At Sea (Hutton, 2007)

a lovely, patient, soothing watch. my first film from hutton and surely not my last as it’s something that clearly feels very accomplished and seems to play into a lot of the cinematic tendencies i’m attached to. there seems to be a deep admiration of technology, of humans – and, by extension, humanism – throughout the first bit, which i was pleasantly surprised by as i was concerned it could be a one hour montage of good-but-not-great shots of the sea, though it’s much more than that.

of course, making a film about the sea should involve some shots of the sea. hutton focuses on the faces less than brakhage or mekas would and i think the picturesque locales he chooses to shoot in the middle section are a little unfitting, although they all contribute to perhaps the more soothing nature that the first third had solidified. the final third feels a bit like ethnography with the local workers on a beach. i was reminded of the final section of godard’s Notre musique, it seemed like an abstract portrayal of paradise of sorts.

i’ve seen many refer to this as slow cinema. last night i also saw dumont’s L’humanite which i believe definitely qualifies more than something that’s really just avant-garde/structuralist in nature. i realize that splitting hairs in terms of genre (or, in this case, abstract movements that aren’t linked by country or runtime or even intent sometimes) is frustrating and perhaps annoying, but i do think it’s odd that something like this classifies as slow cinema.

At Sea, regardless of whatever arbitrary classification one chooses to use, is a successful experiment however. tonally i find it a bit odd, but i think it’s trying to do many things at once – contrast the beauty of man vs the beauty of nature vs the beauty of people themselves, i don’t think i’ve seen that one before. the end bit is almost impossible not to smile at as well. lovely stuff, and proof that cinema is far from dying. 8

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wonky sheik stuff that isn’t good but has its uses

-ledgedash > (charge) usmash against other sheiks (particularly on fd) when they recover seems like a good option if they’re at high percents. sure you could just regular getup > grab or ledgedash > grab, but i like ledgedashing as it guarantees (if your reactions are correct) that you won’t get gimmicked by their recovery, and i like usmash above like 130 on fd because sometimes you just mess up the dthrow > aerial stuff.

-ledgedash > fsmash as i mentioned vs fox is handy, in general it’s a good bait for players that stay at center stage when you’re stalling on ledge. i think it’s more effective against the faster characters and ones you have a chance to get a techchase on, so against like puff or peach or icies it’s not very good.

-chain has serious practical use against ganon and samus at the very least when they’re recovering. i would argue more against samus as she has some more mixups (you should be able to get most edgeguards on ganon without any problem), and you can chain her to extremely high percents and then just grab a stray hit, which usually isn’t too difficult to do.

-uthrowing spacies under platforms is underexplored and, if your techchasing punish game is on the weaker side like mine is, it can be handy as it forces them into a platform techchase rather than a grounded one. of course, the best thing you can get generally is an aerial, but that can be handy as if they tech away and you get a fair, they’re offstage at 50 or something etc.

-against ganon, one setup i like using as an edgeguarding tool is, when they go low and up b, dropping down with a weak nair, hitting them, eating the up b afterwards, teching it, and walljump fairing. it’s not as difficult as it sounds and it can be a kill on ganon at like 30 which is impressive.

-against most characters, if you get a ledgecancelled nair/nair on a platform to dash off the plat, you can generally get a fair if they hard di in. one big application to this is that you can use nair as a platform techchase since it covers most options, and then react to the di in and get a fair. usually works more on the heavier characters.

-“erik bairs” or dash > sh > reverse needle cancel > bair tends to be safe on shield if the bair is sweetspotted and the bair range is huge, while the aerial itself is pretty quick if you don’t screw up the RNC in some way. a good way to approach  marth in particular.

