Video Assignment #2 – Les Sentiers Noirs de l’Ouest
by Vincent Thorne
A western noir: this was the objective we had in mind when producing Les Sentiers Noirs de l’Ouest. An interesting blend of concepts and a great filming and creation experience with my classmates made this a very enriching project.
The original idea came from Drew and Sean, from the other section of the Visions of Film class. We all agreed it could be a great combination of styles and began the writing process. All of it went smoothly, also we had a couple disagreements we managed to overcome them and find consensus.
The collaborative process was a very positive aspect of the project. Two weeks later shot all the scenes in one day, with exterior scenes at Blue Mountain. I would like to thank Chris Tripp for providing the horse and accurate advice on riding, it was great a time.
We edited a week later, again collaboratively. It worked well, also it was clear at that point we had different ideas of what the final cut should look like. Therefore, the final edit was the result of a general agreement between us. The film could probably had been made more powerful if each of us had made its own edit.
In this short movie, we attempted to blend the film noir esthetics with a western environment. Some noir elements are notably included in the interior scenes, with a particular focus on lighting, shadow effects and camera angles. Noir is also referenced through the subject of the film, a old and twisted love triangle, as well as in diverse elements like the cigarette, the alcohol issue and of course the French title (!). I think we did a decent job on integrating smoothly those elements into the western context, making them recognizable and in the same time natural. The western feel is given through the environment we shot in, the costumes, the duel and, importantly, the horse. Western Montana is a beautiful place to shoot the kind of outdoors scenes we envisioned and I think we took advantage of that.
The result pleases me and gave more aspiration to continue into my own projects and ideas in filmmaking.