- Miss-en-scene in “Citizen Kane”.
The biopic “Citizen Kane” represents special interest in the context of studying the uniqueness of lighting, setting, movement and costume within the film because here all the elements of miss-en-scene greatly enlarge the feel of the main theme of the film – the loss. The reporter appears to be the “faceless” hero that together with the audience feels the interest towards the story of Charles Kane that seems to be moving to the complete bitterness and complete loss (Naremore 2004). The scene of the first memory from Kane’s childhood seems to be the beginning of this journey. The small Kane is seen in the window at the background, while foreground is taken by his parents that talk about the future of their son with Mr. Thatcher. The frame of the window appears to look like a trap in which young Kane got caught, as he gets trapped in the guardianship of Mr. Thatcher. This scene appears to be the most powerful example of how miss-en-scene can demonstrate the main thought of the movie. This moment seems to be the last moment of his childhood as Kane is never again shown on the white background. Therefore, snow symbolizes cleanness and innocence of a child. Another expressive usage of miss-en-scene is in the moment of the terrible performance of Kane’s wife. First, the light demonstrates Kane clapping his hands like the rest of the audience, but then the light goes down and therefore only a silhouette of the hero is seen in the shadow like his importance goes down and he is alone in his applause and in his opinion in general. He is just a dark silhouette standing alone in his life. This technique seems to be quite innovative and therefore unusual for cinematography of that time.
- Cinematography: Inception.
Current movie represents special interest when talking about cinematography analysis. The winner of 2011 Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Inception is a bright example of professional usage of great amount of effects that result in the real miracle on the screen (Khan 2014). Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of the film, together with the director Christopher Nolan used camera angles as the key component of the Inception’s magic. Camera gives more depth to the shots and increases the intrigue in the series of moments that attracts the audience’s attention and keeps it involved in the movie. In the first scene we see the close shots of Cobb’s face that is washed up on the beach and then found and taken by the guards to the huge building. From this moment, Cobb’s and Saito’s faces are not shown directly. The small dot on the table is in the main focus with the number of shots where Cobb is on the background. The tension emerged as the conversation develops and finally it cuts to Saito’s face. The small object that is in cameras’ focus provokes remarkable interest of the audience even nobody knows what it really is. This is how the real meaning of the small thing is expressed with the help of cinematography. This is the professional usage of cameras that create close shots that focus the attention of concrete objects or faces. The same technique is used in the last scene. There is the series of close shots of faces to underline emotions and eye contacts of the main heroes, then the middle shots that spread the tension to the close background and include important moves and poses. We see how Cobb’s face in the close shot expresses the series of unsaid questions, but then we see how his pose changes and he takes control of oneself. Saito is also first shocked and exhausted in the close shot, but then we see how he starts to call somebody. The attention of the audience is now being spread on the background. With the help of this technique the accents are made on important emotions, key characters and places.
- Editing: Casablanca.
Editing plays the key role in Casablanca. Its’ extensive usage was much more important for creating the specific atmosphere than miss-en-scene or panning shots within the movie (Bordwell, Thompson 2004). First of all, editing was used to mix different genres, like romance, history and action. Editor used cutting in order to show several different scenes happening at the same time that are of different genres. In one shot, Lazlo and Carl have to escape the Nazi soldiers while being at the Free French meeting. Bu tat the same time there is a romantic noir scene that demonstrates the relationship between Ilsa and Rick. This adds important contrast and therefore both lines become more colorful and emotional (Cohen 2009). This attracts the attention of the audience as film is telling a romantic story that is enriched with a series of elements of the other genres. Editing also allowed hiding certain mistakes in the movie, such as the errors with the physical continuity of the objects. It can be seen when observing the Rick’s bar. This will never be possible to hide them with panning shots, but editing allowed to cut together different shots that makes it difficult for the viewer to point out that there are some flaws. The editing here focuses the attention of the audience o the characters and the story told within the film. Therefore, potentially unsuccessful screening of Casablanca became a real sensation as editing allowed to make characters look entertaining and at the same time easy to understand and to follow during the development of the plot.
- Sound: Lovely Bones.
