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  • Shaping Narrative And Visual Style Through Influences

    [11.05.20]
    - Thomas Pagani

  • The subtle art of the pillow shot and other cinematographic dreams

    When we started thinking about the project and all the various aspects of it such as narrative, art and UI, we instantly decided to aim for something simple but that could have a strong impact.

    We had one month to develop the entire game and the team had only three members, so searched for references that could help us shape a game as simple as possible.

    The first reference that turned out to be useful was Tsukamoto Shinya's A Snake of June: the Japanese director had in mind to shot the movie with a 1:1 aspect ratio in order to portray a single character per-shot so that the isolation of each of them could look more clear to the spectators, but he then couldn't because of technical restrictions. However, the more we thought about the idea of using a 1:1 aspect ratio for our game, the more we were intrigued by it. Primarily because it could have been useful in limiting the elements in each scene, and secondly because we could focus more on what to put in each of them since we had limited space.

    Other elements that we took from it are:

    • The use of monochrome in each scene: the scenes in the present are totally blue, while the memories evoked by Remu shift from blue to other colors, depending on the memory she's been asked about by the taxi-driver/player.

    • Remu's thought about her own sexuality and her desire to reach freedom through the acceptance of her own body. As she becomes closer and closer to herself because of her work, she starts to understand herself and the people around her, reaching some sort of superiority, as she now knows and understands everything even if she's considered an insect by others.

    As for the second reference, we found guidance in Ozu Yasujiro's movies. His use of the pillow-shot technique and juxtaposition of narrative scenes and landscapes/common items, gave us the idea to narrate Remu's memories through interns or landscapes, while she speaks about herself. Players observe her memories through her own eyes, see what she has seen in those exact moments. Thanks to this, we could develop a second narrative layer, using the different scenes to tell specific stories that could not find their space in the dialogues but that also strengthen what Remu talks about.

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