Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Memento - How the editing creates the films narrative and represents the character and his disability

The film memento has a non-linear narrative, which differs from typical films. The film is edited to separate the film into two sections; the black and white scenes and the colour scenes.
The opening shot of the film is an extreme close up of what would appear to be a mans hand holding a Polaroid; a very gory photograph of a person who has clearly been shot in the head,with blood splattered everywhere; this is an enigma code as the audience want to know the circumstances around this mans death,like who killed him and why there was a picture being taken of him. As the scene continues the Polaroid begins to fade and it is shaken, as it would be whilst it is developing and it soon becomes clear that the scene is going backwards in time, as the photograph un-develops. The Polaroid itself is a cultural code as if you weren't aware of how Polaroids work then you wouldn't understand. Non-diegetic sound plays along with this to create an atmosphere that creates emotion for the audience as they are looking at an image that can fuel emotion so, they have added music to encourage the triggering of this. The music builds up as the scene goes backwards until we see a quick flashes of the shooting that just happened, the pace of the editing in this matches the events of the shooting and the music becomes much more dramatic for those few seconds, triggering interest for the audience as they know some of their questions could be answered, however the editing cuts so that although we see the event, we don't gage the reasoning behind the shooting or in fact all the details of what and who this person is. We see the pace gradually increase as we work from the aftermath to the actual shooting, the taking of the photo and the shots of the fired bullet and glasses fallen on the floor are shown slowly, with the audience able to piece together the confusing details. This music and the scene working its way backwards is an action code as the scene before which is actually what happened after implies some form of action is just about to take place; as we can see from the Polaroid that something has.
The narrative then moves into a completely different direction as the scenes become black and white. It appears to be the past; as the commentary by the character himself implies. The editing in this scene is substantial; with lots of short close ups and extreme close ups of parts of the man and the room he is in, showing all the little details. It begins with a close up of the mans profile and it focuses in on his eye, implying to the audience that we are about see this characters point of view. Sure enough we soon see the room and shots of the mans body such as his leg, through the man's eyes. This is when we first become aware of his disability. The audience were left with an enigma code as to why the man was taking a photo of the man he shot earlier, yet as we see examples of his lack of short term memory it becomes clearer. Along with the characters commentary on it, the disability is a huge part of the storyline and his character. The short close-up montage editing is a symbolic code of the characters memory as it portrays it as simplistic; from the monotonal colours, and obviously limited from the short shots in the sequence; so the editing is giving us an insight into his disability.
The scene returns to colour and we assume to be back to the scene of the shooting where we left. but this isn't the case; we see the man interact with a member of staff where he is staying discussing his disability and explaining how he can't remember the man behind the counter. He pays a fee for his room, so it is made clear he is staying in some sort of temporary accommodation, a symbolic code of how his life is temporary due to his disability, however this is a cultural code as not everyone would be aware of such places as motels, which seem the most likely place for him to be staying. Then we are introduced to someone we recognise, the man who he shot, so we know that the film isn't following a chronological order and that we are going to find out the circumstances leading to the shooting. We know this character is key as there is another Polaroid of him and the man is aware of his importance even though he can't remember anything else.
The colour scenes are playing out the actual events leading up to the events at the beginning, and showing him  living in society and dealing and interacting with people unaware of his disability, yet the black and white narrative gives us an insight into his perception of himself and the situation and the way his mind works, or doesn't. He commentates them so to allow an explanation with showing any extra shots that need to explain the storyline; instead the black and white shots focus on what the character is seeing himself.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sexuality in Skins

The sequence opens with a close-up of the character's eyes, which immediately open as the asynchronous sound of church bells starts. This is a British cultural code, so we infer that it is Sunday morning simply because we know that in England there is a church service every Sunday where the bells sound at the start of service. His facial expression is blank and he doesn't look as if he has just woken up, which is an enigma code that leads the audience to question why a teenager is lying awake on a Sunday morning, when stereotypically they never get out of bed. As the camera slowly pans out, we again see a sign of him not having slept as the sun falls on his face; his curtains are open which suggests that he has not slept deliberately. However what is unusual is the shadows symmetrically fall on either side of his face, which could possibly be a symbolic code of showing he has two sides to him. As the camera pans out further we see his duvet is unusual; it has the body of a naked man and woman on it; an enigma code as it leads us to question what kind of character has this as his bedspread. He must have a lot of confidence in himself and be independent of his parents; either they are very understanding or don't care. The fact that there is both genders on there could symbolise the fact that this character is bisexual, and the fact that he is lying in between could support this, but it could also show that he is confused between the two. 
The bells continue to sound and grow evidently louder as more of the shot is revealed. Since the suggestion of bisexuality is introduced during this it could be a symbolic code to suggest the controversial nature of the character as the bells are linked with a religion in which it is frowned upon to be bisexual. 
Looking at the bed, the character doesn't appear to have moved which again suggests that he has deliberately not slept; and the audience could infer that there is something wrong or worrying him as a reason for the lack of sleep. 
We see that his room is unstereotypical of a teenagers, it is tidy and white with a sort of clinical feel about it. The fact that it is white could be a symbolic code of his sexuality as he doesn't yet know his identity, and he is unsure so at the minute his room is blank. The only stand out part is the bed cover, which links to sexuality and suggest that this is the main focus of this character. 
At the end of the clip his alarm goes off, which is again unusual of a teenager on a Sunday morning but is also an enigma code as the audience questions what the reason could be for him having an alarm to get up on a Sunday, and why he has set it if he has deliberately been lying awake regardless to the time. Throughout the clip the editing is a slow paced pan out, which synchronises with the slow relaxed pace of the church bells however as we finish the clip the editing switches quickly as his alarm goes off, again the sound matches the pace of the clip.


