Can someone please justify the butt shot at the start?

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wiggle
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Can someone please justify the butt shot at the start?

#1 Post by wiggle » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:17 pm

I've been trying to think why Sofia would have a close-up shot of Scarlett's rear end in see-through underwear. However nice it is, I can't think of a possible reason why they started the film with that, other than to grab attention. Any ideas?
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#2 Post by jml98 » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:58 pm

this is answered somewhere else, but anyways...apparently Sofia really liked Kubrick's "Lolita" and the butt shot is, i guess, her way of showing that. In the opening scene of lolita, there is a close up of some feet...in LiT, there's scarlett and her butt...you could probably google it, and theres some more stuff, some quotes from sofia also...this is just the short answer


ps. thanks to bob for deleting the stupid lesbian "posts"....they were just annoying, really
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#3 Post by wiggle » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:47 pm

Yes but why did she have to focus on the bottom of all parts?

Also, is the "dumb pictures of your feet" a reference to Kubrick again?
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#4 Post by hull_street » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:04 pm

I'm sorry, but I don't buy the "Lolita"-reference theory. I have questioned the use of this as the opening shot, as well, of course. I linked it in my mind with the shot of Mt. Fuji in the background while Bob is playing golf, about halfway through the film.

It's not the central object that makes the shot, it is the use of color and light that really sets it apart. That opening shot of Charlotte, with its soft-focus, warm pink and light brown tones, and soft music in the background, sets the tone of the film much more effectively than if Sofia had simply opened with the shots of Bob riding through Tokyo. It is also kind of a hook to keep you wondering who she is.

I sometimes wonder if the scene between John and Charlotte was a bit of a mis-take. While John is telling her of the "lock-and-loll" photo-shoot, she is repeatedly walking around him in her underwear, and he is completely oblivious to her. She fiddles with her scarf, then asks him if he thinks "this is done". I think the scene might have been much more effective if she hadn't been referring to the scarf, necessarily, but rather their marriage. There isn't enough ambivalence to the scene, and I think it would have been a nice touch to have kept that a question mark.

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#5 Post by Just Like Honey... » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:23 pm

my opinion is that it's a microcosm of the film as a whole in that sex is an awkward topic that is obviously there but is never really brought up.
I'd rather be a gear in a big, deterministic, physical machine than just some random swerving.

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#6 Post by hull_street » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:44 pm

Good point, Just Like Honey. The fact that the shot is presented in essentially a non-sexual manner emphasises this. I liked what you said about it being a microcosm of the whole film, you're absolutely right.

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#7 Post by jml98 » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:15 pm

from sofia herself:

http://www.bpp.com/law/main/student_lif ... oppola.pdf

its a PDF, but you can view it in html....sofia is quoted as saying (the quote btw, is apparently from an interview with IMDB) that she didn't have an intellectual reason for the opening shot of the pink underwear, and that she always liked the Lolita title sequence...the stuff about the microcosm of the whole film may be true, but personally, i think your reading a little too much into it... :D
Last edited by jml98 on Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#8 Post by hull_street » Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:46 am

Read too much into LiT ? Me ? It has been known to happen on occasion, I'll admit... Well, I think it comes down to another "mood over logic" decision. It just feels right, somehow, even if it doesn't necessarily make sense.

Alen S.

Hmm...

#9 Post by Alen S. » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:36 am

The first time I saw it, I was amazed:
"Wow, a nice butt as the very first shot."
My female friend was like "okayyy..." Obviously not amused.
Getting older though, I don't see it as just an a**-shot.
I think it's there to provide a little shock value or something, like wearing a shirt that says "frak you" on it. I can understand why Coppola put it there for that reason. She could be the kind of young person to do a thing like that, especially considering her parentage.
However, all the reasons stated in this thread are valid. The one about it being a well- thought out composition shot is very interesting, too.
Boy, I love this movie.
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Alen.

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#10 Post by Alen S » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:39 am

^^^ That's me. I meant "f*** you" also, not "frak" you.
Haha. Frak you.
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#11 Post by damajo » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:07 am

As an additional note on this subject:

" "Lost in Translation" fans will notice that this John Kacere painting is remarkably similar to the film's opening shot. In fact, Sofia Coppola freely admits that she got the idea for the shot from looking at Kacere's work. "

http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/001278.html

It does have a slight tang of film school homage, but I think that is part of the naive and visceral charm of the film.

About a year has passed since I first saw the film, and I still think of it compulsively, like a fleeting relationship that I don't want to fade.

A community like this, that exists to support the insomniac adoration of such a wonderful film, reassures me of the social validity of the Internet.

Might have to watch it again tonight.... hope Bob and Charlotte remember me.

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#12 Post by Guest » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:54 am

hull_street wrote:I'm sorry, but I don't buy the "Lolita"-reference theory. I have questioned the use of this as the opening shot, as well, of course. I linked it in my mind with the shot of Mt. Fuji in the background while Bob is playing golf, about halfway through the film.

It's not the central object that makes the shot, it is the use of color and light that really sets it apart. That opening shot of Charlotte, with its soft-focus, warm pink and light brown tones, and soft music in the background, sets the tone of the film much more effectively than if Sofia had simply opened with the shots of Bob riding through Tokyo. It is also kind of a hook to keep you wondering who she is.

