Clips – head shavingPrivate Joker & Pyle and the drill sergent
Spec and Resp - Lesson 4 alignment
A2 FILM STUDIES
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 following extract from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver andmake notes on the following:•What emotions are engendered by the vigilantebloodbath scene in Taxi Driver?• Do these emotions involve pleasure of some sort?• If so, what is the nature of this pleasure?• If it is not pleasurable, why do audiences exposethemselves to these kinds of scenes, deliberatelyexposing themselves to a certain type of emotionalresponse? 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 single A point proven bymeaning for the film, rather it relies on the both Tom andindividual experiences of each spectator to Henry’s reaction to the film last lessoncreate meaning – this is what defines a spectatorexperience as opposed to an audienceexperience You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
Complete your handouts and provide answers for all the questions:What do you think the film is about?Who is the main character?How do you feel about the portrayal of Private Pyle?Why was the film split in to two distinct sections?In what ways does the director detach the audience from thecharacters? You will learn by the numbers I will teach you!
You must now go through the film and identify key scenes wherealignment takes place or attempts to take place. Your own personalresponse 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. The Shaving 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!