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Film / Vertical Cinema

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Vertical Cinema is a 2020 10 minute short film directed by Damien Chazelle and released by Apple, most noteworthy for its use of a vertical Aspect Ratio and being shot on iPhone 11 Pros. The film can be viewed in its entirety for free on YouTube here.

There are six sub-segments, each of them with a title of its own.

  • The Stunt Double: A modern action film set in and around a skyscraper.
  • The Struggle Buggy: A Silent Film reassembling those from The Silent Age of Hollywood.
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  • Dark Ruin: Curse of the Lost Gem: An adventure film featuring an archeologist sent to retrieve a gem from a temple.
  • Guns of Sedona: The Western segment, showing a Showdown at High Noon.
  • Daisy Had a Ball: A musical set in a tall ballroom with prominently featured stairs.
  • L'Ombre Bleue: A 1960s thriller movie.


Tropes that appear in the film include:

  • Action Prologue: The film starts with people running up stairs to the roof of a skyscraper.
  • Big "NO!": The main character lets one out when he thinks he is about to suffer a Disney Villain Death.
  • Bookends: The film starts and ends with the skyscraper scene, and it doesn't appear at any other time.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Segments "The Struggle Buggy" and "The Dark Ruin" are monochrome.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted. The stuntman jumps off a building and his parachute fails, making it look like he is going to die. However, the girl he met in the hallway ends up saving him with her own parachute.
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  • Fake Action Prologue: Zig-zagged. While the chase is shown to be part of people filming a movie, the danger quickly becomes real when the main character's parachute fails. All without any sort of emotional pause in between.
  • Genre Roulette: At least six different genres are shown, all in the span of 10 minutes.
  • Genre Shift: the film showcases several different genres. Those being Action, Silent Comedy, Adventure, Western, Musical, and Thriller.
  • Genre Throwback: There are five different ones in a row. Specifically, throwbacks to The Silent Age of Hollywood, archeology adventures, The Western, Hollywood musicals, and 1960s thriller movies.
  • How We Got Here: The movie opens up with the stuntman jumping off a building and his parachute failing. His life (or rather, his career) flashes before his eyes.
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  • Iris Out: Happens in the final shot.
  • Menacing Hand Shot: one of these happens during the Showdown at High Noon when the cowboys are waiting to draw their guns.
  • Progressive Era Montage: The film goes through genres, in chronological order of when they were popular.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Showdown at High Noon: This happens during the segment "Guns of Sedona".
  • Silence Is Golden: Zig-zagged. While there are a few lines of dialogue, the story is told entirely visually. You could watch it on mute and still get the full effect.
  • Widescreen Shot: The film literally turns this trope on its side, doing its best to take advantage of vertical space.

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