This video helped me understand a few things that I’ve come to notice over time.
I recollect very clearly how Eva and I once went to see the Takeshi Kitano vehicle Brother in the cinema once. There was a scene in the film that was a shot of two men in the back of a limousine, one looking out the window at the city passing him by, the other stoically staring at nothing in front of him, only stirring to brush a noticed bit of fluff from his leg. A group of people behind us just didn’t get the pacing, the stillness, the pointlessness of the scene, while I loved it.
One of my favourite scenes in Ghost in the Shell, is a scene that adds nothing to the story, except to add some mood to the film by showing some disconnected shots of the city. I love everything about that sequence, but I was never able to put my finger on why it was so special and why it was so different.
Now I do. It’s aspect-to-aspect, rather than action-to-action.
Action-to-action is the transition from one shot to another that drives the story forward, from one goal-driven action to another goal-driven action. This is something that’s most often used in Western visual storytelling media, like cinema and comic books, while Eastern (specifically Japanese) storytelling often uses aspect-to-aspect transitions, where the story isn’t driven forward, just the perception, which helps to explore the space the scene plays out in.