Saturday 30 November 2013

"Alice's Restaurant"

Woody Guthrie was a folk singer from Oklahoma, who wrote protest songs during the Dust Bowl era of Okie migration to California. Woody had a son called Arlo Guthrie, who wrote protest songs during the Vietnam conscription era. One of his songs, one that cheered me through high school back in the late 1960s, was Alice's Restaurant. I had the LP and I played it a lot.

One aspect of the song which failed to leave a lasting impression on me is the fact that it is a Thanksgiving song. Probably because we don't have Thanksgiving in Australia and I was never quite sure of the significance.

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant...
Anyway, it has become a tradition in the USA for classic rock stations to play Alice's Restaurant, in full, on Thanksgiving. I say "in full" because the song runs for 18 minutes. A four minute version was released as a single, but, hey, why bother?

Up until yesterday, when I read a post on The Black List by Shaula Evans, it had never occurred to me that there might be people in the world who are unfamiliar with this song. So here it is, a belated Thanksgiving present to us all.

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Friday 29 November 2013

Screenwriter's Lecture - Brian Helgeland

Writer Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Payback, Mystic River, Man on Fire,) explains what it feels like to win an Oscar and a Razzie on the same weekend, why he thinks writer's block is a myth, and reveals Clint Eastwood's unique powers of persuasion.

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Thursday 28 November 2013


Over the years there have been many magazines with a focus on Hollywood and the movies. One such was the Screenland magazine, which was established in Los Angeles, California, and published between September 1920 and June 1971.

In 1923 the magazine reported a love affair between Evelyn Brent and Douglas Fairbanks, resulting in legal threats, and a retraction.

The little lady on the front cover is clutching a Decree of Divorce.

In 1921, the process whereby enthusiastic amateurs submitted screenplay ideas for movies was already well established. If you were a subscriber to Screenland magazine, you could submit your story idea to "The Scenario Editor" and receive a "detailed criticism" on the What's the Matter with My Story? page.

Here are a couple of examples of the feedback provided.

This assessment—Yours is the hardest manuscript to read that we have ever seen—was published in 1921. The film Her Accidental Husband was released two years later by Belasco Productions. I don't know what happened to the script during that transition, but I think the moral of the story is, Never Give Up! ________________________________________________________________________

Mildred Harris (1901–1944) was a harem girl in D. W. Griffith's film Intolerance (1916). She appeared as a leading lady through the 1920s, but her career slowed with the coming of sound.

The sixteen-year old Harris met actor Charlie Chaplin in mid-1918. They married in October 1918. She conned Chaplin into marrying her by falsely claiming she was pregnant. And she later took him to the cleaners in a lucrative divorce settlement. During their brief marriage she did become pregnant but that baby died at birth. During the divorce that followed this loss, Louis B. Mayer attempted to exploit Chaplin’s domestic difficulties by trying to sign Mildred Harris to a film contract, billing her as "Mrs. Charlie Chaplin." L.B. and Charlie actually squared off and got into a brief fist fight (with Mayer landing a sucker punch).

Harris filed for divorce on the basis of mental cruelty in 1920. Chaplin accused her of infidelity, and, though he would not name her lover publicly, Alla Nazimova was suspected. Divorce was granted in November 1920 with Harris receiving $100,000 in settlement and some community property.

The following spread appeared in Screenland magazine two years later, and is headed by the question: Who Said Mildred Harris Can't Act? The subtext says:

This group of remarkable character studies was especially posed by the Paramount actress for the fourth installment of Screenland's Principles of Pantomine.
Silent era acting was summed up by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950):
Still wonderful, isn't it?  And  no dialogue.  We didn't need dialogue.  We had faces.
The first photo is normal. The other faces being portrayed are labelled:
Contempt (top right), Dejection (centre), Fear (bottom left), and Revolt (bottom right).

Milla Jovovich as she portrayed Mildred Harris in the film Chaplin (1992).

Back issues of this magazine, from 1920 to 1922, are available online, courtesy of the Media History Digital Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

2013 Movie Posters

Here is one summary of the movie poster art offerings of 2013, this one a best-and-worst analysis from Vulture.

