Thursday, February 10, 2011

"It's a Sex Thing. It Helps Fellatio": Pulp Fiction Analysis Part VI

Part V: "In the fifth your ass goes down."

Jodi with the 18 piercings.

Open on Jody (Rosanna Arquette) and Trudi discussing piercing while Vincent listens. He is then summoned inside by Lance (Eric Stoltz) to make a heroin deal. Because Lance is out of balloons he has to use a baggie to give Vincent his heroin. Usually heroin is sold in balloons while cocaine is in baggies. This will be important later.
Baggies of heroin.

Vincent decides to shoot up before leaving. Inter-cut with the heroin shooting are shots of Vincent driving at night. Tarantino uses a process shot[1] rather than actually having the car out on the road. This is his way of calling attention to the conventions of filmmaking. Old films always used process shots for interior moving vehicle scenes. He is also trying to keep a 40s film noir feeling. This will be felt much more when Butch is riding in the cab after his boxing match.

Various closeups of the heroin paraphernalia are intercut with shots of Vincent driving to Mia's house.

Cross fade from lighter to heroin cooking on the spoon.

Twice the scene cuts to Vincent looking dreamy and high while he drives. Although it's barely visible in this frame, this is an example of a process shot.

Close up of the backflow of blood into the syringe.

Close up of the needle going into Vincent's arm.

Here we see an example of a process shot as Vincent drives. The action outside the car is projected onto a screen while the actor sits in a stationary car on a set.

Part VII: "I'll be down in two shakes of a lamb's tail."


[1] A process shot is one in which the foreground action (usually characters in a moving vehicle) is shot in front of a drop screen with rear-screen projection. This technique was originally used to avoid the expense and hassle of shooting on location with a moving vehicle.

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