Memories of Murder (2003) – Ensemble Staging

Memories of Murder (2003) – Ensemble Staging

Hi, my name is Tony,
and this is Every Frame a Painting. There’s a quote that I love
from Alexander Mackendrick. He said :“What a film director really directs
is the audience attention …
… Directing is a matter of emphasis …… You emphasize what is important …… by under-emphasizing
what is less so.”
These days, most directors create emphasis
by cutting from close-up … … to close up … … to close up. But too much coverage is exhausting,
especially for the actors.– And say, oh, so now,
you’re gonne be a mechanic,
so you should master close, close, closer,
over, over, over …
I go hard lining, and say “Look,
I’m not gonna do that.”,
because you already got
everything you need to tell the audience
what they need to know
about what’s happening here.
So today, let’s consider a different option.
Instead of standard coverage, let’s put all the actors
in the same frame, and let them perform together. In other words, let’s talk about
‘ensemble staging’. Ensemble staging is all about
creating emphasis without using a cut The first thing to remember is that
we naturally look at whoever is speaking … and whoever is being spoken to. This is often combined with
a second technique : if someone is more important,
put them closer to the light, or closer to the lens. If you want someone to be less noticeable,
move them further away, maybe out of focus. Of course, attention is relative.
Sometimes, you can get the audience to look at something,
even when it’s out of focus. By having it move. We’re especially aware
when somebody moves their hands … or moves their eyes. You can also guide the audience by putting
something close to the center of the frame. In fact, this is one of the film’s
running jokes. Characters in the middle of the shot … … who keep attacking the suspects. Which brings us to #5 :
the body position of the actors. How are the characters turned
in relation to the lens ? Do we see their whole face …
or 3/4 ? Is it a profile … or another angle
where we don’t see the face at all ? When you have multiple actors in a shot,
it’s important to have some variation. The audience doesn’t need to look at
a character right now : turn him around. Notice how by doing this,
you’re creating contrast. The 3 cops on the right face each other,
while detective Seo looks elsewhere. In fact, for the first half-hour, he’s
constantly placed away from the main group, looking at documents
that everyone else is ignoring. This bring us to #7 : Subtly moving the camera. Here watch out the shot
narrow our focus from 4 characters … … down to 2.
While here, our attention moves from one side of the argument, to the other,
fore-settling on the eventual winner. And last of all, don’t forget that
human beings are social creatures : We look where other people are looking. So with all that, let’s consider why Bong Joon-ho
would stage something as an ensemble. This is my favourite shot
in the entire film. At first we think it’s one story,
an argument between two cops. And Bong seems to do very little.
He just lets our attention move from detective Park …
to detective Seo. But in the center of frame,
something catches our eye, and we realize another character,
detective Cho, is making out with the hostess in the back. So now we have 2 stories :
foreground & background. And Bong plays them against each other,
to contrast the serious … … with the silly. As the scene builds,
he slowly pushes the camera in, which hides the 2 women,
and focus our attention on the main pair. And he lets the actors use their hands
to tell the story, especially when the argument
reaches his breaking point. But suddenly, the chief enters the scene. This is the moment when
the ensemble staging pays off. We have an unexpected third story, and
it interrupts both of the others. With a joke.>From now on, the rest of the scene
is the third story, as the chief outlines his plan
to catch the serial killer. But why do this in one shot ?
I think it underscores the theme. The first story is a petty argument.
The second story is just lust. None of these cops is doing work,
they’re all being selfish. It’s not until the third story that
they think about the victims and the case. The chief literally provides
the moral center of the frame. And if Bong had shot this scene
with coverage, we wouldn’t see the connection
between the first story … … and the second.
And from both stories … … to the third. This is the kind of directing that is
unbelievably rare today, and it shows the value of
playing a scene as an ensemble, rather than cutting
from one face to another.– Because sometimes, I just want to stay
in that particular place, with the actors,
and let the actors settle it,
and not let you help me tell the story
by getting closer to my face.
Just let me do it.
Subtitles by the community

100 thoughts on “Memories of Murder (2003) – Ensemble Staging

  1. Heyyy guys watch Mеmоriеs of Murdeеer oonlinе hеre =>

  2. Does any of you guys now where can i watch this movie online in HD with subtittles? weeks ago i saw it again on a shitty website in 360p.

  3. MMMy gf rеeеeаllуy lovеs this film. Wе found full moviе herе =>

  4. Actually, i just saw the movie just for look at ur video after that, and great video ! i have a theory for the end, most of the people tell that we can't know about the murderer, but think about it " SPOILERS" when the girl says that he got a normal face, maybe it was the young man in the tunnel at the end, he got a normal asian face i guess, and i think that the sperm found is not his one,  because the one who masturbated on the corpse was another guy, the one they trapped with a pinkie underwear ^^ what do u guys think about that ?

  5. man, i love to come her and see that every movie that i've watched before and love is beautifully commented and painting by your analysis! love your channel!

  6. Memories of Murder est un excellent film, avec une ambiance très particulière. À voir absolument, en VOST, bien sûr, la langue originale participe à l'atmosphère du film.

  7. How Bong Joon-Ho went from directing this, to snowpiercer is beyond me. One of my favorite films of all time, to the absolute worst piece of garbage ever put to film.

  8. This is one of those very few times I would like to request something from a youtube channel… your'e great at what you do. I'd like to see you make a video about lighting. another dude did it using stanley kubrick's work (practical lighting) I would like to see such a lesson from you. keep up these educational films !

