Thursday, 22 May 2014

Black Gaze - Django Unchained

In contrast, the film with the black gaze either represents sympathy or violence, ranging from the camera position as the voyeur seeing the black slaves being abused verbally or physically, or through Django’s own gaze, mostly being violent. The use of violence goes along with the stereotype of black men being violent. Interesting how this is conveyed even whilst the slaves are under white control an example would be the Mandigo fighting scene.

Sympathy more comes from the viewer, regardless of ethnicity, the camera positions you into feeling sorry for characters mostly because they are black and endure punishment for their ethnicity.

The black gaze also focus’s on Django through a different perspective as a perspective. Through a neutral perspective Django is just a hero saving his wife. Through the black gaze Django is viewed as a traitor through him not showing any form of brotherhood and care to the various black slaves he meets along the way in rescuing Bromhilda (his wife). The epitome example of this is the scene where Schultz tries to get Calvin to stop abusing a slave by offering to pay for him. Django gets involved and basically says that Calvin can do anything he wants to the slave as he says ‘he’s yo nigger’. This then leads to the slave being eaten alive by dogs. These two shots parallel to one another signify the contrast in brotherhood at this point Django, being alone and the other slaves in a group shot all together.

 The scene that transitions alignment with Django from a black gaze is the burning down of candyland. With the actions of killing several of the slave owners and abusers within the plantation as well as burning the plantation home down, this symbolises Django actually putting an end to slavery within one of the South's biggest plantation homes as well as freeing the slaves who used to work there. This then aligns Django in being a black man and defending his ethnicity it also justifies his previous actions as he needed to be quiet previously to allow him the opportunity to blow up candyland.


Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Gender & Spectatorship Exam Question

Gender is partly significant as a factor in regards to a spectators experience due to their ability to identify or relate to characters based on gender. Although gender is one of many factors such as age, ethnicity, sexuality and general life experiences in relation to a film. The male gaze, psychoanalysis, the mirror stage and spectatorship are also of significance in relation to films especially Black Swan which links to all these subjects. A Clockwork Orange and Django Unchained are additionally other films that also link with the subjects as well.

The ideas within psychoanalysis of child development relate a lot to Nina in Black Swan. Through her mother’s constant control over her life, Nina’s rebellion against her mother can be a representation of when Freud discusses the childs rebelliousness when they have reached sexual maturity and ready to seek a mate against anyone they feel is a threat in achieving this. The personality of Nina is also conveyed early on and with her fragility coming as a result of her mother’s constant control over her life, exemplified when she checks on Nina for being in the bath to long. This can link to gender being significant to the spectator, although it would come more from their own life experiences, rather than just gender as one factor. The exploration of Nina’s own development in regards to the transition from the white swan to the black swan also is parallel to her sexually maturing linking to psychosexuality. The masturbation is influenced by her dance teacher Thomas, who can be looked at as Nina’s parental father figure that she never had. When he kisses he for the first time and she bites him, this could be interpreted as conveying the idea in which girls become attracted to their fathers during their sexual development stage. Her biting Thomas could be a representation to suppress this idea. The use of sex as a repressive idea within Nina’s mind is also looked at with her fantasising about Lily and dreams that she comes over with the pair having sex. The subconscious of Nina is therefore in battle with her conscious in which her sexual thoughts have grown so intense due to her suppressing them she dreams subconscious of the fantasy which manifests as reality until she sees Lily the next day. This can also show gender to be of significance but also takes into hand sexuality as a factor.

The mirror stage is another that corresponds to the spectators viewing experience in regards to their gender. The ability of the spectator being able to be both omnipresent and potent character is definitely seen especially with the camera. The ability for the audience to be present in private events like the dancers changing rooms, Nina’s sexual fantasies in bed and when she scratches and peels of skin in private are all scenes in which the spectator sees and able to view themselves as the omnipotent ego. This links the spectators reaction to being able to see everything differing based on their gender. The mirror stage is exemplified in Black Swan with the film taking the audience in and not breaking the 4th wall but constantly keeping up the illusion that the viewer can see all and at the same time appear unseen like God. A key example is when Nina peels skin of her finger and the use of close ups and edited in diegetic sound really bring the spectator into the illusion of reality, conveying Nina actually peeling of her skin and feeling genuine pain and discomfort, rather than an actor on screen. The ability to see oneself as the ultimate power in Black Swan links with gender as it also brings along ideas in which spectators mirror and identify with on screen characters. Although, the film makes it clear that the spectator has power in deciding the films outcome, the example being Nina’s death at the end, and then the film ending allowing the spectator as the omnipresent figure to decide what her death symbolically represents. The choice in mis-en-scene of having mirrors as a constant motif in the film represents Nina’s identity and how she becomes unsure of it as she transitions from the sweet innocent White Swan under her mother’s control and becomes the Black Swan as she develops sexually and grows out from her mother’s control. This also explains why she hallucinates certain thing to happen when looking in a mirror. With a lot of developments in her personality, especially sexuality this is likely to relate more to a female spectator, due to more likely parallel life experiences compared to a male spectator.

