FM1: Micro Feature Essay Examples


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FM1: Micro Feature Essay Examples

  1. 1. How do sound, Mise-en scene and performance create meaning in an extract from “The Notebook”(2004)? Immediately mise en scene helps to provoke feeling from the audience via the colors that are used. Strong vibrant colours are used at the beginning of the scene to compliment the calm and happy atmosphere that is created. As the storm arrives the colours drastically change to dull washes of grey. This helps the audience understand how the characters are feeling as the storm symbolizes that that have to go home and represents that their happiness is fantasy at this point of the clip. This pathetic fallacy exaggerates how the characters are feeling and helps the audience understand this more clearly. Mise en scene also creates meaning by the surroundings of the scene and the location of the characters. As the boat enters the lake it is surrounded by pure white ducks and tall thin trees. These trees act as a source of protection for the pair and allow the audience to feel relaxed as they rekindle their old feelings from the past. The idealistic location of the scene makes it look magical and surreal which also helps provoke the feelings of love and romance from the audience. Due to the surrealism, the narrative is opened to all possibilities and the scene becomes unpredictable and more exciting. However, the lake that the pair row in represents their “own little world” and allows them to feel safe and secure – a feeling that is past on to the audience and contrasts well to the unpredictability of the rest of the scene. The sound used in this clip from “The Notebook” compliments how the mise en scene is used and therefor helps to exaggerate all the feelings and meaning that is created. The sound is mainly non-digetic music and is added to help the audience feel on par with the characters and allows them to feel more involved with the scene. At the beginning of the scene soft, calm music is playing as Alli and Noah row into the river. This piece of music is reconised as the theme tune for the notebook and is played several times throughout the scene and the film. The piece of music creates a relaxed atmosphere and symbolizes how the two characters feel at piece with themselves when they are together. Due to the meaning of the music, it is played every time the audience are suppose to feel this way and is used to focus the audience on the romance and peace of the scene. It helps the audience feel as tho they understand the feelings of the characters, which then goes on to them feeling them too. As the two begin to row back, it starts to poor down with rain. In the same way as before, the music continues to exaggerate the feelings of the characters, however in this part of the scene it has a much stronger effect. At first it creates a sad mood and implies to the audience that the scene may end badly. However soon after this, the music climaxes and the volume suddenly increase as they begin to laugh. This suggests several mixed emotions and adds depth and deeper meaning to the scene. In my opinion, this part of the scene is the single-handedly most important part as it represents Alli’s and Noah’s relationship as a whole. The sudden burst of laughter and dramatic change in sound show how freedom is finally felt by the characters and 1
  2. 2. creates relief for the audience. it helps us, as the audience, to understand how the characters feel they can be themselves around each other and how much a relief it is they have finally found each other again. During the dialog of the scene the non-digetic sound is kept to a minimum. This is to give the audience the chance to focus on what is being said and to concentrate on the performance of the actors. I feel, as part of the audience, that the performance of the actors creates the most meaning and provokes most feeling so therefor i am going to focus on this part in more detail. Both Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams play their rolls exceptionally and to perfection, especially in my chosen scene. They portray both characters as real people and manage to convince the audience that the narrative is real and true. the first major characteristic they manage to convey is the difference in class. This is very important as the main obstacle the two have to overcome earlier in the film is the social difference they share. The main technique the two actors use to show this is the difference in body language they use. Rachel mcAdams who plays an upperclass girl uses gestures such as “sitting up straight” to convince the audience of this. Ryan gosling, who plays a working class boy uses very practical gestures such as rowing and slouching to convey this certain characteristic. Due to the convincing performances, the audience happily believes this and is fighting for them to overcome this obstacle. as well as this, the situation can be related back to classic Disney films that include the same obstacles but in a much more simplistic way, such as “lady and the tramp” and “beauty and the beast”. Due to the audiences prior knowledge of these masterpieces, they already feel close to the characters problems and therefor are on side. Another main feeling they manage to create through their passionate performances is the feeling of love. They manage to convince us that they are soul mates due to the sincerity of the scene and sincerity of the acting. When the two switch dialog they gaze into each others eyes with passion and desire. Alli shows regret that she has moved on and left him behind, and Noah shows deep desire to keep her in his life. When Noah tells Alli that he has made the house because “he promised her he would” she reacts with a huge sigh to show the audience her regret and frustration of how much she wants him. She also conveys her feelings of love by smiling and blushing when he talks to her, she generally looks happy to be spending time with him. when she finds out that he actually did write to her, she uses repetition to convey how upset she is. Towards the end of the scene, the tension and passion has built up so much for the audience that they are on edge so see the outcome of the scene. This frustrates the audience, but also makes then want to watch on to see what happens. When the two finally give in to temptation and kiss at the end the audience feels relived and happy. The actors over exaggerate this part of the scene by using a dramatic and forceful performance. 2