  9. I hate how EFP videos like these are ignored in favor of ones with popular names attached to them, despite each video containing an incredible amount of analysis, that would only further serve to increase ones enjoyment of the medium.
    I'm definitely being cynical, but I feel that the average viewer is only concerned with hearing people talk about things they already know about, rather than learning something new. And it fucking sucks.

  10. This was Bong joon Ho second movie and already he gave one the best police crime thrillers of all time. A sharp sense of direction and cinematography, and brilliant writing (though this was based on a real series of murders). It had amazing performances especially from the legendary Song Kang Ho who is probably my favourite actor period. He may have directed other masterpieces but this is my favourite Bong Joon Ho movie.

  11. Memories of Murder was my first korean movie and the true movie to set me down the path of discovering Asian cinema … I always knew there was a special magic underlying in this movie ,, and I see it was in the Cinematography .. Thank you for this video

  12. 2:00 WOAH! I never noticed that! Look towards the left of the girl and you can see the man's face pop out of the field in the distance!

  13. I notice that some ensemble staging technique appears in Bong Joon-ho's next film The Host (2006). There are a lot more closeups, but most actors are able to fit in the frame in most parts, and there is less ensemble staging because it focuses more on the visuals and scenery and emotion. Mother (2009), however, is completely the opposite. It features telephoto profile shots (Every Frame a Painting did another video on this), and extreme closeups. Bong's films sorta start as ensemble staging, and The Host transitions his technique slightly from Ensemble to Closeup, a prominent camera angle in the following film Mother.

  14. Still watching and Learning 🙂 thanks for reminding us what makes a great film,scene, shot, and story.

  15. Easily the greatest Korean movie I have seen. Oldboy is so overrated, but this one to way too underappreciated

  16. I re-watched this last night, probably the third time i've seen it now. It just gets better with each viewing, knowing the story behind the very final scene as he stares directly into the camera is chilling – the director said he knew that the killer will probably watch the movie one day. So he's not so much looking at the audience as he is directly at the killer. I also noticed the score for the first time, i dunno how i missed it the first 2 times but the music is utterly brilliant, the composer is Taro Iwashiro if you're looking for it. The movies is a masterpiece overall – i'm sad that this channel no longer exists.

  17. I've seen this movie a dozen times and never noticed Detective Cho making out behind the seats, and that's one of my favourite scenes too. Now I have to watch it again ; )

  18. I know this is old by now and maybe you don't care much, but you keep pronouncing Detective Seo's name as Say-oh when the pronunciation is closer to Suh. 서. Korean family names are all single syllable and Say-oh would be 세오. Romanization of ㅓ is eo but pronounced like uh. This is the same character used in Seoul 서울 and Samsung 산성.

  19. Hi Tony. Finally Bong’s awarded!! Strangely, you came up with the first thing. I want to see you again as a Big fan.

  20. 열살 때 살인의 추억보고 며칠 동안 잠을 못잠. 너무 소름끼치고 악몽에 시달릴 정도로 무서웠음. 실화라는 거 듣고 눈 뒤집힐 뻔. 대체 엄마는 왜 나랑 이걸 같이 본거야.. 우리 모두 연령 등급 심의를 준수합시다

  21. South Koreans made movie that put Hollywood to shame.South Korean Action is the Granddaddy of them all

  22. You should check out Joiny Security Area and the Chaser… and I Saw the Devil for anyone feeling extra venturous!

  23. Since 2000 South Korea exports some of the best movie of genre in the world.

    "Memories of murder" is one of the best serial killer movie ever (Next to "Zodiac").

    "The Host" is probably THE BEST monster movie.. Period.

    "The Chaser" one of best thriller in recent memories. So intense and brutal !

    "The Wailing" is one of best horror movie of the decade ! Fuckin AMAZING
    And "Train to Busan" is an amazing action movie that makes World war z look like cheap and crap in comparison !

    And I forget many others …

  24. When I watched this film in the theater at 2003, I almost pissed at 02:00 like… Man… And I asked friends after the end credit, only 2 out of 5 friends of mine noticed! Scary as f

  25. We watch hundreds of movies,
    like tens of them,
    love countable ones on our finger tips,
    but –
    ONE movie, in particular, comes close to our heart and mind…
    It might be either a pleasant, lovable romantic movie or a thought provoking, mind fucking movie OR a disturbing, haunting movie which we call as THE ABSOLUTE FAVORITE.

    For me, this is it. "Memories of Murder" is THE ONE!!!
    I have watched this movie like a decade ago and have seen this like 15 times, yet this one still gives me the same "WTF" feeling as I've got the first time and it still does.

    If you feel the same about any movie, English or any other language, do mention your ABSOLUTE FAVORITE

  26. The last scene in rain was my favourite it explains everything even when actors are not talking much and the ending as well .

  27. Koreans caught 'The Real One'. The murderer was in prison already, for the another murder. Now we have the true ending for the movie

  28. On 18 September 2019, police announced that a man in his 50s had been identified as a suspect in the serial murders. He was identified after DNA from the underwear of one of the victims was matched with his, but he can't be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired. As of 2019, the suspect is in prison for a "similar crime."

  29. Finally in 2019 this unsolved since 1986 murder is solved. The suspect was already in jail. Because of another murder that regarded as independent accident with 'the series of murder'. He was close to release because he was model prisoner. And this murder is statute-barred. National assembly is discussing this now.

  30. Some of my favourite Korean films, in no particular order are

    Train to Busan
    Nameless Gangster
    Memories of Murder
    The Yellow Sea
    Man from Nowhere
    I Saw The Devil
    A Dirty Carnival
    The Chaser
    Memoir of a Murderer
    The Wailing
    Drug Wars – Chinese
    A Bittersweet Life
    New World
    Welcome to Dongmakgol

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