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A Textual Analysis Of Children Of Men


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A Textual Analysis Of Children Of Men

  1. 1. Textual Analysis - Children of Men <br />(Looking at the portryal of the Lower-Classes)<br />              <br />  Children of Men is a great film to present the portrayal of lower-class society. It is a dystopian future film, set years in a future in which the human race is sterile. It has major film noir influences and portrays them, mainly through the shady colours and the portrayal of the underbelly of society. The clip I chose to analyse from the film opens up with a shot of a group of people standing in a café. This establishes the scene of a society’s underbelly as it is clear that the people in the shop cannot afford to pay for their own TV and have come to the café to watch the news, which can be heard in an off-screen diegetic. The mise en scene in the café all point to it being of low income and clearly not a posh shop, there is tacky wallpaper and the mugs and saucers look dirty and grimy. The people standing in the shop are all wearing cheap, practical clothing which is all of very dark colours, rather than the latest fashion, showing that they are common people, rather than the higher classes.<br />                There is a very slow pace of editing throughout with a total of four cuts occurring within the sequence. This is an aspect of the film noir genre and is used to make the audience feel as if they are there, on the set. Other methods used to draw the audience in are the constant use of hand-held shots. Not one of the three shots is static or on rails, every single one is hand-held and is up close to the action. All of the sound in the clip is diegetic, most of it is off-screen initially and comes from the city. The sounds of cars and general hustle and bustle, is not usually associated with the upper classes and therefore lends itself to continuing the portrayal of the area as the underbelly of society.<br />                The mise en scene of outside is as dark and brooding as that inside the café, the dirt and grit found inside continues outside and appears to be on everything. There are dark and grey buildings, dark and grey cars and dark and grey people. The lack of the colour in general shows that this is not a posh high-class area. There is also a lot of general debris left around the place, the bin bags left in a pile outside of the café, for example, and the torn posters that were sitting upon the electric box. The main character is also shown to take a flask out of his pocket and pour alcohol into his cup of coffee, an action which is stereotypically associated with people of a lower position in society.. In upper-class areas, it seems unlikely that bin bags would be dumped in the street, therefore this also adds to the portrayal of the area as a low-class area.<br />                Along with the constant diegetic noise, other diegetic noise is also found within the clip. The dialogue of the main character ordering a cup of coffee and the dialogue of the news reporter telling the stories of woe and despair contrast and show the main character does not seem to care as much for the news as the rest of the inhabitants of the café. This lack of interest is shown to save the man’s life later, when the café explodes. There is a loud bang in this scene associated with the explosion and the camera is shown to run past the main character to get a closer look (This lack of a zoom once again draws the audience into the situation and makes them feel a part of the underbelly of society). The explosion kicks out a load of debris that continues to add to the debris on the street and people are seen to be wounded. This sort of violence is usually associated with people of a lower class and therefore continues to add to the view that the people and areas shown are not rich.<br />                The scene ends with the ringing noise, a result of the explosion, continuing through to a simple black background with the words, “Children Of Men” superimposed in white. This lack of complexity continues to add to the view that the film is set in the underbelly of society rather than the more stereotypically flamboyant  upper classes.<br />