Review : Ghost In The Shell - The blinds scene

The 2017 Hollywood movie featuring Scarlett Johansson is based on the Japanese animation movie from 1995 of the same name directed by Mamoru Oshii. The original movie is particularly notable for some of its scenes which are artistic master-pieces. Here we will talk about a one minute sequence at the opening of the movie - “The blinds scene”.

The scene after the opening titles shows the protagonist of the story, Major Motoko Kusanagi wake up in her apartment. She ponders for a few moments, gets out of the bed, goes to the other room to get dressed and leaves the apartment. For majority of the scene the audience is seeing a rectangular window showing the skyline of the city and the top of the bed that’s illuminated by the light coming from the window. Everything else is completely dark. This is an incredibly minimal scene in terms of visible content.

Yet, the creative use of shadows and silhouettes shows us the events in the room without us actually seeing them.

When Kusanagi is out of the frame, in the adjascent room, we see the light coming from the door shine on the floor. From the moving shadow of Kusanagi we get the hint of what she is doing. Soon after the door closes and the light on the floor vanishes. Few moments later we see a silhouette of Kusanagi approaching the camera and leaving the apartment. As she is walking we see her weat a coat.

In addition to the minimalism, another brilliant technique used here is the alternating use of negative and positive space. The dark shapes that appear as silhouettes and shadows are carved out of negative space. They show in the later part when Kusanagi wears the jacket slipping one hand into its sleeve as she’s walking out of the apartment. However earlier in the scene the director uses positive space to tell the story. This is when Kusanagi is out of the frame and is in the neighbouring room, her actions are shown in her shadow falling in the bright light coming from the room’s door. The light from the door creates a small positive space on the dark canvas and shows the character’s actions in negative space embedded inside it.

Negative Space

Positive Space (with embedded negative space)

The switch between positive and negative spaces makes a compelling portrait.

The masterpiece however is the closing of this scene. After Kusanagi’s silhouette has left the apartment (and the frame), we are still left to watch the window for full 8 seconds wondering in anticipation. There aren’t any characters left in the scene, neither is there any notable prop (just a bed and window). So what significant thing can happen in this almost empty room for which the director has held our attention for 8 full seconds? And then it hits. The closing of the blinds! Of course, the person leaving the apartment will close the blinds as they walk out. We don’t expect such a trivial thing to be explicitly depicted in a movie, let alone using it to make the scene poetic. The trivial action of closing the blinds doesn’t add to the story, but it adds to the depth of character. It also makes us more aware of the space.

The background music multiplies the serenity of the scene further.

The Japanese animation movies are known for their artistic style that gives more importance to the exploration of the space than the progress of the story. By means of composition of frame, tricks of light and mundane actions of characters the Japanese directors pull us into the character’s space that in turn gives added depth to the story.


Home


Archive

2018

Violet end of spectrum

Vipassana Meditation

Why gamers like pixelated games

2017

Collecting Vs Hoarding Netflix

Game Design tip for Programmers - Less Automation

Review Ghost In The Shell - The blinds scene

Why Electron is the best development platform?

Project Dialog

2016

Don't Panic

The Entanglement Pattern

The flying cars analogy

Road Trip of Atlantic Canada

Having done attitude

2015

Before fixing performance issues

No Exams, Yes Video games

Podcasts Français

2014

Quotable Quotes

Conned?!

2013

Uruguay's President

New rules for Formula 1

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice

Something's missing

2012

Coffeescript: To switch or not to switch

Water from air

The single most reason that keeps me using Vim

Time travel fiction

When your git branch diverges from your remote

Something like Olivia - John Mayer

Online courses - New technology, Old rules

Kelsey Grammer is spectacular

Why Patriotism doesn't make sense

Why sea steading is important to pursue?

Prometheus

Rolling back latest git commit

Google Lunar X Prize

iTunes Download stopped (err =9006)

Good essay on user centric software design

Why we need to explore Seasteading?

2011

Master pieces from screen

How to write interactive CLI utility in node.js

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

Why OpenGL ES is so hard?

How to print stack trace anywhere in Javascript

It's not fair to compare Android with Internet Explorer

How to debug WebWorker threads?

Why can't I criticize Government if I don't vote? I sure can.

Elon Musk quote

Don't label yourself

Why the hi-tech minds are writing Social apps?

Truce with exercise

JavaScript is the next C

Ever growing todo list is a good sign for creative projects

Lesser women in tech... So what?

HTML5 offline cache - use swapCache carefully

How Wikipedia and Flattr can together change the World

2010

Discovering LastPass

Functional programming in Javascipt using Underscore.js

Youtube ETA - Chrome extension

Why secure airports when it's planes that fly?

Mac book red light audio jack problem on Linux

How to save HTML5 canvas image to Google App Engine

Why don't they publish eBooks for free but with embedded ads?

Silicon Valley and Hi-tech

Reality distortion field around

Indirect experiments

Music sharing

ReaderScope 2.0.6 - Find Comments

ReaderScope 2.0

predictably irrational

ReaderScope upcoming changes

Tuxmac

Why "Open" is not the first concern of user?

Mutt, Gmail, gdata, notify-send: A Perfect Email solution

Are you the Matt Damon of your game?

