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Short Film Analysis 4
Perfection
Ruth Perry
About
`Perfection` is a short film based on a children's game called perfection which is
a race against time where the pla...
Screen Shot 1
Social Realism
This screen shot shows the point in which this game of perfection is first introduced to the
young girl and...
Screen Shot 2
Barthes and Strauss
This image shows the baby sitting on the mothers lap whilst the mothers hands are grasping onto the
ba...
Screen Shot 3
Social Realism
In this shot the mother can be seen pointing towards the perfection game instructing the child
to play it a...
Screen Shot 4
Strauss and Social Realism
The screen shot shows the young girl now that she is slightly older sitting in front of the
per...
Screen Shots 5,6,7,8
Barthes and Social Realism
As the film progresses there is montage editing showing the young girl grow up into and woman
s...
Conclusion
In conclusion, I believe the main ideology behind this short
film was the concept that parents put too much pre...
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Short Film Analysis 4 Perfection

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This SlideShare shows my analysis of a short film called 'Perfection' which shows the struggles of an Asian American woman as she tries to achieve success and gain her parents approval.

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Short Film Analysis 4 Perfection

  1. 1. Short Film Analysis 4 Perfection Ruth Perry
  2. 2. About `Perfection` is a short film based on a children's game called perfection which is a race against time where the player has 60 seconds to match shapes to a board. The game shows the struggles of an Asian American woman as she tries to achieve success and gain her parents approval. Taught this game from a young age the girl continues into her teens to strive for perfection but begins to wonder if her parents will still love her if she fails. I found this film to be particularly interesting from the social realist perspective that in today's society parents seem to put too much pressure on their children and have unrealistically high expectations which is unhealthy as children are constantly trying please their parents with no consideration of their own desires and ambitions. This film seems to convey a clear ideology consequently using Roland Barthes‘ ideas about denotation, connotation and myth as well as including binary opposites (Strauss).
  3. 3. Screen Shot 1
  4. 4. Social Realism This screen shot shows the point in which this game of perfection is first introduced to the young girl and it’s clear that the mother has been set on encouraging her child to be perfect from birth. The child seems to be looking away from the mother in this shot and is holding what looks like a plastic toy whilst there is fore grounded sound as the mother tips plastic shapes out of a bag. The fact that the baby is looking away from the mother shows lack of concentration and interest as she is not interested in this game although the mother is insistent on making her play it which shows the conflict between the mothers aspirations for the child and child wanting to learn and explore of her own accord. This could be related to Strauss’ theory about binary opposites as there seems to be a clash between adolescence vs adulthood. This is further emphasised by the contrast between the plastic toy in the child's hand representing youth and immaturity and with the game of perfection which the young girl is taught to aspire to through to her adult life. The fore grounded sound used when the mother is tipping the plastic shapes out of the bag could have been used to show the significance of this game in her life and could represent how striving for perfection has drowned out anything else which could be of importance. This reinforces the social realist issue that parents put too much pressure on their children and rather than showing them the unconditional love they desire, will set unrealistic goals which children feel as though they have to achieve to feel accepted.
  5. 5. Screen Shot 2
  6. 6. Barthes and Strauss This image shows the baby sitting on the mothers lap whilst the mothers hands are grasping onto the babies as she forces the baby to play the perfection game regardless of the babies lack of interest. In the shots previous to this there is fore grounded sound as the mothers hand is winding up the speed dial on the game and then of the timer ticking. The baby then chuckles and walks out of shot whilst the mother reaches for her. There is montage editing showing the baby trying to move and explore and the mother trying to make her focus on this game (denotation). This sequence of events also lends itself to Strauss’ binary opposites as the contrast between the shots of the baby walking around with no particular aim and the mother trying to make her play the perfection game again evidences the binary opposite of adolescence vs adulthood and represents the pressures and responsibilities she will face later in life. I thought this shot was particularly interesting in terms of composition as the word perfection takes up a majority of the screen and the other half of the image is taken up by the mothers hands. This could signify that the child's wants and needs are insignificant in this situation and that the mothers wishes for her daughter to strive for perfection are overshadowing the child's natural self discovery and development. It could be interpreted that word perfection being upside down in this shot could show that the idea of perfection is unachievable, relating to Strauss’ binary opposites (perfection vs imperfection). The fore grounded sound as the mother winds up the timer combined with the montage editing emphasises the passing of time which reminded me of an exam or a timed essay, reflecting the pressure on the child to conform to her parents expectations. The ideological message behind this could be emphasizing that no matter how hard we try to reach perfection as individuals, there will never be an end as we could always be more perfect and so perfection doesn’t exist therfore parents should stop setting their children unrealistic goals.
  7. 7. Screen Shot 3
