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  • - [Narrator] At first glance, The Half Of It might look

  • like a typical teen rom com.

  • It begins with a romantic parable

  • about finding your other half, your soulmate,

  • and introduces the classic setting

  • of a high school in small town America.

  • But writer-director Alice Wu quickly subverts

  • those expectations by introducing

  • an atypical protagonist, Ellie Chu.

  • And by the end of the opening sequence, sets the stage

  • for an even more atypical love triangle.

  • - The Half Of It's really about a girl

  • who is never the main character.

  • Even in her own mind, she's not the main character.

  • She's just existing.

  • - [Narrator] So today, I want to explore the thought process

  • and craft that went into the opening animated sequence.

  • To see how the film visually contrasts the hyperreal world

  • of high school with Ellie's life at home,

  • and to examine how it introduces a protagonist

  • who doesn't realize she's the main character

  • of her own movie.

  • Let's sit down with Alice Wu to take a look

  • at the opening sequence of The Half Of It.

  • - I'm Alice Wu, I'm the writer-director of The Half Of It,

  • and this is The Opening Sequence.

  • - [Narrator] The Half Of It opens with a quote from Plato.

  • Love is simply the name for the desire

  • and pursuit of the whole.

  • Kicking off a story about the search for wholeness.

  • - [Ellie] The Ancient Greeks believed humans once

  • had four arms, four legs, and a single head made

  • of two faces.

  • We were happy.

  • Complete.

  • So complete that the Gods fearing our wholeness

  • would quell our need for worship, cleaved us in two.

  • - I kind of wanted to pull on the fact

  • that like from the beginning of,

  • at least through recorded time, there seems

  • to be this idea of like love in this idea

  • that once you find your other half, you will be completed.

  • The whole point of the opening's to setup the myth.

  • Like setup the, here's the thing

  • we all have been looking for through the ages.

  • - [Narrator] To illustrate the myth

  • of the other half, Wu collaborated

  • with animator Hayley Morris

  • to craft an expressive animated sequence.

  • As Wu and the animator collaborated, the sequence evolved

  • from simple 2D animation

  • to an innovative two-and-a-half-D stop motion approach.

  • - I was again, thinking these would be lines being drawn,

  • but she actually made it happen through stop motion.

  • And I think it adds a whole layer.

  • Now, we're two-and-a-half-D, right?

  • Like where the paper is 3D

  • but there's still like a 2D background behind it.

  • - [Narrator] The materials used in animation

  • were even sourced from the film's setting.

  • - In Washington State, there are a lot

  • of rock quarries, right?

  • And like gravel's actually an industry.

  • And then we actually did research and chose gravel

  • that would be from that region that like fills the frame

  • and then crushes into charcoal.

  • - [Narrator] And all the while, Wu drops

  • in visual references foreshadowing key moments

  • in Ellie's story.

  • - I secretly wanted to drop in images, visuals

  • that are actually about to come,

  • and you're not aware of it when you're watching it.

  • But the hope is that by the time you're done with the film,

  • suddenly everything actually feels of a piece.

  • When Aster first draws a piece art, we shot it,

  • and then I gave that drawing to Hayley Morris, the animator,

  • who then created out of like paper a version

  • of that, that flower.

  • The paper falls into the water and sees its reflection.

  • That is very much call backed

  • when the two girls are floating in the water.

  • - [Ellie] It is said that when one half finds its other,

  • there's an unspoken understanding,

  • and each would know no greater joy than this.

  • - And from there, we pop into the reality of high school.

  • - [Narrator] After establishing the myth of love

  • as the search for the whole, the opening sequence sets

  • about establishing Ellie's world.

  • Ellie's world is split into two realities.

  • The colorful stylized reality of high school,

  • and the more grounded static reality of home.

  • - I don't know what your experience in high school was

  • but I think mine was, mine was actually quite lonely.

  • You start to feel like everyone else

  • has this like colorful, incredible life

  • and they're off doing incredible things,

  • and yours is just this sort of like unfiltered, boring life.

  • With that high school reality, I purposely directed that

  • to be a tiny bit hyperreal.

  • Because where I really want to feel real is the next frame

  • when we hit on Ellie.

  • Like Ellie in her engineer's booth and with the train.

  • That's when it's like here, we're in grounded reality.

  • - [Narrator] Wu worked with her production team

  • to create a distinct color palette for Ellie's home.

  • - Edward Hopper was a big influence in terms of colors.

  • Like primary colors that were very distressed.

  • It feels like time has stood still.

  • - [Narrator] This idea of stasis is key

  • to understanding Ellie's reality.

  • Her father is paralyzed by grief over her mother's death,

  • and Ellie, in turn, feels responsible for him.

  • - The dad doesn't want to move on emotionally.

  • It's sort of beautiful.

  • Like you can see the love they have for each other.

  • But there's a sadness to it because there's no growth.

  • If Ellie continues on her life the way she does,

  • she will just become another version of her dad.

  • - [Narrator] Contrasted with this frozen

  • in time, grounded reality is the hyperreal setting

  • of high school.

  • We're introduced to the high school

  • as Ellie passes around essays she's written

  • for fellow students in exchange for money.

