Mccabe Vs Biff

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Robert Altman’s Mccabe and Mrs. Miller and Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Camera Buff are two films which, at face value, seem to bear few similarities. Mccabe and Mrs. Miller is a rough, grimy, and deeply cynical film, while Camera Buff is working-class, more light-hearted and possibly optimistic. Altman’s film is set in the 20th century American frontier. Kieślowski’s takes place in 1970’s communist Poland. Altman’s protagonist Mccabe is a seemingly rugged, enterprising mountain man seeking to strike fortune. Kieślowski’s Fillip is a modest and gentle family man who develops a hobby for cameras. But despite these films’ and characters’ seemingly antithetical nature, after further inspection, it is clear that Mccabe and Buff ultimately share a very…show more content…
Altman immediately subverts the Western stereotype of the mountain man in the beginning shots of Mccabe and Mrs. Miller. In a traditional Western, the protagonist might be introduced by the camera at a low, tight angle, gradually panning up to reach his face. This camera movement allows the protagonist to occupy the full space of the screen as it slowly takes in his entire form, indicating his size, power, strength, competence, and dominance. It also establishes the audience as the submissive, as they are allowed no recourse but to gawk upwards, like a child, at the protagonist’s fearless face. But Altman positions the camera in a way which reverses this order by anointing the audience as the dominant and relegating Mccabe as the submissive. The first shot of the film is a wide shot, with the camera positioned high above Mccabe on his horse. He does not even remotely fill the frame; he occupies maybe less than ten percent of it. He does not seem large and dignified, but rather small and swamped by his environment. Altman then cuts to another wide shot, but this time positioned lower so that we cannot even see his face, only his horses trudging along. Altman then cuts to a medium close up of Mccabe, the first time the audience is allowed a clear view of his face. Normally, this would be a…show more content…
Kieślowski introduces Filip with a medium close up shot positioned near his waist, after his pregnant wife, Irka, has just awaked and is in labor. The screen is cramped. He is framed by the door on all sides; the domestic realm of the house seems to envelop him so snugly that he can barely fit in it. He is hunched over, ostensibly craning in an effort to be smaller while struggling to cut a piece of bread. This shot lasts only a couple of seconds, but it supplies the viewer with a bounty of information: Filip is a man enclosed by domestic life, crouching to fit inside of it. He is so emasculated that he can barely cut a piece of bread. Kieślowski also breaks gender conventions about pregnancy. Quite often it is the pregnant mother who is flustered and frazzled, hysteric and scatter-brained. Strategically positioning the camera, Kieślowski bestows that role onto the father instead. Kieślowski cuts to a medium wide shot of Filip carrying Irka down the street to the hospital. Not only is he struggling physically to carry her, but he never is allowed to occupy the full frame. Whereas in the previous scene he dominated the screen, cramped and encased in his domestic life, now he is lost in the frame, frazzled and lost in the prospect of fatherhood. In both cases, this introduction does not imply a vision of male confidence and competence, but rather one of a small man either dwarfed by

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