Here's the link to Vulture's Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2013.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

David Lean

David Lean (1908-1991) is rated the greatest director of epics of the last century, yet he only directed nineteen films. And what films they are. Spielberg routinely watches Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to glean inspiration before starting on one of his own.

Other great David Lean films include:  Brief Encounter (1945), Great Expectations (1946), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and Ryan's Daughter (1970)

Brief Encounter (1945)

Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)


The following is a three-part documentary on the filmmaking style of David Lean.

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Monday 25 November 2013

One year on... Brett Snelgrove

Brett Snelgrove is an Autralian writer/producer living in the UK, who is best known for the animated web series New Eden

We completed an interview with Brett back in August 2012, and dropped by recently to see how he has been getting along. 


You’ve been based in the UK for a few years now. Have you managed to travel around Europe or elsewhere in the meantime?

Being in the UK has been great in the sense that it’s the gateway to Europe. Ssince being here five odd years, we’ve traveled more than we did in the five years previous in Australia. Even the US is closer. When the rest of the world isn’t a 25-hour-flight away, it suddenly becomes much more accessible.

Brett on the Brooklyn Bridge, with TJ, Lawrie and Amanda.
Pier 17 and the Fulton Fish Market shine in the background.

Your series New Eden has been well received. You’ve been nominated for awards and even made an appearance recently at MCM London Comic Con / Vidfest. Tell us about that experience.

This year has been a fantastic experience for Freek, my New Eden co-creator, and I. It’s been a heck of a lot of work. Animation is not easy or quick, but damn rewarding. The experience of rolling out an entire series has been a great learning curve and a great opportunity for us to showcase our work. The London Comic Con was a bucketload of fun, and since then I’ve got to meet other great creators at Raindance Web Fest and via the international web series community at large.

We’re coming up on Xmas. How does that differ in the UK? Is there anything Australian you especially miss around this time of year?

It’s strangely familiar, but also not, to have a cold and, if you’re lucky, a white Christmas. Summer happens at the middle of the year here, so July/August is when everyone goes away on holidays. You don’t get the same experience as having summer holidays and Christmas all rolled into one. But you do get great Christmas specials on the telly!

Christmas in London is all about figuring out where you are going to spend it because there is no public transport - none on Christmas day, so everyone is literally home for Christmas. And if you’re spending Christmas with family or mates then you have to plan to be there one or two nights. Here, a roast dinner at Christmas really makes sense, but I have to say I miss the Aussie tradition of a seafood Christmas, and the sunshine and outdoors, but I still get a buzz when I see the first snow fall in London.

What does next year hold for Brett Snelgrove?

Right now, I’m focusing on developing more content, and helping others to do so as well. I’m developing some new projects and thanks to New Eden have some people to pitch to, so we’ll see how that goes. This year I also started working as partner manager at the BuzzMyVideos YouTube Network, which has been a fantastic experience and I can honestly say I’m learning something new everyday. 

New Eden is not over yet though, we’ve just released three brand new bigger, longer episodes and have a few more to go, so now is a great time to jump on board

Here are a couple of opinion pieces by Brett on life in Europe:

1. Queues in Britain.

2. Water spouts in Switzerland.

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Sunday 24 November 2013

The Evolution of Movie Sound

Francis Ford Coppola has been at the forefront of the technological advances of filmmaking. As early as the Apocalypse Now movie in 1979 when Francis Ford Coppola and sound designer Walter Murch pioneered a quadraphonic sound system for the film tour, Coppola has made sound and audio technology an important part of filmmaking, including building a dedicated mixing facility, American Zoetrope

In 2010, under the direction of Coppola, Zoetrope was turned into one of the first post-production facilities to install a Meyer Sound EXP cinema loudspeaker system on its rerecording stage and has since upgraded the other rooms to EXP. Tetro (2009) and Twixt (2011) are two of his movies that were mixed on an EXP system.

In this video, Coppola chats about the evolving role of sound in his storytelling and his sound facility in Napa.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Screenwriter's Lecture - Julian Fellowes

Acclaimed screenwriter Julian Fellowes found success later in life, carving out his niche in British period dramas for Film and Television. His international hits include Downton Abbey and Gosford Park.

Featuring interviews with Hugh Bonneville and more.

Friday 22 November 2013

Martin Villeneuve: How I made an impossible film

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.

