My favorite cinematic shot is in Kill Bill, Vol 2. Moments earlier, the Bride has Pai Mei punched her way out of the dirt nap arranged for her by Budd. Framed by a diner’s plate glass window, she comes out of the darkness, lit by a streetlamp, shedding dust as she walks across the street. The scene finishes up with her entering the diner dirty and disheveled and asking for a glass of water. It’s funny and gives some relief after the intensity of that whole being buried alive thing.
The Bride’s walk across the street showed me what a subtle craftsman Tarantino can be. Nothing important happens in this scene, it could be a throwaway moment of levity for the drink of water gag at the counter. Instead he takes the time to compose a dramatically lit space that highlights the clouds of dust as she moves. It is a shot that could be used with equal effect in an atmospheric horror flick, a noir thriller, or a dreamy melancholy romance, with rain or fog substituting for the dust. Tarantino moves it out of visual cliche by layering over it the hilarity of the Bride’s walk even before we get the punchline at the counter.
Beauty + funny = awesome.