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lighting

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The color palette and lighting of a film are two elements that are often overlooked in storytelling. Similar to how color and light affect the mood of a room, they also set the tone of a film. A very good example would be Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola which depicts the relationship of two Americans in the city of Tokyo. This film is one of my favorites for two main reasons; first, because of the heartwarming story and realistic characters, and second, due to the amazing cinematography by Lance Acord. Color The film has a myriad of color palettes that shift depending on the characters. Charlotte, the female protagonist, has a color palette consisting of soft pastels. This is apparent in the scenes of her alone in her room, practicing ikebana, and solo-traveling in Kyoto. Shades of cream and light pink are prevalent in the shot above. This is…

Last year, I took part in a pilgrimage to Mount Putuo, one of China’s five major Buddhist religious mountains. Hauled along by an energetic tour guide who explained everything in either Mandarin or Fukien (ergo I didn’t really understand much), we snaked around the busy streets of Shanghai and paid our respects to a multitude of ancient Chinese temples in the nearby provinces. Now when you think of the word “pilgrimage,” you think of a quiet, spiritual experience through a billowing cloud of incense smoke, of monks draped in bright orange robes, and of fellow pilgrims offering a small prayer to the assembly of Buddhist gods before them. All of these things were there, but multiply the pilgrims exponentially. We literally had to make our way through a sea of humanity just to get to the different temples within Mount Putuo. The weather was hot and humid as we navigated…

After every school day, when my ten-year old son comes home from school, I greet him with a chirpy, “How was school today?” He smilingly greets me back with a kiss, “It was ok,” he cheerfully answers. Then I reply with something like, “Have something to eat, rest a bit, then we’ll study.”  And just like that, as if on cue, a monster of a wail is heard within the walls of our entire house. The message is clear: I’m not in the mood to study. Rewind, playback. This scene is all too familiar for most moms or dads who take on the tutor role for their child. It has always been a struggle between my son and me to go through our daily task of studying for quizzes, answering homework, and doing projects, and to finish it without resorting to what is seemingly like the makings of the next…