  3. 3. They manage to create enormous chemistry within the scene that is noticed by the audience and is perceived as real and everlasting. The performance is so realistic the audience feels like they know the characters and feel close to the jorney they have traveled on. To conclude, all three micro elements create meaning of love and desire. They help to drastically change the mood of the scene and provoke the audience to feel the passion that they convey. 3
  4. 4. How does Performance and Cinematography create meaning for the Audience, in an extract from ‘Into The Wild’ (2007)? The scene I will be analysing is the last scene from the film Into The Wild, a film about one young man’s decision to get rid of all his material possessions and travel and live by himself in the wild. I will be looking in particular at the performance and the cinematography to see how this creates meaning for the audience. The scene begins with a close-up shot of the main character; Christopher McCandless, from an eye level angle. This shows the audience the details in his face and his blank expression. We can also see that his appearance is very scruffy and this gives an indication of what could have already happened to him and what troubles may lie ahead for him. The camera then jump cuts to show him writing in a book. The audience can see that he is writing this very slowly, showing how weak he has become and how difficult it is for him. When the audience sees him writing, the camera work is very shaky. This is a representation of the character, as it is from his point of view and gives the audience a feel for how he is moving. In the next shot shot, the camera moves up his body to his face where we see him take off his glasses. There is then an extreme close-up shot of his eyes to show him crying. Here we can see how gaunt he appears and we get the first feel of the characters feelings and emotions and what he is going through. His eyes are very red and bloodshot, with big bags underneath them. The audience can see the extent of the damage he has done to his body and how ill he looks. After the extreme close-ups of his face, the audience sees him struggling in his bed, trying to pull up his trousers. This is another point of view shot from the characters perspective because we can only see the lower half of his body, as he would see it. The next shot is a low camera angle from outside the window of the bus he has been staying in. It shows him reaching his hand out of the window, using it to pull himself up. The audience can see how weak he is from this as he cannot even hold up the weight of his own body. The camera is then positioned above him as he is laying on his bed, making every effort to pull his blanket onto him. Here we also get a sense of the location it is set as the character is wearing a winter coat but is still cold so we know that it is set somewhere cold or during winter. Once he is in his bed there is a side angle close-up shot of his face to show his expression. The audience can see that he is getting weaker and weaker and he is gasping for his breaths. The shots showing his expression and emotions make the audience feel sympathetic towards the character as they feel as if they are experiencing this with him. Because the character is on his own the audience are made to want to help him and be there for him. Next there is a jump cut showing the sky through the sun roof. This is a point of view shot as the character is lying on the bed looking up at the sky. There 4
  5. 5. is then a cut to show an image of a sign that Christoper has written saying goodbye to the world. This creates a lot of sympathy for the audience as the character has accepted his fate and he knows he has no chance of surviving. Another cut then shows the audience another sign that Christopher has made, this one carved into the bus. It merely states his adopted name and the date. The next cut has been edited with a dissolve effect to go back to the shot of the first sign. The camera zooms in to reveal a final line of text on the sign that was not shown in the previous shot. Another dissolve effect follows to show a close up of the newly revealed text where the character has written his real name. This is a revelation for the audience as they are aware that the character wanted to leave all parts of his old life behind him. They can now see that he is at peace with what is happening and does not want to die anonymously, with no way of his parents finding out what happened to him. The next cut goes back to the point of view shot looking out of the roof at the sky. The camera zooms in and you can see the clouds moving at a very rapid pace, representing the quickening of the character’s heartbeat as he begins to die. Some jump cuts flash between the sky and the close-up shots of the character’s face. The camera then moves around in an anti-clockwise direction above the character’s head showing a close-up of his face. His face is blank, implying he is too weak to even show his fear or pain and he is just waiting to die. As the camera is spinning around there are some jump shots