How can cinema be poetic? For video essayist Tony Zhou, it’s when he can “ignore the plot and just appreciate the picture and sound doing something unique.” That’s how he opens his latest episode of Every Frame a Painting, which pays special attention to the works of Lynne Ramsay and analyzes the way in which the director uses small details to convey something important and meaningful. He uses several different shots from “Ratcatcher” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” to highlight the poetic nature of her films and even devotes a portion of his video essay to Ramsay’s early short film “Gasman,” analyzing her style even further.
With Ramsay, “everything is conveyed through the camera, the person’s face, and the details.” And oftentimes, she’s able to imply meaning in the story she’s telling by taking a “less is more” approach. It’s not about what it’s in the frame, but rather what’s out of it. Zhou cites several examples in which the director doesn’t let you see a character in full, but instead cuts part of their body out of the frame, which makes Ramsay’s films feel mysterious. She’s the type of director who forces you to make the connections yourself instead of spelling it all out for you.
As usual, it’s a very intriguing video. While his Every Frame a Painting series has gained popularity thanks to his essays about Jackie Chan and Michael Bay, it’s nice to see Zhou shed light on filmmakers that may not otherwise get the same amount of attention. So, kudos to you, sir.