“childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour ofreason grows” – John Betjeman
About The Boy in the Striped Pyjama’sThe boy in the striped pyjamas is a film directed by Mark Herman set duringWorld War 11, it is a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, a son ofa commandant of a concentration camp whose forbidden friendship with aJewish boy on the other side of the camp fence which has startling andunexpected consequences.Released in September 2008 the boy in the striped pyjamas is distributed byMiramax films a company that distributes independent and foreign films. Thefilm was also produced by Heyday films a British film production company.The budget of the film was a very small amount, of £12.5 million which showsthat the film is an independent British film as the budget isn’t as big as aHollywood blockbuster.
Establishing characters and settingThe setting is established by the camera moving in through ‘Nazi flags’ onto a townsquare in Berlin. This camera shot is a an aerial view of the town square which thenswoops in to show the characters in the opening sequence of them pretending to fly.This links to the genre of the film, the Nazi flags, the town square of Berlin and thechildren pretending to fly, could show the genre of the film, which is about the war.Characters are established by running through the town square, showing theinnocence and vulnerability of the children during the second world war. Othercharacters are established by the journey of the children running through the towngoing past people sitting on the town square, navy and war soldiers sat on thebenches and in the war transport. The characters being established like this showswhat the children see.
Actors in the film The actors and actresses in the film are all British actors but are not well known as the film is independent. Asa Butterfield Jack ScanlonStarring David Thewlis Vera Farmiga Rupert Friend Asa Butterfield is the star actor as he plays ‘Bruno’ in the film, he is also known for the knew film that is out in cinemas called ‘Hugo’ and is set to be starring in a film in 2013 called ‘Enders Game’.
SoundIn the opening sequence of the first two minutes, both non-diegetic and diegeticsound is used. Music is put over the top of the establishing shot, the music is classicaland shows the age of when the film was set, showing that it is not set during recenttimes in history. The non-diegetic sound is used by classical instruments playing overthe scene, but the non-diegetic sound is used when the children run into the towncentre making noises of planes. There is no dialogue within the opening sequencewhich may show that they want the audience to look at what is going on and thejourney of the children and not concentrating on what the characters are saying.
Font and CreditsThe font is presented in a very simplistic font with the colour of white which shows that the life of the people the film is focused on is very simple. Also the colour of white represents innocence, which shows the innocence of the boy that the film is focused on. White alsoresembles peace, which is where the film contradicts itself because it is about war, which is about violence and fighting. The quote at the beginning of the film is also presented in the same font and colour as the credits which pull the audiences more towards the quote and actually readwhat they are saying. The background of the title at the beginning is red which could also suggest the blood shed of the war and the people in the concentration camps.
Camera Angles and EditingMost of the angles in the film are establishing shots of what is going on. Theyuse a follow shot of Bruno as it is his journey that the viewers are going on. Theaerial shot also shows the children ‘swooping’ through the town square which isexactly what the children are doing. The editing cuts back and to from the housethat he is travelling to and the journey he is taking to get there. The editingshows continuity throughout the opening sequence and this makes it easy forthe audience to follow and understand.Other camera angles are also used like close up of certain objects the directorwanted you to pay attention to, for example the glasses that the maid iscleaning, links to a very substantial part later on in the film including othercharacters.
Mise-en-SceneLighting- The lighting in the opening sequence is very natural as they use lighting fromthe exterior shot in the town square.Props- Props used in the opening sequence are very significant to what goes on in thelatter stage of the film. For example, the cups being cleaned by the maid links to whathappens when the young boy Bruno meets has to clean the cups in the commandants(his fathers) house.Costume- The costume of the characters in the film, suggest that this film is set withinthe time of world war two, using the uniform of the two characters on the bench inthe square as they are dressed in army uniform. Also the costume of the family thefilm is focused on suggests that they are wealthy as they are wearing tailored suits andjumpers and dresses.Setting- setting of a town square in Berlin shows that the place of the film is focusedaround this country and the time of the war but it being set in Germany doesn’tnecessarily show the audience that this is a British film.
Target AudienceAge- the age range of this film could vary beingas it is quite an educational film the audiencecould be from the age of 16 and over, the filmincludes very emotional and serious scenes ofsomething that really happened and thereforethis film may be watched by adults to show theholocaust in a lighter way. Although this filmcould be watched as a family and therefore theage widens, this may also be watched bystudents for educational reasons.
Nationality- this film is a British independentfilm and therefore the nationality is Englishalthough it is based on a European event thefilm wouldnt necessarily be widely viewed by aGerman audience but it would be shown overthere. The actors are British and is distributed bya British company so therefore the nationality ofthe film and audience is English.
Occupational/Social role – the social role in thisfilm is to educate the audience about theholocaust and ww2, therefore teachers may usethis film to educate their students for a historylesson or they may use the novel version of thisfilm to use a literature piece in schools tooshowing that this film may be used foreducational and occupational reasons ratherthan viewing at a weekend with friends.
Gender- the film is for both genders as the filmisnt necessarily aimed at a certain gender inparticular but the female role in this film wouldbe based around mothers and how they bringup their children around certain situations. Themale gender focus in this would be to show themale in a powerful and evil way which may bethe reasons for men going to watch this film as itshows a father taking control of his family in themost horrendous way.
Reason for viewing- people may go to view thisas they no it is a tear jerker and may upset theaudience because of the event it is basedaround, they may also go to view this film forget information about the holocaust and seehow many young boys in the concentrationcamps were treated making them feelsympathetic towards them.
Media Institutions and distribution‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is adrama, history, war film directed by Mark Herman.The certificate on the film is a 12A most probablybecause it has scenes that children may findupsetting and therefore adults have to buy thechildrens tickets to watch the film and accompanythem in the cinema. The film was first released inthe UK on the 28th August 2008 at the Carnegie filmfestival and was officially released in the cinemason the 12th September 2008.
Film Companies.This film is co-owned by Miramax, Heyday Films andBBC Films, showing a co-ownership in this filmcould maybe suggest the success of the film.Walt Disney also have a link with this film as theyhave helped distribute the film also as they haveobviously said that they will sell the film dependingon the success of the film. They will sell this film byhome entertainment too, showing they will sell iton DVD to consumers.
Links.The links between the target audience and theinstitutions is the fact that BBC Films is part ofthe BBC, as the BBC are there to educate peopleas well as inform, which show that the targetaudience for this film may be teachers orstudents as they may be wanting to watch thefilm to educate and inform them about historyof the war.
As far as I can see ‘The Boy in the StripedPyjamas’ I cant see any history of the film beingshown on sky from the research I have done, butI have watched it on Film4 on Freeview TV at9.00pm at night for a late night film, eventhough the film is a 12A this still may be shownpost watershed.The film has also come out on DVD too and hasmade $12,180,316 in DVD sales.