back to the image of the sky which are still zooming in closer towards the sun. These cuts then become very fast jump cuts between his face and the sky, with his facial expressions changing in between. He begins this sequence smiling, as if he is fully prepared for his death and then reaches up towards the clouds. The clouds then begin to stretch and warp out of shape, showing he is starting to imagine things in his mind and lose his sanity. After this his expression changes and shows a lot of fear. He begins screaming and the cuts become much quicker and closer together. This sudden change shows the audience that as he is getting closer to his death, and beginning to realise that he may not be ready to die. The audience is then shown into his imagination and the things going through his mind as he gets closer and closer to dying. He is imagining what would happen if he made it out of this situation alive. We see him going home and running into his parents arms but cut with the image of the sky from the bus. The expressions on their faces are a stark contrast to Christopher’s face in the current time, as he is lying in the bus dying. The colour scheme is also starkly contrasted in this imagination scene where the colours are very vivid and bright, unlike the bland almost monochrome colours in the bus. As Christopher looks up into the sky while hugging his parents, his expression changes from smiling to a worried look. This links back to how he is looking up at the sky while in the bus. We are then taking back to Christopher lying in the bus, his expression blank but with a tear rolling down his face. After seeing the imagination scene the audience can tell he is crying after thinking about his family and how he will never see them again. The sun begins to shine much brighter and this is reflected on his face. As the sun gets brighter, the expression on his face 5
  6. 6. begins to light up and he appears much happier than before. There is then a sudden contrast when the whole scene loses the light and goes very dark. This represents his life draining from him. The camera is positioned above his face and after rotating around, slowly starts to zoom out using a crane shot from outside of the bus. The focus is still on his face as the camera leaves the bus and moves higher into the air. To summarise, cinematography and performance are used in this scene to create meaning for the audience as the character dies. Many jump cuts are used to show the determine the pace of what is happening to him. The changes in the character’s expression shows the audience the development of his feelings towards his impending death. 6
  7. 7. How does Cinematography and Performance create a response from the audience, from an extract from ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008) Cinematography in ‘The Dark Knight’ gains a response from the audience through the camera angles used, at the beginning of the extract the camera focuses in on the elevator where one of the main characters (the Joker) arrives, the camera follows him as he walks around the room with the guests all looking in terror at the Joker. The camera then jumps to the other main character in the film (Batman as Bruce Wayne) who is moving through the apartment, the camera then flicks between the Joker and Bruce Wayne whilst he moves through his apartment. Further on in the extract The joker is Holding Another character (Rachel) by the face with a knife at her mouth, The camera is spinning around them but still focusing on The Joker and Rachel, this gets a response from the audience of Tension between the joker and Rachel, the Audience also give a response of understanding the confusion and mental mind set of the joker’s Character. Batman then appears behind the joker and there is a fight scene the camera focuses in on certain points in the fight scene such s the joker having a knife concealed within his shoe, this creates tension ad would make the audience respond by wanting to watch more, The joker then takes Rachel over to the window, he then shoots the window and pushes her out, Rachel is then sliding down the building, the camera focuses so that it is possible to see the building she is sliding down but it is also possible to see hr facial expressions, the audience respond to this with tension as you are not sure what is going to happen to the character. and you want to know whether she will survive or not. The special effect within cinematography also create a response from the audience as during the fight scene between the joker and Batman there would have been special effects, as things would have been added to the well choreographed scene, such as the knife in the joker shoe probably would have been added in afterwards, this would make the scene more dramatic for the audience and also create tension and will make the Audience want to watch more of the film and keeps them interested. There is also special effects used when the joker pushes Rachel out of the window ad she is sliding down the window this again causes tension and makes the audience wonder if she is going to survive, the special effects are used when she is actually sliding down the building as an actor wouldn’t be allowed to slide down a building, a green screen was most likely used for this part of my Extract. Performance in ‘the Dark Knight’ also gets a response from the audience, The joker possible has the best performance in the film as his character is in a insane mental state, that creates tension within the scenes that he is in. the jokers insane mental state is shown by when he first comes into the room he picks a glass of champagne up throws the champagne on the floor then Takes a drink from the glass, he then walks around the room holding peoples mouths as he talks to them and slapping them as he walks past, the audience respond with a wonder of hat is going on in the mind of the joker and what is actually happening, Rachel being the only fearless character in the film stands up against the joker whilst he is talking and says “all right Stop” the joker in turn turns his attention to her.The joker’s performance as insane is also 7
