SHORT FILM ANALYSIS– ‘WHAT’S VIRGINMEAN?’By Sharna Mandil
‘What’s Virgin Mean?’ – FutureShorts ‘What’s Virgin Mean?’ is a short film of the comedy genre, starring Kate Issit and Rebecca Duffy, portraying a mother and her small child who are the only characters in this short film. The film is approximately 2 minutes 30 long, and focuses around the awkward question of ‘what’s virgin mean?’ asked by the mother’s daughter, in which the mother attempts to awkwardly answer. The plot is something which can relate to both parents and children, as through growing up children often do ask awkward questions as they are curious. This therefore, means people will find humour within this short film as they can relate to it.
Film analysis The film begins with a variety of close up shots of the mother cooking, the daughter colouring (which is an extreme close up) and of a radio which provides dietetic sound which the characters can hear. This setting creates a warm homely feeling for the audience, as they can relate to it, and the setting of the mum cooking a home meal suggests she is a very family orientated, maternal, loving parent. The extreme close up of the child drawing, also draws the audience into a sense of childhood and innocence.
Film analysis Further into the scene a two-shot is used, where we see both the characters together for this first time in the setting of the kitchen. In the kitchen bright lighting is used, which is a convention of the comedy genre to keep a bright mood, as opposed to dark lighting for an eerie background which would be used within a horror or the thriller genre.
Film analysis The scene opens with the mother and the daughter in the kitchen, presumably spending quality time with each other. The warm, soft diegetic music coming from the radio creates a warm homely atmosphere which the audience can relate to. The calm atmosphere is then disrupted by the outburst of an awkward question from the daughter, ‘what’s virgin mean?’. The background music then begins to fade out, which leaves the audience with an awkward silence in which the mother has to fill by trying to tackle her child’s awkward question.
Film analysis The question the child asks is not a typical question you would expect a small child to ask, which leaves the audience feeling as awkward an embarrassed as the mother does. However, the awkward question draws upon the comedy genre and is humours for the audience, as we’re left wondering how the mother could quite possibly tackle this awkward situation. The music fading out, adds to the awkwardness which therefore, adds to the comedy. As the mother begins to answer the question, non-diegetic background music then begins which is quite fast paced. The music is fast paced, so it can help the dialogue can flow as the mother tries to explain what having sexual intercourse means to the small child, and also how babies are made.
Film analysis Throughout the rest of the film, many two shots are used in order to show their relationship with each other. Close-ups are also used to show the mothers facial expressions when trying to answer the daughters question. The mother also awkwardly plays with the prop of the green vegetables in this two-shot, as she has no idea how to answer the question. This further adds to the humour of the situation.
Film analysis Symbolism is also used within the short film. When the mother is trying to explain what making a baby involves, she is holding a courgette which could be seen as sexual symbolism, and therefore, only adults would understand this subtle gesture, therefore, making it more humorous to them. Another sexual symbol is when she is whisking a mixture in a bowl and is getting carried away by explaining how making babies works. Again, as this is a sexual symbol only the adult audience would understand this reference. This is known as iconography.
Film analysis As the mother further tries to explain the process of how babies are made, she gets carried away with what she is talking about and gets caught up in the moment. We start to hear non-diegetic music to represent this, which is fast and up tempo which relates to her emotions, which is quite humorous to the audience. This light-hearted witty music fits in with the comedy genre, and is a typical convention of the comedy genre. As the mother is getting caught up in the moment of her explanation, the director cuts to a scene of the daughter looking blank and perplexed as she can’t grasp at what her mother is trying to get at.
Film analysis The audience are then introduced to a twist towards the end of the film; the mother has answered the complete wrong question which is the real humour. The daughter looks at the virgin oil bottle, which reveals to the audience that the daughters actual question was asking what ‘extra virgin’ meant in terms of olive oil. This is the highlight of the whole film and leaves the audience laughing and on a positive note.
Film analysis The final shot is of the mother slowly turning around in disbelief after what she has just heard. The director has purposefully used a high angle shot, so that to the audience it looks like the shot is from the daughters perspective, adding a sense of innocence as the angle is quite low as the daughter is quite small. The music now has also changed to a more up beat tempo music, which is very fitting of the comedy genre.
Film analysis After the mother turns around, the film then ends and the audience are shown the ending credits and the main film title as we wasn’t shown it in the beginning. The style and font of the title is as it has been written by a child, which further adds to the comedy genre.
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