The male gaze is probably the most significant aspect in regards to a spectator due to the feelings of emotion it can bring out depending on someone’s gender. Like many films this one comes from a male and both the voyeurism and gaze are present. The most notable examples like the dancers changing rooms and Nina’s sexual fantasies in bed show this ability with audience able to view all these so called private events from the comfort of their seat. Although Nina’s lesbian fantasy scene does have some legitimacy in its contribution to the film, the scene in general is quite voyeuristic and looks like its filmed more for a male audience. The use of close ups and body shots with the prominent diegetic kissing sounds does make the scene seem more like it is intended to arouse, through a male view point of lesbian sexuality. The capturing of the facial expressions and lead up to Nina’s climax also conveys the queer gaze. The use of the camera allowing us into the access of the changing room also links with voyeurism, entering this all female world and showing them undressing. The male and queer gaze could effect someone’s viewing experience, showing both sexuality and gender as a factor in affecting a spectator’s experience.  An alternative interpretation could be that the voyeurism is more from a standpoint of the queer rather male gaze. Other scenes like when Nina and Thomas are on their own and when she bites him and then when he seduces her are from a standpoint of 
a male, with the camera focussing primarily on Nina, her body being played with and her reactions. This is something that sways the argument of the queer gaze and makes the lesbian fantasy scene to be more for male viewing pleasure.

With the spectator also come the ideas on emotional response, alignment and whether the spectator reads deeper meaning intellectually within a film or they see at as a visually stimulated spectacle.  These factors need to also be taken into consideration with a spectators viewing experience of Black Swan. In regards to alignment this is likely to be influenced by how the spectator can relate to a character through their own life experiences along with how the camera and editing of a film positions the spectator with someone. Black Swan views Nina as the one we should identify with due to her prominence and another factor is the emotional response invoked. Emotions range from Nina’s self harm scenes to the sex scene fantasy. Different emotional responses will come from the spectator. When viewing Nina’s transition from the pure white swan to her metamorphosis into the seductive black swan can invoke a different response to an intellectual female viewing, which could interpret it as the liberation of Nina’s sexuality. A spectacle viewing of the film is more likely to respond to the dance sequences, and graphic self harm scenes and will therefore infer an alternative reading to Black Swan. Black Swan can be read by two different gender viewings as a contemporary film. Films like Black Swan have transitioned from older films like A Clockwork Orange, which only really focuses on the male gaze in the viewing of a film through a male perspective. This is exemplified through many women’s role in the film involves them being naked for voyeuristic pleasure and raped. Through the use of women as ‘sexual bait’ for the protagonist Alex men and women would likely view the film differently, with gender being quite significant in regards to spectatorship with this film. A second contemporary film that adopts an alternate gaze in the viewing of a film is Django Unchained. The film can be looked at through the black gaze – which centres itself on themes of brotherhood and togetherness. Django, at the end of the film adopts these values. Throughout he separates himself from the other black slaves- the epitome of this being where Dr. Schultz offers to buy a slave so Calvin can stop ‘toying with him’ (in Django’s own words) and Django says no. This then leads to the slave being eaten alive by dogs. The use of juxtaposition with shot of the black slaves reacting next to the shot of Django on his own emotionless really shows his lack of brotherhood and allegiance to the other slaves. The burning down of candyland is the scene in which Django finally aligns himself with other slaves, freeing the remaining ones and burning down the plantation, which they worked at. The film plays around with alignment similar to A Clockwork Orange and to an extent Black Swan through aligning with a protagonist who is not necessarily a hero, and like Alex does quite a lot of actions that are immoral, like beating up people and raping women.

Although gender poses some significance it is not the only thing that affects a spectators viewing experience. Additional things like psychoanalysis and a spectator’s life experiences, the mirror stage and the audience’s position within a film. Although gender has some significance, it does not have the most significance in determining a persons viewing of a film. The most significant is the audience life experiences as ultimately this decides the spectator aligns with a character and how one relates to the narrative.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Full Metal Jacket - Analysis

 The characters equal amount of screen time help convey the equal importance of each of their pieces of dialogue spoken on the war. Animal Mother stating 'Better you than me' - shows his true selfishness and how he feels towards the other soldiers. When animal mother says on 'you think we waste gooks for freedom and the war being a 'slaughter' this conveys his recklessness and only motivation in being in the war to kill others.

With him doing this over the dead bodies - whilst the scene is shot as if he and the other soldiers are looking down at the dead bodies, the camera positions us as the dead bodies. It also questions the message on the morality of war that seemed to be present as a message earlier on in the film as evidently Animal Mother's purpose within the war is to kill others.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

How MICRO elements construct meaning.

How MICRO elements construct meaning?
The use of shallow focus on the character up until the point where he picks up the food shows that it is his actions that make him significant, rather than his appearance on screen.

The cross cut between Mc Gregor and the ropes convey his punishment/ enslavement he receives because he takes the food.

Sympathy is felt for McGregor's character as he seems to unmorally punished for doing something as simple as eating food, whilst there doesn't seem to be a motive, or anyone seen harming him as he does it. It invokes the feeling that he may be getting punished by a higher power, perhaps God - something the filmmaker may relate to.

Sympathy is additionally felt for McGregor's character because he of the very graphic use of the fishhook around his mouth along with the low angle close up that shows more vividly.