  8. 8. shown by when he holds Rachel’s face with the blade at her mouth, with an angry expression on His face this creates Tension as you wonder whether he’s going to kill her or not. Another part is near the end of the extract when he is holding Rachel out the window Batman says “Let her go” The joker replies with “Poor choice of words” and then laughs as he lets Rachel fall down the building. The joker also licks his lips at different points throughout the extract this gives the sense that he’s a little insane as you wonder why is he licking his lip? These things make the audience respond with a sense of confusion about the joker and what he is actually like, as these things make you believe that the joker is actually real as the performance is so good that it is believable. The way the joker talks in the extract also makes you wonder whether there is actually something wrong with him or not as he is in a tense situation yet he talks calmly and quite peacefully as he comes in and says “who knows where Harvey Dent is?” but says it calmly even though he is holding and gun and terrorising the other guests just by his presences. The Joker also refers to Batman as THE Batman as if he is this one thing as if he is a problem this also builds tension between the two characters and the audience responds with this as they want to see what is going to happen between the two characters. The Performance of the batman in ‘The Dark night also gets a response from the audience as at the beginning batman can be see as a coward and is running away from the problem when he walks around the apartment but then he walks past one of the jokers men and disarms him this makes the audience respond with the thinking that he is now heroic and is going to help. The Batman has a very abrupt entrance to the party as he appears behind the joker and hits him, this makes the audience respond with a shock that batman arrived that quick. during the fight scene that follows the batman manages to fight The jokers men off until the joker releases a knife from out of his shoe and then kicks the batman in his stomach, this in turn makes the Audience feel sorry for the batman but also creates a want for the batman to be able to fight back against the joker, it also creates a sense of wanting to know what is going to happen between the joker and Batman. The way the batman talks also gives a sense of mystery because his voice is very rough so that Bruce Wayne’s identity is Concealed behind the mask. 8
  9. 9. How does performance, cinematography and sound create a response from the audience in the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ fight scene from ‘Kill Bill: Vol 1′ (2003)? I will be Micro-Analysing the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ fight scene from ‘Kill Bill: Vol 1′. Kill Bill is a fast-paced, macabre humour revenge movie, directed by the notorious Quentin Tarantino. The start of the scene already uses the three micro features to its full advantage. The beginning of the scene starts with a slow paced shot of Johnny Mo, moving from the edge of his weapon to his face. The non-diagetic sound which is played over suits the shot very well as it has a Japanese Style theme to it as well as conjuring up tension. The tension is created through the sound as it is calm and soft but it still tells the audience that a big climax is about to occur. Johnny Mo’s performance also contributes towards the tension significantly as he has a serious-minded expression. The shot works well as the micro features contradict themselves provoking a tense audience response as well as excitement and curiosity. The next shot is a head-on-shot of Black Mamba surrounded by the ‘Crazy 88’s’. The camera then continues to zoom outwards showing the audience a complete view of everyone in the room. The use of cinematography induces the audience to think that Black Mamba will never survive as it is literally 1 person vs 88 people, a fight that seems inevitable. As Black Mamba draws her samurai sword ready for a fight, nearly all of the Crazy 88’s flinch backwards. This use of performance creates comedy as they really shouldn’t have any need to be scared at all. This also creates comedy, as the Crazy 88’s really aren’t professional fighters and they’re made out to look weak. The sound in this scene also combines with the performance as the music fits in sequence with Black Mambas action of drawing her sword. As she moves into her ready stance, the music adds in a sound effect to draw the audience in and get them focused on the scene. The sound merges in with the performance straight after again when one of the Crazy 88’s is swinging the ball chain around. The sound works with this as there is actually a non- diagetic ball chain sound. The use of this sound conjures up a war march type theme as the ball chain sound acts as a macabre drone to the dominant music. 9
