Stalking Cinema: The Surrogacy of Tracking Shots

By  · Published on March 6th, 2017

A new video compiles the best examples from contemporary films.

Out of all the kinetic uses of camera employed by cinematographers, for my money none draw you into the world of the film as fully or effectively as the tracking shot. The camera is always a surrogate for our eyes, but once it starts tracking it becomes one for our body as well, we aren’t just observing things from a distance any longer, we are now moving with the narrative, we are slipping inside it and stalking it, in a sense, creeping up beside it for a better understanding.

The tracking shot – unlike, say the extreme close-up or the dolly zoom – lends itself to every single genre, and as such it’s been used prominently in a wide variety of films like Kubrick’s The Shining, the Coens’ Hail, Caesar!, It Follows, Little Miss Sunshine, Ex Machina, Marie Antoinette, and repeatedly by directors like Martin Scorsese, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Paul Thomas Anderson to a wide variety of effects.

In the following compilation edited by Candice Drouet for her Really Dim Vimeo channel, 45 tracking shots – including those from the films and directors listed above – are on display in all their hypnotizing fluidity, ready to immerse you in the filmic universes through which they’re moving. Notice how this movement isn’t just something you see, it’s something you experience, heightening each of your senses until you can feel the film around you.

A complete list of titles used in the video are posted below.

The Shining / The Darjeeling Limited / Holy Motors / Inherent Vice / Jackie Brown / Juno / Drive / Ex Machina / Delicatessen / American Psycho / 2046 / Rebel Without A Cause / Little Miss Sunshine / 1984 / The Neon Demon / The Big Lebowski / Collateral / Donnie Darko / Bronson / Catch Me If You Can / Marie-Antoinette / It Follows / Lost River / Trainspotting / Still Alice / Cape Fever / Amelie Poulain / The Grand Budapest Hotel / Blue Is The Warmest Color / Nightcall / Only God Forgives / On the Road / Boogie Nights / One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest / Saint-Laurent / Reservoir Dogs / Wild Tales / O’ Brother, Where art Thou ? / Fight Club / Black Mass / Twelve Years A Slave / Memento / Hail, Caesar! / Upstream Color / La La Land

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