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UAL Research Online

How Cinematography Creates Meaning in Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997)

Greenhalgh, Cathy (2005) How Cinematography Creates Meaning in Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997). In: Style and Meaning Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film. Manchester University Press, Manchester England, pp. 195-213. ISBN 0719065259

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Greenhalgh, Cathy

“How Cinematography Contributes to Meaning in Happy Together” is a chapter in 'Style and Meaning – Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film', a book edited by John Gibbs and Doug Pye. Other contributors included noted film theorists V.F. Perkins, George M. Wilson, Deborah Thomas, Andrew Klevan, and Laura Mulvey.

The edited volume sought to establish the parameters of an innovative approach to film studies that would bring to the fore questions of value, meaning and interpretation, critical categories that have, for a long time, been relegated to the sidelines within cinematic discourse. The vehicle through which the book achieves this objective is a methodological approach designated “close analysis”. The researcher’s chapter demonstrated that close analysis could be productively applied not just to editing or the direction of actors but to cinematography itself, understood as lighting, framing and composition and the representation of movement and rest through the camera.

The film chosen, Happy Together, is a key text within the emerging New Asian Cinema and the researcher was able to draw upon two primary interviews, conducted by herself, with the director’s long-standing collaborator, director of photography, Chris Doyle. The particular aesthetic adopted by the film required the author to connect issues relating to cinematography to the role of music and choreography in the establishment of style and meaning in the film’s constructed world. The dynamic inter-relations between these various components were critically explored through focused and detailed “sequence analysis”.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Cathy is a Principal Lecturer and a Course Director of MA Investigating Film Practice (due to begin now 2010/11), and BA Film and Video (now BA Film and Television) for several years. She teaches practice classes in cinematography for fiction, television and documentary and co-teaches with directing and production design staff.

Cathy also delivers lectures on e.g.: Wildlife Filmmaking, Presence and Space, Documentary Ethics and Performance, Film and Landscape, Interactive Storytelling, Dance on Film, Practice as Research and writes about cinematographers and filmmaking practices, performance and narrative, creative collaboration and practice language, film aesthetics and cinematographic phenomena. This work is influenced by ethnographic work with feature film cinematographers undertaken over ten years and various projects with students, including CLIPCETL studies of creative collaboration and how students learn on the film set.

Cathy is co-founder with Sal Anderson of UAL's Film and Phenomena Creative Laboratory which promotes discussion and collaborative film works with scientists. She originally trained at the National Film and Television School and worked as a cinematographer for years in the British film industry.

Cathy directs films which incorporate choreography, documentary and animation elements, using a combination of media for film/gallery spaces. Her last film, 'Aftermath' (2006) a collaboration with choreographer Rosemary Butcher and acoustic composer Cathy Lane was screened at many festivals in Europe and beyond. Cathy is currently working on two films, 'Switch - Luminous Blackpool', about natural and artificial light and 'Cottonopolis', which explores similarities in the experiences of elderly cotton mill workers and their descendants in Manchester, Lodz (Poland), Ahmedabad (India) and Shanghai.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Manchester University Press
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 2005
Related Websites: http://www.lcc.arts.ac.uk/Cathy_Greenhalgh_research.htm
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Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 13:24
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2010 12:17
Item ID: 1282
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1282

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