ReaderScope 1.9 - OAuth

New app "Find Comments"

@font-face-lift

ReaderScope 1.8.{2,3} - new authentication and global share

Portable apps for iPhone, Android, Pre, n900 - Can Processing.js help?

ReaderScope 1.8.1 - rethinking features

ReaderScope 1.8 - Random

Android fragmentation : How big a deal is it?

on Dropbox

iLikeIt

ReaderScope v1.7 - Widget, new Icons and .... Ads

on Git: tips for SVN users and Git in Dropbox cloud

How to do an online IDE for Android app development

Anti Asserts

Bono's top ten list

Make Android speak your Twits with "TwitSpeak"

2009

Reality of colors

Talking Twitter client

ReaderScope 1.5 - quicker, better, prettier

Preview android.R.drawable.* images

Is definition of "Evil" changing?

on Music: Battle Studies

ReaderScope 1.4 (with a Theme Pack)

On Chrome OS

Black on White

Android AsyncTask template

The AND-OR problem of laptop and mobile phone

ReaderScope v1.3.3 - offline podcasts

ReaderScope v1.3.2 - Social Channels

ReaderScope v1.3 - Beyond Google Reader

Frets on Fire for Maemo - Update

ReaderScope 1.2.7 - Podcasts, Expanded View

Sprint HTC Hero problems with ReaderScope

ReaderScope 1.2.3 - Search

ReaderScope 1.2.1 - Auto Login

ReaderScope v1.2

ReaderScope 1.1.3 - SDCard storage

Crash report for Android App

Wifi and Battery

ReaderScope 1.1.2

ReaderScope 1.1.1 quick-n-easy features

ReaderScope 1.1 - Social Beacons

ReaderScope 1.0.2 - making deep cache simple

ReaderScope 1.0.1

ReaderScope 1.0

Detecting HTC magic on Fedora

ReaderScope beta4 - offline fun

ReaderScope beta3 - Tweet the news

ReaderScope Beta2

ReaderScope beta1 is out

Intercepting Up/Down keys from bash script

Makeshift XML beautifier in python

HTC Magic (Indian version) - expectations and facts

using android AsyncTask

Android development with Vim + Eclim

Cutewit (preview)

Einstein's Dreams

Preprocessing the GUI

Evas + Inkface in v0.2.5

easy source

FoF - PyOpenGL = miniFoF (possibly for n810)

FoF update

Twitter client with inkface-pygame v0.2.2

Frets on Fire on Maemo 5 (Fremantle)

Static IP configuration on Fedora 10

Inkface+pygame v0.2.0

Smooth scrolling with Inkface+pygame

Inkface v0.2 update and automated GUI testing

Testing Android (Koolu Beta 3) on Openmoko Freerunner

Clutter animation paths with Inkscape+Inkface (v0.1.3)

Turning a page

Planning Inkface v0.2

Debian repository on Google App Engine

Inkface + Clutter

Inkface v0.1.2, Twitter-inkface client

2008

Inkface update

Debugging python reference counts

Paul Graham nails it again!

Fedora 10 on MacBook 2,1

A great essay

Thanksgiving at Crater Lake

Digital SLR buyer's guide

more fun with notify-send

(k)ubuntu 8.10 - not ready for my home yet

Migrating to Google App Engine

Android opened - first looks inside

Has it started?

Inkface v0.1

Musical discovery of the week

Die Berlin-Affäre

aus Berlin

Inkface - SVG based GUI design

Script fun

Visualizing source code

OpenMoko photo tour

New connection with the past

George Carlin - favorite clip

temperature

80-20 rule

Python fun

OSiM'08 Berlin, Germany

Of games

"Wine" tasting

Today's slashdot and open source

Cost of Open Source

Lions for Lambs

Ubuntu reviewed

Flickr uploads from n810

Cringely and Paul Graham

Accelerometer brainstorming

Clutter Webkit

OSiM USA 2008 - Day 2

OSiM USA 2008 - Day 1

Google code

Gr8 commercial

OSiM USA 2008, see you there

OpenMoko, Android and a great hacking post

two great videos

Blog from nokia tablets

2007

cool n770 hack

Picasso

Colbie Caillat

Firefox 3 is brilliant!!!

XML RPC server inside apache mod_python

best effort technologies

coding Monalisa

formula of a horror movie

next desktop jump

The "Screen"

Nice review article on virtualization technologies

Once again... a quote from 'Troy'

Story of a random number

quotes from George Carlin

"from time import sleep"

Sea surfing under the Golden Gate

Trip videos

2006

across two hours

What I read...

How do I backup to Amazon S3 storage service

Stranger than fiction

Gas prices... seems like big scam

Another nice quote

Hilarious nerd comment

Programming & Painting

Why do we like fiction?

Troy

If Harry Potter were a computer hacker ...

Gentoo, XGL, HGG

Henry Ford

VI - A capable IDE

New blog

Safari Bookshelf

2005

Back to the L4

Quotes

GCC 2.95 rpms

repeat (ps | grep) = filtered top

Halo fixed on ATI Mobility Radeon 9000

DirectX Installation Problem

Warning: const is a keyword in ANSI C

Not much on L4 front

Last two weeks

GRUBing

Stumbled on HURD

Installed HURD console

Make problem solved

2004

Handy way to create stack trace