  • Augmented reality style graphics

  • representing phone interactions are introduced

  • as a device.

  • - I try not to shoot phone screens

  • as much as I can get away with,

  • which is why you see that things pop up on screen a lot

  • because I actually felt like

  • that will probably stand the test of time more

  • than we see in actual phone screen.

  • - [Narrator] And through the cinematography

  • and sound design, we understand the treacherous world

  • of status and gossip Ellie will have to contend with.

  • - I basically said to my sound designer

  • and also to like my DP like,

  • "This should be secret lives of students."

  • Just that slight whispers of people as we're going.

  • - [Narrator] One shy boy oboist types out,

  • "Wanna go to Oktober Fling?"

  • Which appears on a trombonist's screen.

  • She forwards to three of her friends who roll eyes.

  • One posts a screenshot with caption "#nerdalert."

  • - Here, I just want it to be like, this is

  • how cruel kids can be.

  • That oboist gets shot down.

  • And I very much want to put that there

  • as like, this is what happens

  • when you put yourself out there.

  • You're probably going to get mocked by your peers.

  • And it's just a tiny hint

  • as to why it would be so terrifying

  • for someone like Ellie to ever reach out.

  • - [Narrator] The camera continues to track

  • with the papers passed around by gossiping students

  • until we finally reach a girl who seems different.

  • - And then through there you end up getting introduced

  • to sort of the king and queen of the school.

  • I totally was like "Okay, she has to glow."

  • Like it was something I said to my DP.

  • It's like we we're going, we're going, we're going,

  • but when we get there, it's got

  • to feel like a tiny bit magical

  • because we're suddenly gonna realize,

  • that's the moment we cut back,

  • we're like "Oh, Ellie's watching her."

  • - [Narrator] It's here that we realize Ellie has a crush

  • on Aster Flores, the queen of the school.

  • But Aster seems impossibly out of reach

  • because as we have seen in the sequence, Ellie

  • is practically invisible to her classmates.

  • - The most interesting thing's you

  • don't see Ellie texting anybody.

  • Like that doesn't happen 'til much later.

  • Like there's just the sense

  • that she's still living this very isolated life

  • while everyone else is connected.

  • - [Narrator] In the world of high school, Ellie feels

  • like an extra, but in this movie, she's the protagonist

  • who doesn't know it.

  • - I'm Ellie Chu.

  • - Yes, I know.

  • - Pretty much Ellie and her dad are like the only immigrants

  • in this tiny town.

  • You sort of see that and immediately

  • it feels fish out of water.

  • And I guess that's the story I wanna tell

  • of the person that you never get to see in movies,

  • or if you do, they're an extra, or they're background.

  • - [Narrator] The first time we actually see Ellie is

  • during the opening credits montage

  • as she's getting ready for her day of school.

  • But the way Wu and her director

  • of photography, Greta Zozula, shoot Ellie is designed

  • to reflect the way she sees herself.

  • Not as a main character,

  • but rather as playing a supporting role.

  • - I've said to my DP, "Look, I just wanna capture, like

  • "if we see her, it needs to be an elbow,

  • "it's a foot, part of her face.

  • "Like I just want to see parts of the beginning of her life

  • "and we're gonna setup those macro shots."

  • So the first time you see her face is that rack focus

  • to the mirror of like when she's written,

  • like "Okay, these are the things I have

  • "to do every morning."

  • But even then, it's like literally all her duties

  • in front of her, on her face.

  • She clearly doesn't think she's the main character

  • in the story.

  • - [Narrator] By the end of the opening sequence,

  • Ellie's sense of herself leads her

  • to take a supporting role in someone else's love story.

  • Helping a jock, Paul Munsky, pursue the girl

  • of Ellie's dreams, Aster.

  • - Who writes letters these days?

  • - I thought it seemed romantic.

  • - [Narrator] But it's through this unlikely relationship

  • that Ellie begins to realize she is the main character

  • of her own story.

  • - Inside her, she does have deep desires and dreams

  • but she doesn't even think she could have them,

  • and it's through her interacting

  • with the last like most unexpected person.

  • It's their collision.

  • Like that guy ends up changing her life.

  • This story's really about three people who collide,

  • and in that moment in time,

  • each of them ends up finding the piece within themselves

  • that allows them to become the person

  • that they need to be.

  • - [Narrator] Before writer-director Alice Wu could subvert

  • the classic teen love story in The Half Of It, she had

  • to introduce a specific character, world and premise

  • that we don't normally see.

  • - When I'm writing, I never think

  • to myself, "What will the audience think about this?"

  • The really interesting question is

  • what is the thing you're dying to say

  • through this character, because you're the only person

  • who can write that thing, so write that thing.

  • Don't write the thing that somebody else could write.

  • - [Narrator] Only Alice Wu could've created

  • and introduced us to Ellie Chu

  • in the opening sequence of The Half Of It.

  • (mellow music)

- [Narrator] At first glance, The Half Of It might look

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アリス・ウーがハーフ・オブ・イットのオープニング・シークエンスをブレイクダウン|Netflix (Alice Wu Breaks Down The Half Of It Opening Sequence | Netflix)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日