CinÉireann Issue 9 - Page 18

“And you discuss the beats, the ten syllables, five beats in iambic pentameter?”

“Oh yes. We spend three classes looking at the maths of poetry. I love those classes.”

“Well that’s like the rhythm of a film, the number of seconds each shot lasts for on screen. Watch a clip and count the seconds, then come up with an average shot length for the scene. An ASL. This is the rhythm of the piece. And, again, why did the director use that rhythm? Why did the rhythm change? Start with an action scene and watch the ASL shorten.”

“Right. Look, this was great. Lots to think about…”

“Wait, wait, I haven’t spoken about rhyme yet.”

“oh. Okay. Yeah. Go on.”

“Rhyme is straight forward. That’s where images match up. Like the cut from Jeff Goldblum’s mouth to the dinosaur’s roar in Jurassic Park.”

“Was that not The Lost World?”

“Was it?”

“Think so.”

“That the sequel?”

“The one with the glass.”

“Yeah. That one. Anyway, you know the shot?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s like rhyme. But that’s like rhyming cat with mat. Other, more subtle, rhymes are shapes. The shape of a pen reflecting the shape of a building which reflects the male characters fixation with his penis.”

“Whoah! What?”

“Just an example. Then there’s the colour rhymes. Like in Rear Window where the colours of Grace Kelly’s outfits are repeated by the women in the apartments they’re watching.

Or maybe that’s more like alliteration. Yeah. Maybe assonance is the music. Or both. Or neither. Maybe they’re the colour scheme used in the film. The lighting, the shade.”

“Listen, this has been great. Really. But, god, I’ve loads of corrections to do. So…”

“Hmm. Sorry? Oh. Sure. Yeah. Good talk. You know, all of these elements, these techniques, they flow into each other in a way that neither drama nor literature can. The elements of each are different, and we experience them in different ways, but, I suppose, it’s in the rhythm at the centre of film and poetry that connects them. We expect rhythm in both, it’s up to those writing poems and making films to decide how they will deal with our expectations. How they will manipulate the rhythm.”

“Poetry. Rhythm. Perfect. Great. Thanks. I’ll let you get back to your correcting.”

Door closes.

Turns on Netflix. The theme tune to The Great British Bake Off comes out of the classroom speakers.

18 CinÉireann / Issue 9