-on the side plats on yoshis, you can up b directly from the platform to the ledge if you roll all the way to the side. some of the more useful applications to this are a) lightshielding here in between stocks so that you can threaten a shield drop, up b to ledge, spotdodge, fullhop, or doing nothing and getting pushed back (particularly good stuff for people that can steal ledge effectively), b) baiting spacies into recovering to ledge since it’s difficult to react to the animation/where you’re going and then stealing the ledge from them, and c) against marth as the up b is invincible, so you just have to up b down and then hit l/r to pretty much get a guaranteed kill if you have time to set it up and they go to ledge. this stuff is also applicable with “erikdashing” which is doing an up b cancel off the side plat (works on dl, yoshis, bf, and fod usually) and grabbing ledge, which still works against marth and as an invincibility staller, but it’s very technically demanding and can result in you getting punished or flat sd-ing.

some basic sheik tactics against fox in midlevel play

-be aware of crouch cancels, of course, but be aware of not-crouch cancels. if they’re consistently showing they don’t know to CC below 40-50 then by all means throw out some dsmashes, ftilts, etc.when they’re low. no reason to handicap yourself by playing extremely conservative at these low percents if they’re unwilling to capitalize off of it.

-utilt is not safe on shield as they can punish the in-between hit of the hitboxes. however most people don’t know this. fair > utilt on shield is a powerful tool for this reason – or just any utilt on shield. this applies to other chars as well but since fox has the best oos options in the game it’s particularly relevant towards applying pressure to him.

-reacting to an illusion on stage by ledgedashing and boost grabbing/dash attacking seems quite underused. in general, sheik can do a lot from her ledgedash – ledgedash double jump bair can cover high up bs, ledgedash turnaround ftilt can cover some lower angles (including even to ledge sometimes), ledgedash > dash > dsmash or turnaround dsmash can occasionally hit a horizontal firefox, etc. the caveat is that these options are extremely difficult to hit consistently and i believe it’s impossible to react in time should the fox go for ledge. however, most foxes don’t anticipate ledgedash as an edgeguarding option and will often respect the ledge when recovering.

-similar to avoiding low kb moves at lower percents, most sheiks tend to avoid plats against fox since most of them are able to punish your movement. some can’t, however, so using plats can be great, particularly at lower percents to shark some bairs or do some safer fairs.

-always try to counterpick fod or bf. yoshis is probably third unless the fox is extremely aggressive. dl has some nicer bits (sometimes easier edgeguards, you don’t die as early, etc.) but i think giving fox the option to laser camp you/play defensively in general is not worth it. plus on yoshis, sheik can legitimately rush down fox with ac fairs, fast plat movement, etc. and he can’t shoot more than like 2 lasers at a time.

-ledgedash fsmash looks wonky and isn’t very good but if they’re around center stage and they see the fsmash, sometimes foxes can run in and get caught by the second hit. a gimmicky desperation attempt if anything, but something to keep in the toolkit as an in-case.

-avoid using dsmash for the most part to edgeguard fox as it can be teched usually, and they can just sweetspot/ride the wall otherwise. it is good on bf however if they go fully vertical, though i tend to prefer doing ftilt > fair(if they di in) or needle(di away) though perhaps this is suboptimal.

-throw in some poor ledge options (a missed shinostall, a haxdash, uair/nair/dair from the ledge, walljump bair, ledgehop > charge needles, etc.) when the fox is at center and not approaching. this can bait them into rushing in and, therefore, getting punished (usually by a ledgehop fair).

-lightshielding by the ledge can be good; if they grab you and uthrow, just di away and make the uair difficult to get. if they hit your shield, more often than not you can get an aerial from the ledge while they’re in endlag.

-dtilt is good at higher percents because even if they di away, sometimes you can dash in > dtilt again so they have to hit the second di, and i’m not sure if it’s possible to react to it properly if they aren’t aware of this.

-learn to wank di in general. it’s tremendous for when you get drilled, when they start waveshining you across the stage, or when you get uthrow > uaired of course. following di on multiple sdi inputs when doing drills or shines is extremely difficult if you get a lot of them and it’s worth it so you’re not helpless whenever you land on stage from your up b. additionally, when getting waveshined, since you’re holding cstick in a direction, you can also hold l/r to buffer a roll should they mess up, allowing you to essentially immediately escape within the first couple frames after they realize they’re slow.