In this essay I will discuss the and compare two beautiful movies which are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Casablanca. Even though the two movies were shot in the different times they have chosen as one of the most iconic, pleasurable and classic Hollywood movies. This essay aims to compare the two movies and find similarities in terms of cinematographic techniques, editing and narrative. These techniques have helped to create amazing atmosphere and charming stories of love during the war times. It is believed that producers of the movie used different techniques to create classic Hollywood movie atmosphere which is believed to be the form of art and brilliance.
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The Casablanca movie starts with the close up shot cinematography technique. This techniques aims to picture the entire head of the person and focusing on the face, mimics and emotions on the face of the person. Meanwhile this technique ignores the background because producer or director want to show the exact feelings and mood of the main characters. This technique used in the scene which introduces Rick’s Café for the first time. Close up Shots are used to show all of the people in the Café which came to the Casablanca all over the world: immigrants, different nations, smugglers, businessmen and etc. They all having fun, playing cards and drinking. We can see that they feel happy, cheerful despite the World War II and the fact that they have left their homes and past lives. In the scene we also introduced to the Rick who is the main character. By showing his emotions we can see that he is confident man and positive person which helps us to understand that he will be the main character of the movie. On the contrary, The Grand Budapest Hotel introduces us with the main character Gustavo and his daily routine by using absolutely different technique. In film the symmetry frame technique was used in order to show the daily lives of the main character. The Gustavo was positioned in the center of the frame as in the pictures or photos. And details of the background have been symmetrically positioned and were even shown interesting details in the background to create a whole picture. This helps us to understand the atmposhere which surrounds main characters. The Gustavo is surrounded by perfect symmetry, beautiful decorations in his perfect life. Even though two films were using different cinematography techniques they both have managed to illustrate the atmosphere of that days and casual lives of the main characters. In Casablanca it was transitioned by using emotions of surrounding people while in the Grand Budapest Hotel the producers used the decorations, furniture and other objects to emphasize the people’s characters.
Also I want to express my attention to the other cinematography techniques. In Casablanca we can see a lot of over-the-shoulder techniques usage. This technique helps to tell the story and emotions of the dialogue by focusing on the people. In this shot the shoulder and head of the person from the back is in the front shot while the focus is on the person on the background who is stays in front of the camera. I have noticed this techniques many times in Casablanca, especially in the dramatic and important scenes such as when the main character shots the Nazi policeman. This helps to create something more realistic from the viewer’s point of view and create real atmosphere of tension, drama and communication between people in the movie. However, the Grand Budapest used different shooting technique which is called bird eye technique which shows the scenes from birds perspective. I believe that in 1941 when Casablanca was shot this technique was difficult to use. But I have seen that there some high angles perspective in the shots with showing the city and streets of Casablanca. These techniques are wonderful in terms of showing the dramatization effect and creates memorable scenes. I can conclude that Casablanca’s techniques were intended to make the movie more realistic to the viewer while The Grand Budapest Hotel was made to tell a story in the form of beautiful story, picture or theatre play.
The next important part of movie analysis is editing which gives the path, the temp to the story. Both movies used famous technique which known as continuity editing. This technique helps to create continuous narrative by cutting scenes in the certain manner. The purpose of the continuity editing is to create smooth transitions between scenes so viewers will not notice the changes and will perceive the action as a one story in the long shut. Again in the Casablanca we can see a lot of these techniques used. For example, in the scene where the Ricks Café was introduced we can see a streamline of the actions of the camera which leads us from the outside street to the Rick signing the check. We can see the flow of situations which go smoothly from shot to shot. By this the camera introduces us to the visitors of the café and let us know exactly in which part of the café we are looking at. The continuity is appering consistently during the whole movie. In all of the scenes with main characters who are Rick and Ilsa we can see that they always stay in the same positions. The Rick is staying on the right side and Ilsa is staying on the left side. This help to perceive the whole movie as one true story and helps to see the true relationships of the couple. Also this helps create the atmosphere of the class Hollywood style movie. In the Grand Budapest Hotel the continuity editing was used during the whole movie too. That is why we can feel the similarity of the Grand Budapest Hotel with other old American movies. One of the main and longest scenes of continuity editing is in the story line of Zero when Gustavo trains and teaches him to work in the hotel. Even though this shows the actions taken during the month they were shot in the manner of constant and consistent storyline. This help us to see how Zero and Gustavo created the bond between them and in what directions they relationships were developing. It helps to understand the feelings and emotions of the Zero and see the story from his point of view. Therefore, we can see that even movies were shot in the different ages they both used classical technique of editing which gives charming atmosphere and more understandable illustration of the main actions behind the movie.
The Casablanca story is focused on the main character Rick by telling his life and using omniscient narration. This technique tells the story and the line by using the voice of third person from Rick’s perspective. In Casablanca I can hear that the voice of man is very passionate, bold and loud. This creates certain rhythm and tone of the movie. Because Rick is the main character of the story Ilsa and her husband are presented only on the half of the movie. Moreover, we can see that the whole narrative style uses classical way of telling the story. There we can see that authors used cause and effect strategy in telling the story. The plot mainly centralizes on the main characters and focuses on their relationships actions and motives. Through this narrative we can see the development of Character of Rick and that he make a continuous fight between love and moral duty. The main conflict of the movie is the struggle between staying with your love or go and continue your commitment to the society. In the Grand Budapest Hotel the producer used framed narrative. It illustrates the story in the story which give us more interesting illustration of the main acts. There are two different stories in the movie. First is the story of the author who visits Grand Budapest in the current time and meets the Moustafa. In this story he illustrates the poor conditions of the hotel and meeting the Moustafa. Then Moustafa tell his story of how he got this hotel and main scenes from his youth. That is why we see frame narrative. We can see that both movies uses different styles. The one uses the classical one and other uses something more unusual and interesting.
In conclusion, both movies have created an amazing examples of when the movie become the part of the art. Filmmakers by using classical and unusual techniques can create the beautiful story with old time atmosphere, classic Hollywood movie atmosphere and both stories tells the story of love during the war. The Casablanca movie uses mostly close up and over the shoulder techniques in order to picture the main events while Grand Budapest uses the framework symmetry and from the bird point of view technique in the main actions. Also Casablanca used classic narrative style of omniscient technique. On the contrary, Grand Budapest used framed narrative. The modern interpretation with classical interpretation have created the beautiful and dramatic stories. The main similarity is the use of continuity editing. It helps to maintain the same atmosphere and smooth sequence of the story. Even though authors used different techniques, they managed to create old time classic and iconic pieces of art.