As we develop our ideation towards an outcome, an idea which that struck with the group since day one was the notion of a detectives board detailing the events of the film with introspection. However, knowing very well that we would eventually deviate from this idea, we began to conceptualise the notion of a cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is the process of taking still photography and compositing basic movement in the loop such as someone walking in a cycle or perhaps filling a coin continuously.
For example, on the website cinemagraphs.com, there are a series of fashion photographs that have a subtle movement that adds a sense of sophistication and modesty that heightens the impact of the overall image. For Fargo, this could be a significant justification for the style. Fargo maintains a very dry aesthetic to convey the monotony of it’s tone and reinforce the feeling of loneliness and depression of characters. Using cinemagraphs, we can convey the cinematography of Roger Deakins which contains minimal movement in the action which almost every shot composed as static. There is a chilliness and feeling of being frozen that is present throughout the shots. By containing the movement, we can also convey the pacing of the film and stay within context.
The idea of the cinemagraph was to convey themes, style and story within the context of objectivity. There were various ways to approach this, but one of the major combinations was to create an epilogue through a single frame (well, frames). The epilogue is based on the fact that both Gaear and Jerry are arrested, hence an interrogation was a prominent way to show the aftermath. In this instance, objectivity presenting the events on a board behind the character while they tell their side of the story shows both the objectivity of the narrative as well as the theme of deception and lies. The interview could then be suggested to be the basis of the ‘reconstruction’ element of the narrative, which claims to be based on true events.
By using a backlight, we can silhouette the character out to keep it ambiguous to those not familiar with the character as well as drawing on establishing the film noir tone through low key lighting and mystery. In order to effectively make the composition work, there would have to be 3 lights rigged to draw exposure to 3 points of visual contact – the desk, the obscured character and the board. The problem with the backlight is that it draws exposure away from the desk, hence a balance of lighting is necessary. In that regards, tungsten lights would be essential to the balance as the par can, which is bright enough to create a halo effect around the silhouetted character, needs to sync with the other lights. Alternatively, fluorescent is more contextualised as it gives off more green and grain to intensity, as well as it becoming most common in interview rooms.
For movement, a subtle wind can blow the paper in the background to give a chilly and ominous atmosphere while a tape recorder could spin as an audio recording of Gaear being interviewed plays. Finally, a cigarette will infer to the character being interviewed. Cigarettes are a common theme in film noir, but considering Gaear smokes continuously, it suggests who the silhouette is. Or possibly, Jerry has sunk so low he smokes to calm his likely terribly anxious nerves.
Further to the idea of a simple composition, it’s also possible to give an 1990’s tape filter by adding grain and scrapes as if it’s an old school recording or found footage. The original notion was to suggest the composition to be a POV shot.