Current work of Peter Jackson is made as drama film with elements of horror and sometimes surrealism. The smooth shift from one genre to another is made with the help of sound that is also changing together with the development of the plot (Lelivelt 2010). The specific atmosphere of life after deaths is organized with the help of unusual sound that is extremely mystique and mysterious. In the beginning of the film and the establishment of the main characters, the sound is clear and gentle. Such music does not catch the attention of the audience as it mixes smoothly with the visual part. This produces the impressions of the ordinary everyday life of the common family. The situations seem familiar and understandable to every person. This opened and soundly invisible beginning produces the bright contrast to the next part of the film and makes it more expressive and emotional. When everything changes, is produces the shocking effect on the audience that is extremely important when the main character, Susie, dies. When the plot gets closer to the deaths of the girl, the slight change of sound can be mentioned. When Susie first meets her murderer, the sinister and ominous music starts to play in order to provoke emotions of fear and the feel of some danger in the future. The magic of the atmosphere is supported by the dialogue that does not express any tensions or aggression. However, the music is extremely tense and it seems that the girl is already in a trap. Moreover, the claustrophobic atmosphere is created by adding the sound of footsteps, rustling leaves and breathing. The only energetic moment in the film occurs when murdered attacks and kill Susie, and as it is supported by extremely energetic, horrifying music that creates bright contrast to everything before and therefore catches the attention of the audience. After her deaths, the specific peculiar sounds produce the impression that it is no longer the ordinary reality and therefore mystique sounds now create important contrast to differ the real world and Limbos.
- Film: Apocalypto.
Current film represents special interest for studying and analyzing as it has the series of symbolisms that distinguish it from the great amount of other films on the topic of the civilization of Mayas. In the begging of the film, the symbolic ritual of manliness during which the men of the tribe are hunting. The numerous ornaments that can be seen on the men in the tribe, walls and everywhere symbolize authority. The same refers to the long hair and special hairstyle. Ziggurat that is the pyramid like the one, where the tribe leader and his family are standing, is the bright symbol of self-glorification and the act of the acceptance to the particular group within the society as one the family of the header can be there (Scott 2006). Symbolism can also be seen in the costumes and appearance of the characters, as the members of the tribe have specific necklaces and the men have pierced noses. The blue pain that was put on the Jaguar Paw and other prisoned men is the symbol of sacrifice. The little infectious girl that is met by the prisoners and their guards in the woods symbolizes the sign of God and the evil omen. The jaguar that is met by Jaguar Paw when he runs from the soldiers that tried to kill him symbolizes himself and his inner power. All this in common produces the desired atmosphere of ancient world, where wild nature was combined with the multiple traditions and signs of the tribes and the emerged culture. The peak of Mayans development is also symbolized by the pyramid, but additional sign - the eclipse of the Sun – symbolizes danger for these people that come unexpectedly. All the symbolism perfectly restored the atmosphere of ancient times and it involves the audience in what is happening on the screen.
- Aspects of fictional films: Pulp Fiction.
When analyzing the elements of the fictional film, it is important to underline the narrative that is a system of a number of represented events that are present in one or several settings. It can be fictional, factual or a mixed variant. Pulp Fiction is a fictional film. It is also non-chronological as fictional film can be chronological or non-chronological (Altman 1999). The next aspect is structure of the film. Pulp fiction includes a number of imaginary characters and the plot is based on the system of entirely imaginary events. Another important element is that the characters usually have one or several main goals thy want to achieve although there is a series of boundaries on their way. In Pulp Fiction, there is a series of key characters and all of them have their goals, the achieving of which produce the unexpected situations, conflicts and warfare. The story changes a lot during the film, but in the end almost all of the characters fail to reach their goals as they wanted, as in the typical fictional film. Pulp fiction also meets another aspect of the genre as it seriously involves the audience in the story. In the middle of the story there is demonstration of the method that characters use in order to achieve their goals and how their decisions and actions affect the other characters in the film. The end of Pulp Function demonstrates the main outcomes of these actions and the effect produced on the other people and the story in general. Another aspect is time, as the implementation of flash forwards and flashbacks plays important role in fictional films. It is unusual to see a flash forward in such film, although in Pulp Fiction the beginning of the film shows one of the last scenes of the story. Fabula is present within the film to produce specific effect on the audience and make it extremely interested in the story and its development (Bordwell, Thompson 2004). Pulp Fiction has a specific style that cannot be compared to other films, with the elements of noir, black comedy, action and drama.
- Sources of fictional films: Interstellar.
