distinctly personal appreciations of the opening of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love": From Nareg Torosian, ScreenPlay: The opening shot of one of my favorite films of recent years, Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" (2002). As described on…

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Opening Shots: 'A Hard Day's Night'

View image: Channnnnnggggggg... From Sam Goldsmith: If there is any opening shot that truly shows the power of cinema, it comes from my favorite film, Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night." After crediting Miramax and Walter Shenson, the film makes…

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Opening Shots: 'Petulia'

View image From Tom Sutpen, If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats: There is no more enigmatic image in the badly underappreciated canon of Richard Lester than the opening shot of his 1968…

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Opening Shots: 'Quills'

From Jeff Levin, Rochester, NY: I’ve never seen an opening tighter or more ingeniously structured than the one for Philip Kaufman’s "Quills." It’s an opening that flips from dreamy to nightmarish and completely changes the nature of what you think…

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Opening Shots: 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

View image From Edward Bowie, US Army: I have a counter-intuitive nomination for best shot: The opening segue from the Paramount “mountain��? to the unspecified Andean mountain in “Raiders of the lost Ark.��? Indicative, I think, that what we are…