Filmmaker Martin Villeneuve talks about Mars et Avril (2012), the Canadian sci-fi spectacular he made with virtually no money. 

He explains the various ways he overcame financial and logistical constraints to produce his unique and inventive vision of the future.

And here's the trailer for his movie.

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Thursday 21 November 2013

Screenwriters Lecture - Peter Straughan

Peter Straughan is the writer behind Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Men Who Stare at Goats

Here he discusses the complexities of adaptation, and how he strives to weave together "a net of words and silence, images and music" in every script.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Ron Howard: on Filmmaking

Ron Howard was a child actor (Dennis the Menace, The Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days), who has appeared in almost eighty TV shows and movies. Then his hair fell out, so he made the jump to feature film directing (Grand Theft Auto, Cocoon, Willow, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, Rush, etc.).

He was interviewed by BAFTA recently, where he talked about his experiences as a filmmaker.
You know directors, some of them — some of us are sweethearts, some of us are jerks, some of us are talkative, some are very quiet. None of that really matters very much — although, you know, I always think it’s nice to be decent to people, but that’s me. It’s not imperative. The big thing is taste — taste and judgement. That’s what it’s all about.

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Tuesday 19 November 2013

Syd Field: 1935-2013

Syd Field died on Sunday, November 17 of hemolytic anemia at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 77. Field was supposed to attend the Raindance Film Festival last week.

Born on December 19, 1935 in Hollywood, California, Syd Field received his B.A. in English Literature at University of California, Berkeley in 1960.

Field was the author of eight best-selling books on screenwriting. The first of these, Screenplay was initially published in 1979. It has been published in 23 languages and is used in over 400 colleges and universities around the world.

In addition to teaching classes, Field served as a consultant to all of Hollywood’s major studios at one time or another.    Facebook    IMDb    Website    Wikipedia

Introduction to Color in Digital Filmmaking

Here's another master class from John P. Hess at Filmmaker IQ.
Color is a natural everyday experience - but how do you use color to advance your film? We'll start by looking at how filmmakers in the late 90s began exploring creative uses of color. Then we'll take a quick overview of how your digital camera captures color and some basic color theory. We'll finish by designing, shooting and grading a Lolita inspired shot for maximum color impact.

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Monday 18 November 2013


Here's an interesting web series from Tasmania, which is the part of Australia sometimes forgotten off the bottom of the map. That pisses Taswegians off. Maybe that's why this web series is a noir. Grumpy writer from Tasmania? I don't know.
Detective and the Russian need a new housemate, with Nadia leaving. No one fits the bill until Alice appears. The boys are smitten, and Nadia seems to begrudgingly accept her. But what's Alice hiding?
Written by Tim Logan and directed by Shaun Wilson.

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Sunday 17 November 2013

One year on... Patricia Hetherington

Patricia Hetherington is a New Zealand film producer currently living and working in London.

We first talked to Patricia in September 2012, at which time she was obviously settling into a fast-paced life involving full-time employment and a wide-range of volunteer activities. ____________________________________________________

When we last talked you were working full-time, contributing to several film shoots, practicising/performing belly-dancing, completing a short film, attending film festivals and Q+As, writing screenplays, and idling your spare time away catching up with friends. Has much changed in the last twelve months?

At the moment I have a lot less free time to attend all of the wonderful screenings, Q+As, and networking events that I had previously. I am currently in pre-production for at least four short films and one feature; I am in post-production for at least five shorts. I recently directed a short, Dead Letter, with Shiftwork Productions. Once we have finished that for post, I will be entering it into a few competitions.

I had one of my films, Tragedia, screened at Whirlygig Cinema’s Making Tracks. It was performed with live music, and I got to take part in a Q+A. It was a really enjoyable experience.

Did you make it to any sessions at this year's London Screenwriters’ Festival?

No, unfortunately I didn’t. I did see it advertised early on, and I foolishly decided not to go. I’m going to keep an eye out for it next time.

You took part in this year’s Nour Algerian Spectacular. Can you tell us a bit about this festival and how you got involved?

I joined the London Algerian Ballet this year. Some friends in the belly dance community were members last year, and I have done classes and workshops with the organizer. I really loved learning the dances, and learning about Algerian culture through the music and dance. The event was fantastic; I think the audience enjoyed themselves.