Fictional films can have a lot of different sources, such as storyboards, written story, video games, other fictional stories that are usually based on the script that may be an original story, although in the majority of cases it is more often based on some fictional works or historical events in the specific version, TV show, fictional work, play and other. Interstellar is an excellent example of the science fiction film that is based on the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne (O’Neil 2014). The usual use of fiction works for the film is limited to the fiction novels, although the real scientific works represent real interest for the movie industry. It is important to study such works in details in order to the actual story and all the elements and settings. Within the film it is possible to create certain atmosphere of the fictional space and the elements that cannot be seen in the real life. This adds more action to the story and increase emotional tension. It is important to underline that the current film was made also on the basis of the prior fictional films, such as Star Wars, The Right Stuff, Alien, The treasure of Sierra Madre, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It therefore includes certain allusions or references on the older films, such as the moments with the explanation specifications of time in space on the sheet of paper.
- Alternative to live action film: Beowulf.
There are two main alternatives to live action ion the film: animation and computer graphics. As the tome passes, the elaboration of new techniques gives the creators of the action films new opportunities to male perfect shots and creates extremely realistic scenes without making it a live action. These days, it is even possible to compose the elements of both in order to produce spectacular effect. It can be seen in such films as Beowulf (Zemeckis, 2007) and Polar Express (Zemeckis, 2004). In Beowulf, the usage of computer graphics with the animation-alike elements produced the desired effect of the ancient tale and the characters looked like the heroes from the old legend. The character of Angelina Jolie, the fantastic creature, looked quite realistic and the additional computer effects allowed her costume to look real and at the same time she seemed unreal, like all the other characters. Therefore, when she was talking to the king, there was no difference in the appearance of both as it would have been in real action. The fight scenes were more expressive and adapted to the medieval times. Computer graphic gave the ability to create the required background area that no more exists nowadays. The same heroes were shown in their young and old age. Computer graphic made it possible as their faces looked realistic and mimics were expressive and dynamic. The additional effects composed the general impression of the film and created the needed atmosphere of the legend.
- Documentary: Transgeneration.
Documentary films differ from all the other film genres as they show the real people and real stories with no imaginary elements. This usually attracts the audience as everything they see happened to people they might know or the problems these people face can be familiar to them and therefore they can gain new experience of how to accept such life experience. Thansgeneration film by Jeremy Simons is a story about the social and sexual adaptation of three college students that are transsexuals (Smith 2010). Here, it is possible to witness their inner and problems and understand what the struggles that such people face nowadays are. This problem is one of the most important for the contemporary society and therefore film represents high interest to different people. This problem is also extremely specific and highly emotional that makes people sympathetic and interested in the future of the main characters. The realistic and bright portraits of their family, college tutors and colleagues, as well as the general portrait of society in this particular case represents the key interest, while the medical aspect in in briefly discussed and it does not catch the audience’s attention. However, the problems that these people face are lack of understanding that can be solved with the help of medical explanation of their stance. Here, medical aspect limits to the hormone therapies and other means that are used by the students to get closer to the opposite gender. The absence of the additional effects increases the role of the real world and realistic filming and editing increases the fell of the reality of the story. The special attention is paid to the specifications of the families, such as the conservative Greek family of one of the characters that refuses to accept their son. The theme of lack of acceptance within one particular family addresses to the same problem that exists in the American society in general. It demonstrates how difficult it is to be different within the contemporary society that seems to be so liberal at first glance.
- Avant-garde: Run Lola Run.
Studying avant-garde genre in contemporary films represents real interest for studying and research as it really differs from the other types of films and usually it produce the extremely surprising and unexpected effect. For example, the 1998 film Run Lola Run was a real surprise for the critics of the German filing industry (Mueller 2004). It is really interesting and catchy, and it is easy to watch by the extremely broad audience. It combines the elements of European avant-garde with the Hollywood traditions. The philosophic theme of chance and time are opened through the presentation of three different variations of what could have happened in case the main character makes different decisions. Lola’s red hair and hipster look is combined with the ordinary and extremely realistic problems she faces that produces interesting contrast. The film combines the romantic story, action and philosophic issues. Lola appears to be in the series of different places to find a solution for the problem she has and the contrast between her inside and outside individuality and the bank of her father or the prestigious casino creates the atmosphere of chaos. It entertains and at the same time tells something about Germany with the series of beautiful urban backgrounds and the youths’ culture of that time. The theme of Germany’s Americanization is demonstrated though the fashion, casino popularity among the representatives of the upper social class, the atmosphere that exists inside the bank, the development of the mafia inside the country and the demonstrated variants of the possible future of the characters (Horak 1998). The elements of the mass culture and the popular culture of 1990s with the specifications of German society create the dynamic action with the energetic atmosphere. The great difference between the three possible variants of Lola’s future demonstrates the fragility of humans’ life and illusive our plans are.