Identify Key Terms:Alignment Analyse the different ways that a filmmaker can ‘Align’ us or manipulate our emotional responses Begin an in-depth analysis of the Boot Camp sequences from Full Metal Jacket You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
ALIGNEMENTThe process of adjusting parts so that they arein proper relative positionALIGNEMENT is the process of identificationwith something or someone.As film students we must refer to the wayspectators are encouraged – through microand macro features – to relate to characters’emotions as well as adopt their points of viewThe emotional impact of a film frequentlydepends on spectator alignment with centralcharacters You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
In what ways can a filmmaker attempt to ‘align’ spectators withspecific characters?Cinematography – a CU positions the spectator closer to thecharacter. Alternatively, a wide shot or MLS will put distancebetween the character and the spectatorSound – certain sounds / music are used to highlight and guide ourresponsesThemes / Content – depending on the subject matter of the filmwe can be easily manipulated if the issues portrayed resonatewithin us on a personal levelE.g/ •Death of a loved one •Cultural / Social Issues You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Watch the opening scene from Goodfellas and make notes onthe following:• What techniques are used to ‘align’ us with Henry Hill(Liotta)?• How do you feel about the character of Jimmy?• How should audiences be feeling about both Jimmyand Henry after this scene?• How does Scorsese make us fear for Henry’s safety andsee Jimmy as a threat? You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Most films will attempt to align the spectator with aspecific character or group of charactersWhy would a filmmaker do this?If a filmmaker can align us with a character(emotionally or culturally) we are more willing to adopta preferred reading of a film (take on the meaningintended by the producer)If we are aligned our emotions can be easilymanipulated and we are more likely toexperience an ‘Audience’ response ratherthan an individual ‘Spectator’ response You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Most films and filmmakers will encourage an audience response – ashared emotional response that is initially intense but quickly fadesHow can a filmmaker do this? Spielberg is an advocate of this approach to • Use existing genre convention cinema and he has been labelled “Technically • The ‘under-dog’ story gifted but intellectually • Sympathetic Characters and situations shallow” • Place characters in realistic scenario – the more common the scenario the better • A mix of ‘mood’ (through music, light etc) and realistic emotions • Play on audience fears and phobias • Build expectation and eventually meet that expectation You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Watch the endings for both ‘Full Metal Jacket’& ‘Platoon’Make a list of the different ways in which thefilm provokes strong emotional responses fromthe audienceHow does the film encourage an audiencereading of the film?What are your opinions on this approach tofilmmaking? You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Films like Platoon offer us two possible readings of the filmWe either ‘Get it’ and accept the meaning and share a response with theaudienceOrWe don’t ‘Get it’ and have no / little emotional response to the filmFull Metal Jacket does not suppose a singlemeaning for the film, rather it relies on theindividual experiences of each spectator tocreate meaning – this is what defines a spectatorexperience as opposed to an audienceexperience You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Some films do not rely on ‘alignment’ to generate a specific responseIn some cases the lack of alignment with a specific character can beused to stop us taking a specific response Watch the opening sequence from Full Metal Jacket and make notes on how Kubrick introduces a group of characters whilst refusing to align us with a one specific character You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
The opening sequence sees the individualsstripped of their own identitiesShaving their heads gives them a ‘uniform look’and they are essentially indistinguishable fromone anotherA Key Theme of ‘loss of identify / individuality’ isintroduced and is the first stage in aligning theaudience with the group, rather than an individualThe idea of ‘the group’ is essential to ourunderstanding of the film and we must considerWHY Kubrick has done this You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
You must now go through the film and identify key scenes whereKubrick attempts to alignment the spectator with the group, over anindividual. Your own personal response should be noted here!Scene Response to character Construction A selection of quick cuts from the same angle reinforces the uniformity of the characters. They are being stripped of their identify (head shaving) and the camera reflects this. The non-diegetic music reinforces the militaristic focus At this point all characters of the film and audience awareness of the Vietnam Head are introduced anonymous conflict may dictate their emotional responses. TheShaving and without individual southern accented twang of the vocalists sing of the identities. individual in Vietnam, not the gung ho all American image from other films. The purpose of this sequence is to introduce and focus upon the regimented army life style and loss of identify the characters will face You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
You must now go through the film and identify key scenes whereKubrick attempts to alignment the spectator with the group, over anindividual. Your own personal response should be noted here!Scene Response to character Construction We see how Hartman treats the rest of the group. He is strict but unconcerned. However Pyle’s open locker and donut provoke a violent and aggressive response towards Pyle. Pyle is humiliated and is charged with “dishonouring himself and the core” (The group). As a result the group are punished. Pyle is literally removed Pyle is a disruptive force “Jelly from the group by Hartman and is positioned to be who brings punishment toDonut” alone. The group maintain their uniformity (stance and the group. push ups) whilst Pyle is framed in a MS with a donut in his mouth, making his appearance more pathetic . The final shot shows the group moving in clinical unison whilst Pyle, surrounded by his discarded items, stands alone. The chants of “I Love the Marine Core” from the You will learn by thegroup reinforces teach ‘otherness’ numbers I will Pyle’s you!