Shots from last year's show.

Which have been the three best film festivals you’ve attended in London?

I finally managed to make it to the BFI London Film Festival this year. A lot of the filmmakers came for Q+As and workshops, which is always good. I love hearing stories from the horse’s mouth.

Raindance is a good independent film festival. I volunteered at it last year. They really support independent filmmakers, and are likely to give new film talent a go.

The Open City Docs Festival is a Documentary Film Festival, that incorporates screenings, talks, Q+A, and masterclasses. I would thoroughly recommend it for any documentary filmmaker.

What was the best film you’ve seen in the last twelve months?

My most anticipated film was Stoker. I had been excited about the film ever since I heard ‘Park Chan-Wook’s English-Language Film Debut’ and ‘Nicole Kidman’ in the same sentence. Two of my favourite things = Ticket, sold! 

I refused to read anything else about it or watch the trailer or anything, until I was sat in the cinema. If Park Chan-Wook made every single film from now until eternity, I would be happy.

And then, (dare I say it, dare I say it), I had been highly anticipating and was very, very happy with Pacific Rim. Judge me if you like, but I love Guillermo Del Toro’s work, and it was a rip-roaring ride.

Christmas in London must be dazzling. Do you have any observations you’d like to make for those of us not so privileged?

It still is strange having a cold Christmas. This crazy Northern Hemisphere – don’t they realise Christmas should be on the beach? There are Christmas lights and baubles adorning the streets. I realised last year that the reason there are so many lights are because it is so dark and dreary, that you need something to cheer you up. Christmas Cheer has a different meaning when it is pitch black at 5pm. It makes me less ‘bah-humbug’.

• What’s next for Patricia Hetherington?

I have three large projects that I am working on at the moment.

The first is a feature, a portmanteau. The aim is to make a series of short films in 2014 for distribution in 2015. We are currently in soft pre-production. I am Exec Producing with a DP friend of mine. 


The next is building a project that I am co-organizing, called Action On The Side. It is collaborative filmmaking, where we get a group of people together and make a short film within a month. I took part in the inaugural event in July 2013. The organizer whose brainchild it was liked what I was doing, so asked me to help organize, which I gladly agreed to do. I helped to run the event in October 2013. My team produced two films, which is a feat in itself. Our next event is in February.

And then the next big step is Academia. I’m preparing for a course that I am teaching in Winter at the Business School where I work. The course is on Practical Film Producing. I’m currently preparing the scripts for the students’ assessments. I have also supervised a couple of Independent Studies: one where a student was a Production Assistant on a short film, and another currently, in Scriptwriting. I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge of Producing with a group of students. 

Really, [strokes white cat], I’m aiming to build an army of henchmen (Production Assistants), all at my beck and call, as I prepare for World Domination. 


The following video was put together by Patricia at Spitalfields Vintage Market, London, in August 2012. (Spitalfields traces its history back to 1638. These days there are some 160 shops available, with a focus on retro fashion and antiques.) The video consists of a series of photos mixed with a recording of the ambient sound there. The aim is to transport the viewer to where they can see the image and hear the soundscape.

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Saturday 16 November 2013

"The Flying Lesson"

The Flying Lesson is a short film involving air-to-air stunt sequences with a vintage WWII Tiger Moth bi-plane.
After the recent death of her grandfather, Phoebe Sanderson (Jessica Blake) takes a flying lesson in the exact plane her grandfather flew in WWII, a recently restored Tiger Moth. With a sense of trepidation, she takes flight with a promise to keep. Only a chauvinistic flying instructor (Richard J. Fletcher), with a secret, stands in her way...
The film was shot over five days, mainly on a Canon C300 with some aerial unit footage shot on the Red or a 5D Mark II. It was written by Ian Bishop and Phil Hawkins,and directed by Phil Hawkins.

The film was edited by Alex Macleod. The original score was composed by Richard Bodgers.

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Friday 15 November 2013

"The Melville Variations"

Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-1973) was born Jean-Pierre Grumbach, in Paris. He took part in the French Resistance during World War II and adopted, as a nom de guerre, Melville (after Herman Melville, the American author), which he retained as a stage name afterward.