  8. 8. Social Realism In this shot the mother can be seen pointing towards the perfection game instructing the child to play it although the child is still clearly teething and is holding one of the plastic shapes up to it’s mouth. Before this there is cross cutting from a close up shot to the timer where the ticking sound has been fore grounded and the mother directing the babies hand to the correct space for the shape. In some of the shots the baby can be seen chewing her bib and smashing the game with her fists. The fact that the mother is pointing a finger towards the perfection game and instructing her baby to play a game which is probably intended for an older child emphasizes her determination for her child to be academic. The binary opposite child vs adult or old vs young is evident here as the mother is pushing her baby towards adulthood and the pressures that come with this although the teething baby is content with chewing on the pieces of the perfection game therefore emphasizing the conflict between the mothers wants and desires and the child’s. The cross cutting between the timer and the mother directing the child, shows the pressure the child is under to live up to her families expectations. In terms of composition its clear that the mother is dominating the shot consequently showing her as being an influential figure in her child’s life. The foregrounded sound of the ticking timer and the short edits increase tension which seemed particularly incongruous as a child’s play time would normally be represented as being relaxed and happy although the timer makes it seem as though it’s an exam. The ideology behind this could be that parents in todays society can become too intent on making their children over achieve and spend too much time trying to make their children engage in academic activities rather than letting their children grow and develop naturally.
  9. 9. Screen Shot 4
  10. 10. Strauss and Social Realism The screen shot shows the young girl now that she is slightly older sitting in front of the perfection game trying to match the pieces. To the left of the shot in the background the mother is visible although she is not interacting with her child. The composition of this shot makes it looks as though the mother is higher than the young girl as the camera is positioned on the childs level therefore the audience is encouraged to see things from her perspective. The fact that the mother is physically on a higher level the the child suggests that she the dominating authority figure. There is a table and a sofa in between the mother and daughter consequently showing a physical barrier between them which could reflect their emotional separation as a result of the constant pressure from the mother for the child to be perfect. Throughout the duration of the film it’s apparent that the only screen time the parents have is when they are encouraging their daughter to engage in a form of academic activity or to adjust her appearance in some way. The ideological message behind this could be parents are too intent on altering and adjusting their children to fit this ideal of perfection which is unhealthy and unrealistic. Strauss’ binary opposites are evident in this shot as there is a contrast of mature vs immature which is shown by the use of a teddy bear as a prop which is positioned next to the game of perfection. The perfection game is particularly academic and represents maturity as the girl plays this game through to adulthood. The teddy bear presents youth and immaturity as this toy isn’t associated with anything academic and would normally encourage a child to use their imagination consequently showing a direct contrast between the pressures of adulthood vs the naivety of youth. This adds to the overall message that parents push their children to become mature at a young age which can lead them to miss out on their childhood causing problems later in life.
  11. 11. Screen Shots 5,6,7,8
  12. 12. Barthes and Social Realism As the film progresses there is montage editing showing the young girl grow up into and woman struggling to reach this ideal of perfection which she has be taught from birth. The sequence of shots is repetitive and shows the woman playing the perfection game, running on a treadmill, looking at herself sideways in a mirror and then several cross cuts to the ticking timer of the perfection game. One shot which I thought was interesting in terms of social realism was the close up shot of the perfection game where all of the shapes are in place accept a circular shaped one in the middle. The missing piece in the center reminded me of a heart which could signify how although this women has excelled in many different areas to try and reach what she has been lead to believe is perfection, it has left her emotionally drained and the missing piece reflects how she has missed out on other aspects of life. There is the non diegetic sound of a violin which seems to be getting faster and louder combined with the sound of the timer from the perfection game. Finally the woman looks exasperated at the game, the violin music abruptly stops and there is a crashing sound as she closes her eyes and the pieces of the perfection game fly into the air. There is an increase in tension through the fast paced edits and violin music which could infer how the woman is feeling suffocated by the pressures of achieving perfection. The pieces of the perfection game flying into the air could reflect how the perfection has been disrupted and how striving for perfection her whole life to impress her parents has made her compromise her own happiness. Barthes’ theory is particularly apparent in this sequence of events as there are many shots showing the women on atread mill, standing of a set of scales and looking at her body in the mirror (denotation). This could connote that as well as trying to excel in areas such as work, she is also trying to achieve societies depiction of what is the perfect body and seems dissatisfied with her appearance when she looks in the mirror. The myth or ideology behind this could be that parents put too much pressure on their children to be over achievers without considering their children’s bell being. This also shows how there are pressures from society as we have fixed ideas about what is perfection and the perfect body etc which can leave many women to feel inadequate by setting unrealistic standards.
  13. 13. Conclusion In conclusion, I believe the main ideology behind this short film was the concept that parents put too much pressure on their children to achieve what they believe is perfection which will lead them to believe that they must live up to these standards to be accepted by their parents. This film shows how damaging this can be as the montage editing shows how even as a grown woman she was struggling to achieve perfection as a result of how she has been conditioned from birth. I very much enjoyed analysing this film and it has further inspired me to continue developing ideas for my chosen theme of body image.

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