I sometimes wonder if the scene between John and Charlotte was a bit of a mis-take. While John is telling her of the "lock-and-loll" photo-shoot, she is repeatedly walking around him in her underwear, and he is completely oblivious to her. She fiddles with her scarf, then asks him if he thinks "this is done". I think the scene might have been much more effective if she hadn't been referring to the scarf, necessarily, but rather their marriage. There isn't enough ambivalence to the scene, and I think it would have been a nice touch to have kept that a question mark.
If Scarlett had said something to her husband about their marriage it would have, for me, destroyed the meaning of the film. The film is about personal battles (Charlotte not knowing what to do with her life, Bob coming to terms with the fact that he's not as big a star as he used to be) and if either one ever tried to directly confront the problem within the film itself, it would've lost meaning. For me, the film is about that voiceless need to be understood and through Charlotte's and Bob's relationship, they're one step closer to being able to express their needs. However disparate they are in terms of age, they're at very similar points in their lives and that's what draws them together. Perhaps Charlotte will say something to John when they go back home and perhaps Bob will say something more than "I'm completely lost" to Lydia, but I thought as I watched the film for the first time that a confrontation between the couples would seem completely out of place in terms of what the film stands for. In actual fact, that scene you mention with Scarlett and the scarf is perfect. It's an easily recognisable metaphor for her tip-toeing around the subject of marriage; you can sense she wants to say something but knows that she's not yet come to terms with what she's feeling.

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#13 Post by wiggle » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:59 am

The message above was from me by the way - I forgot to log in!
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#14 Post by jml2 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:57 am

from the IMDB trivia section for LIT:
The painting in Charlotte's hotel room in Tokyo was done by John Kacere called "Jutta" (1973). Kacere is a famous photorealist who specialized in photographing women in lingerie.

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#15 Post by jm » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:30 pm

"[quote:732bbe8cc0="jml98"]from sofia herself:
http://www.bpp.com/law/main/student_lif ... oppola.pdf
[/quote:732bbe8cc0]
Well, this is no longer there (
http://www.bpp.com/law/main/student_lif ... nt_mag.htm
) and I don't see a way to any archives. Did anyone download it and can it be put in the files here?

--Oops, it's your fault jml, you put a period at the end. Sheesh."
Last edited by jm on Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can someone please justify the butt shot at the start?

#16 Post by jm » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:34 pm

"[quote:c0a392eb6f="wiggle"]I've been trying to think why Sofia would have a close-up shot of Scarlett's rear end in see-through underwear. However nice it is, I can't think of a possible reason why they started the film with that, other than to grab attention. Any ideas?[/quote:c0a392eb6f]
I wouldn't try to justify even my very existence, let alone anything else.

But it introduces Charlotte as a sexy and desirable woman, which Bill has to spend the rest of the movie trying not to think about. (I could have said, Bill and Charlotte.)

Sofia says:

I always liked the Lolita title sequence, [it’s] abstract and iconic and feminine. And later you see her hanging out in the pink underwear. It's just supposed to be an impression of her, if [the film] is all memories. I thought it would just cut nicely -- to see pink underwear and then neon. These movies are collages. I didn't really have an intellectual reason. You just do what you like and not think about it too much."
Last edited by jm on Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can someone please justify the butt shot at the start?

#17 Post by jml2 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:49 pm

[it’s] abstract and iconic and feminine. And later you see her hanging out in the pink underwear. It's just supposed to be an impression of her, if [the film] is all memories. I thought it would just cut nicely -- to see pink underwear and then neon.
perfect reasons if you ask me

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#18 Post by jml98 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:15 pm

johnmonkey wrote:
--Oops, it's your fault jml, you put a period at the end. Sheesh.
hmm....so i did! i edited it though....i heard that painting theory somewhere, but didnt' read much into it...
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The opening butt shot.

#19 Post by Pitman » Wed May 03, 2006 3:16 pm

Wow, I can't believe I'm replying to posts over a year ago. I feel like a wandering ghost in a forum whose denizens have all departed. It's like being in Kyoto alone, taking in the ambience but not really interacting with anyone.

Well, here it goes. The butt shot.

To me, it does set up the movie. It's not presented in an overtly sexual way. It's just a bottom. But at the same time, of course, it can be very enticing. Then the scene cuts to Bob in the limo. So, we then get the sense that Bob has a surprise encounter waiting for him. One that can present him with two options, sexual or admirable. When we look at nudity we personally interpret the images according to our own conditionings and expectations. But how those images are presented can greatly affect how we react to them.

To me, the opening shot is not a sexually-charged image. But to someone else, it may be exactly that. A good artist paints a picture or tells a story and leaves the audience to fill in the blanks and make their own interpretations. So, an opening shot like that is controvesial as is the ending of the film. And how controvesial is it to start a movie off by showing them the end.

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#20 Post by Beery » Tue May 09, 2006 1:44 am

I'm not sure why that shot needs 'justification'. What's so controversial about it? There are certainly more controversial shots in the film - e.g. the 'violence is fun' sequence where the two main characters are running from a spoof 'hitman' could be seen in a disturbing light; the nudie bar sequence might also be disturbing to some folks; the most disturbing scene might be the one where Bill Murray's character has cheated on his wife - at least that's the one that disturbs me the most. I don't see anything in the least disturbing about the first scene. It's just a woman laying on a bed. What's there to justify?
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