The short film which follows is a meditation on a selection of themes and motifs from Melville films, put together by Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin:

Thirteen variations for thirteen films, accompanied by the musical theme composed by François de Roubaix for Le Samouraï (1967): the cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville condensed into a series of motifs that travel from movie to movie, reiterating and transforming, finding their full meaning only when they are put into relation. A non-exhaustive collection, but filled with recognisable images that clearly obsess this filmmaker.

1. Jef Costello’s second murder in Le Samouraï, Maite’s devastating death at the end of Army of Shadows (1969), the shooting of Mattei and Vogel in Le cercle rouge (1970) or—the most paradigmatic example of all—of Maurice, Silien and Kern in Le doulos (1962). It is the matter of a rule with few exceptions, a pattern that is rarely broken: whenever Melville’s characters are not holding an empty gun, they almost always shoot twice. The second shot seems like a tragic echo of the first; when we put these scenes in series, they form a strange, musical choreography, a dance of death. 

2. In the metaphoric title of his first feature film, it is evoked in its silence; in When You Read This Letter (1953), it is presented in gorgeous black and white, like a set whose wild bountifulness competes with the agitated passions of the characters, and even robs the foreground from them; in Army of Shadows, it amounts to a nocturnal, Allied raft that swallows and spits out a phantom submarine; in the opening of Un flic (1972), it is a clear, diluted blueness, a swirl of wind, rain and waves that fiercely crash against a dike, prefiguring the tormented destiny of the characters … The sea is a powerful presence in Melville’s cinema, and the director revels in cataloguing its chameleonic transformations, showing it in all its diverse states. 

3. “Any other man stops and talks / But the walking man walks” (James Taylor). Melville’s heroes walk, always alone, in a determined, pensive, unbroken, but never hurried or troubled way, keeping their inner thoughts to themselves. They measure out their destined itinerary in the steps they take, and Melville plots his mise en scène likewise. He respectfully and patiently films this action in many ways: from a static position, in a panning shot, backwards tracking, lateral tracking. The action exists, too, to reveal the carefully chosen fragments of urban space: by a bridge, along a tunnel, back streets, main streets.

4. Shoes—like gloves and overalls—constitute the work uniform of Melville’s men; they are not part of the same style/image code as the hats and coats. The shoes, moreover, have a specific purpose: they are for robbing places (bank, house, casino, train), not for making a kill-hit. So they are designed, and used, to ensure absolute silence on the job: a ballet of noiseless steps. Where hats, hairstyles, cigarettes and other indices differentiate Melville’s men, these on-the-job shoes—always the same kind—blend them, indistinguishably and interchangeably, into a perfect working unit.

5. In his famous interview book, Rui Nogueira asks Melville about the white gloves that Jef uses when he is about to fulfil a murder contract. The director declares: “They are editor’s gloves”. This affirmation—in the guise of a playful but categorical mise en abyme—immediately suggests the self-conscious dimension of his cinema, as well as the fine, ironic sense of this creator obsessed with the thematic of destiny and tragedy. Melville’s response is that of a grand conjurer, displacing the magic proper to cinema into the world of the fiction. Because, in fact, when the heroes of Le doulos, Le samuraï or Le circle rouge slip into their white gloves, they too are playing with the linear chain of events, erasing characters from the frame, altering the arrangement of the pieces, and splicing fragments together without leaving a trace.

6. After the car, the train is the most important means of transportation in Melville’s cinema. In Le cercle rouge there is the scene of the spectacular escape from a guarded prison, and in Un flic an elaborate heist that takes up one-third of the film. In Les enfants terribles (1950), a train carries the siblings off on their one and only adventure outside the house where they are usually secluded; and in When You Read This Letter, a train functions as a death machine, secretly guided by the protagonist’s desire. In these two films, united by their central roles for women, both heroines are found in a surprisingly similar gesture: they wipe their hand across a train window, as if it were a windshield, in order to demist the glass.