  10. 10. The cinematography in this shot focuses on the view from the Crazy 88’s perspective. This view allows the audience to see how easy it seems to kill Black Mamba as she is surrounded at all angles. This idea also makes the audience question how she can get out of the situation, as either way she moves she will get cut in the back. As the scene draws to it’s climax, the non-diagetic music starts to gradually build to a crescendo provoking a tense audience reaction. Whilst this is occuring, the camera quickly zooms into Black Mamba from the birds-eye- angle. When the fight finally starts, the music stops dead provoking immediate attention to the scene from the audience. The fight scenes performance is mainly over-the-top and comedic with a lot of gore. The slicing and sword sounds in the scene are non-diagetic whereas the actors voices and footsteps etc… are diagetic. The use of the sound effects have been used to keep the comedic aspect of the movie as the sounds are over the top and somewhat silly like a badly dubbed movie. Tarantino has done this scene well, as normally the audience would be cringing, but he has created the scene in a dark way that the audience are entertained and can’t stop watching. One instance of comedy is where Black Mamba pulls out one of the Crazy 88’s eyes and then proceeds to throw it into another mouth. The camera focuses on Black Mambas hand with the eye to shock the audience but to also entertain them to a certain extent. The scene is ironic as it has all the connotations of a poor movie, but at the same time it is a great movie which has gained a high status in film. Another way in which comedy is shown is the use of gore in the scene. The gore is so unrealistic and silly that the audience enjoy the film even more as proves more entertaining that having realistic 10
  11. 11. gore. Examples of over-the-top gore is where Black Mamba cuts of the heads of two people and where she chops someone in half. Halfway through the fight scene Black Mamba comes across a young defenceless member of the Crazy 88’s. The Crazy 88 is portrayed as a kid and looks so young he doesn’t even fit into the scene. He begins to shake his hands and surrender. Everything in the scene stops and despite all that is going on, Black Mamba just stares at him in anger as she has a huge amount of adrenaline and she has to stop because a boy is there who shouldn’t even really be there. She then proceeds to throw him halfway across the room which is again, totally unrealistic but still entertaining. This provokes humor for the audience as it doesn’t make any sense, and no-one would expect a boy to be there and for a woman to have the strength to throw someone across a room. Sound plays a big part in this shot as everything goes quiet which contradicts the general thought of a fight scene. As the boy gets thrown across the room a sound effect is played which is similar to a sound effect played in a badly dubbed martial arts movie. As well as having humorous shots, there are also shots to make the audience cringe or look away. One of these shots are when Black Mamba is standing on top of one of the Crazy 88’s shoulders, which lightens the mood as this obviously wouldn’t happen in reality, but she then slices a persons mouth from cheek to cheek. The performance in this shot has been created to cause the audience to cringe and feel sick as we get a full shot of the persons face after it has been cut. 11
  12. 12. When Johnny Mo and Black Mamba begin to fight non-diagetic music is played. The music in this case is like a badly dubbed Japanese Pirate Movie which is perfect for the performance which is about to occur. When this music is played, Black Mamba and Johnny Mo fight like they’re in a pirate scene, and Black Mamba flies down to the bottom off a wooden beam like a pirate. This is humorous when the audience links the two together because it is as if Johnny Mo and Black Mamba are acting within acting. After Black Mamba flies down using the wooden beam she looks up towards Johnny Mo, gives him a sarcastic smile and lets it go. It then proceeds to hit him square in the face knocking him through a wall. Johnny Mo then performs an over-the-top dramatic death which reinforces the idea of them acting within acting, as it seems like they’re performing a pirate scene. The next shot is of Black Mamba seeing O-Ren Ishi leaving the room. Determined to catch her and fight her, Black Mamba speeds up fighting off the Crazy 88’s. The use of performance here shows the audience that she wasn’t really trying the whole way through reinforcing the bizzareness of the film. In the next few shots Black Mamba kills Johnny Mo and uses him as a human shield, which again is comedic. The last remaining Crazy 88’s are flinching and moving away from Black Mamba as she tries to figure out what to do next. The facial expression on Black Mamba shows that she is serious about killing them and getting to O-Ren. As she kicks Johnny Mo away into the crowd to gain some time, a non-diagetic piece of music starts to play over. 12
  13. 13. In the final scene, Black Mamba is seen rolling around on the floor cutting of all of the Crazy 88’s feet. This scene is cringy, gory and humorous which creates irony and entertains the audience. The performance in this scene is so unrealistic it works really well. The non-diagetic music which is played over is of a surf-rock type band of the 80’s – something that you would never expect to be played over a scene as gory as this one. Tarantino has put these micro features together very well as we all know that they shouldn’t work together, but they fit perfectly. Another way in which irony is created in this scene, is where the Crazy 88’s performance doesn’t link in with the music’s genre. The music itself is related to people being happy and dancing, but the pictures it’s collaborated with are of people getting ‘butchered’ and screaming in pain. Even though this sounds nasty and disgusting to watch, it is in fact darkly entertaining. In conclusion, the use of Cinematography, Performance and Sound are use in an unusual way to provoke audience reactions; they are used in the wrong places. Tarantino has used the micro features in places where they would never and originally should never be used. The way in which these features contradict themselves creates humorous, disgusting, gory and cringy atmospheres, something of which the films audience thrive on. 13