Narrative On ‘Hide And Seek’

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  • 1. Narrative on ‘Hide and Seek’
    Q1) What makes this an effective opening?
    The opening is effective as it starts with the young girl’s eyes, and so the audience only sees this, and has not been introduced to any other part of the film yet. The camera then shows her hands holding on to the spinning frame she is on, and then to her doll. This, and the angles of the camera, (POV shots and overhead shots) creates a feeling of the audience relating with the girl. As well as the representation of the other characters, these factors make the opening effective in the way it makes the audience feel that this domestic situation is not quite as it seems.
    Q2) How does the audience know who is the hero and who is the villain?
    During the opening we are given the idea that the young girl is going to be the hero in the sense of her being the victim. The film opens with her, and her being young plus the way she is laughing and smiling and holding her doll presents her as innocent and vulnerable. We are also given the impression that the man (playing the girl’s father) which we guess as he walks towards the girl and the mother and stops and smiles at them, could become the villain later in the narrative. This idea is presented through the way he is apart from the mother and daughter, who seem very close; as if not part of their company, and although he is smiling at them there is an element of uncertainty.
    Q3)What genre is the film going to be? How do you know?
    Although the characters in the opening seem cheerful, the music and the time of year, which is winter, make the scene seem slightly more eerie and as if something bad is going to happen, suggesting the genre could be a kind of horror, particularly psychological, suggested by the eerie atmospheric music. This idea is not particularly clear at first, but the feeling uncertainty and expectation of upcoming danger is helped along by the scene in which the mother stands in the kitchen and takes some pills with a glass of wine.
    Q4) Where is the story set? What does this tell you about the genre of the film?
    The film is set in New York on the first day of the New Year, the audience know this as before the action starts this information is put in white font over a black background, introducing the film. We then see that the opening is set specifically in a park on a bleak and cold day. This tells us that the genre may not be a very happy, but is more likely to be strange; presenting the genre as most likely a horror. The dark lighting in the kitchen scene also helps this, as well as the angle of the camera being low and quite far from the mother, with a family photograph in the foreground.
    Q5) How many principle characters?
    From the opening two minutes we get the idea that there are three principle characters, the daughter, mother and father. We are also given the impression that the girl will play the biggest role, as she is the first character to be shown. The photograph in the kitchen scene of the family also helps an audience to see that the family will be the centre of the film. The photograph connotes a happy family but the action of the characters does not support this idea and so this could present bad events to come.
    Q6) How is the story told? Chronologically? What is the effect?
    The story is told chronologically in the opening two minutes of the film, however it skips a lot of action. For example, it skips from the park scene during the day, to the kitchen when we assume it’s night time from the little light, to the girl’s bedroom where the mother tucks her into bed. Skipping all of this time makes the audience wonder what went on between these scenes, and question the mood of the characters.
    Q7) What questions are the audience left with?
    The audience are mostly left with questions about the family, and whether they will be a functional or dysfunctional one, whether they are happy as they are shown in the photograph, or otherwise. We are also left with questions about what is going to happen next, as many things in the opening two minutes, like the expressions on the characters’ faces, the music, and the setting give the impression that something bad is going to happen eventually.