7. A truly Melvillian image: a shot filmed from outside a car, with its front or side window acting as a reframing device. Sometimes, when the car stops, the camera remains static, and tension builds through waiting. At other times, the image is transformed into a paean to the artificiality created by those rear projections, old-fashioned but always lovely, that allow us to observe the illusion of movement and the unreal telescoping of different layers. In some of the films (Le samouraï, Le doulos), it is a purely poetic image—the characters trapped within, as the raindrops slide down the window’s exterior—that emanates something at once indifferent yet claustrophobic, beautiful yet cold. 

8. The trademark of Melville’s much-remarked Americanism is his love of ritzy nightclub settings—usually built in and around his own home/film studio. Their titles take the American rather than the French possessive form—Martey’s, not Chez Martey—and they each have their special showgirl choreography inside. Almost all these places—with the exception of The Cotton Club—blares the name of their owner (Santi, Ricci, Simon …); and that owner is either associated with criminals, or a criminal himself. Melville, a master at making so many Parisian street locations seem interchangeable and almost dull backdrops to the intensely focused action, reserves his showbiz fanfare for character’s entrances, and the lit-up entranceways, into his proudly invented clubs.

9. We find, especially in Bob le flambeur (1956) but also in Les enfants terribles, Leon Morin, Priest (1961), Le doulos and Army of Shadows, the black and white squares of a chess board, transformed into a scenic pattern for the design of floors, walls and other elements of the décor. A graphic model that might be incidental, or could have arisen purely because of a particular period’s fashions—but which can hardly go unremarked, since it anticipates, almost subliminally, “some of the constants accumulated by Melville’s cinema: symmetrical trajectories, opposed characters, and strategic mobility.

10. In the recent Companion to François Truffaut, Arnaud Desplechin observes that the hardest thing to incorporate in a movie is a newspaper: if it’s too real, too specific, too politically partial or slanted, it risks throwing the story (and the spectator) off-course. Inserts of newspaper items are central to Melville’s cinema, and are completely integrated into his universe: brutally factual announcements of crimes and deaths (‘fatal accident’, ‘bloody hold-up’, ‘sensational jewel theft’), comprising headlines, text and an occasional mugshot—the identity of the newspaper itself rarely matters, or figures. Plot intrigue, at these moments, is flattened out to the indifferent, ephemeral level of daily news reporting—while also marking, in this long-gone, pre-digital media sphere, one of the few ways in which information travels, to criminals and law enforcers alike.

11. “If to direct is a glance, to edit is a beating of the heart.” Godard said it well (in 1956), but every director gives the immortal shot/reverse shot exchange of glances their own, powerful inflection. The exchange of looks in Melville captures the two, stark poles of the intersubjective logic that structures his entire cinematic universe. There is the cold, blank look (of Alain Delon, especially): the look that can be returned, but never penetrated, and that provokes a short-circuiting of desire (Le cercle rouge). Then there is the look that signals an abysmal turning-point, the complete suction of power out of one character and into the other: such is the crucial moment in Le samouraï, when Jef glimpses the woman who now holds the key to his tragic destiny; or also the charged ending of The Silence of the Sea (1949), where the heroine’s look marks almost a surrender to the German officer, putting an end to their war. Then there is a bonus: the strange, permutational, vertiginous free-play of looks between  a threesome of characters in Un flic: this is an uncontrollable histrionics of the look, which seems to mime suspicion and doubt, when in fact everyone involved has always known more than they appear to know.

12. Characters seeing their image in mirrors form dramatic instants of pause, of punctuation, in Melville. On one level, their meaning is conventional: they signal moments in which characters truly see—or have a chance to grasp—themselves. But the pictorial insistence of this motif, plus Melville’s mania for tracing frames within frames for such portraits of stillness, suggests something graver and more secretive: a gesture in which his characters are both monumentalised and immortalised, even if only fleetingly, and in the perfectly domestic, banal prop of a piece of glass above a sink.

13. Synecdoche, Melville: a man is his hat. His heroes are normally never apart from their hats (which they wear so perfectly, so elegantly); if they ever do part, whether through the heroes losing them, leaving them behind, or somehow being separated from them, it is a certain sign of approaching death. In Le samouraï, the moment that Jef leaves his hat but does not take his check number signals that he will never be coming back for it; likewise, in Le doulos, the unlucky number of 13 placed into the ribbon of a headless hat spells doom for its former wearer. In the end, there is only ever the hat: mute, static, frozen, inhuman.