There are different types of sound during TV and film:

Diegetic: Natural sounds that are sourced within a scene, such as the people talking, or noise made by movements, doors opening and the radio or television in the background. The main types of TV pregrammes that use these are soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street or medical dramas such as Holby City, as they want the scenes to appear like everyday life and to make them more credible.

Non-Diegetic: Sound that is added to a scene to create an atmoshere, such as a soundtrack. A potential problem would be that it loses realism, but it does create a dramatic effect.

Sound Bridge: Sound which carries on over two different scenes which then literally creates a bridge between two events.

Incidental Music: Small, very brief snippets of sound which creates an emotion or feeling. This is normally more cultural, than for a character. 

Asynchronous Sound: A natural sound, which is out of place and without a source on the scene.
Contrapunctual Sound: Sounds which create opposite emotion to the one which is on screen.

Moral Panics, Hypodermic Theory and the Passive Audience

In pairs we had to look at an area in the media which had caused public controversy. We produced presentations using the Xtranormal website. 
Columbine high school massacre: 
The massacre was carried out by two boys, with 12 students and 1 teacher being killed as well as 21 others being injured. It is believed that a factor in influencing the two shooters was a video game called 'Doom'. In which a marine has been posted to mars by his captain where he has to attack enemies in order to prevent them from attacking earth. The two shooters were supposedly avid fans of the game and had created their own levels online. Another supposed influence was 'The basketball diaries' film and the music of Marilyn Manson; who was largely blamed for the strong influence of violence in his music. However as investigations continued it became known that the boys had already been given restricted access to computers and it was thought that the massacre was a way of relieving stress. The biys were also thought to be clinically depressive. 
The channel 4 TV drama is said to be a bad influence on teenagers, as they want to copy the lifestyles of the characters on the show.To older people it is often seen as offensive as it contains sex, drugs and alcohol, so parents don't want their children to copy this. It can put pressure on teenagers as they feel this is how they should be, and it promotes the lifestyle of being a 'dropout' and not ding well in life. The Sun newspaper also described the show as 'controversial' and with such media attention focusing on it, it drew media attention to the series and encouraged people to watch it as it was something of public interest; so the controversial nature of the show increased ratings and made the show more successful. Abbie, whose presentation it was, said that she watched the show and enjoyed it but it didn't make her want to be like them as it was too unrealistic to be real life, yet it does address serious issues of being a teenager or just life in general.
Man Hunt: 
The idea of the video game is to kill innocent people so there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. There has been speculation that the game has led to violence and crime. It was reported that a boy was brutally murdered by his best friend in a way that was influenced by the game, and the boy was supposedly and avid fan of the game. It was also reported that it was banned in New Zealand, this was publicized in the hope that it would increase sales, with the idea that if the media portrayed it badly then it would want to be played more which, turned out to be an effective marketing strategy. 

Paranormal Activity: 
The film is all about a American woman who has been possessed and is said to be one of the scariest films of all time. It is said to be based on true events and the formatting of the film shows this idea of it being real. The media reported people leaving the film early because they were so scared and there was lots of attention on blogs and i newspapers. The film got a lot of attention from rumours that were later believed to be a publicity stunt, this was things such as people having medical problems from being so scared of the film.

Rap Music:
Reap music as a genre in general is said to be corrupting children. The amount of talk about drugs, violence and gangs is said to encourage children to be like this as this is what they're roll models are like. It gives listeners a bad mentality, and if they listen to it over and over again it may eventually become what is called a 'sleep state'. The censored sticker on CD's that warns of explicit language makes the music more desirable as the children want something they can't have. 

Call of Duty- The airport level:
The level in this Call of Duty involves a terrorist attack in which the player is on the side of the terrorists and civilians have to be killed. It creates the illusion that violence is acceptable. The media reported the game badly, suggesting the violent depiction of a terrorist attack in an airport should be banned. Although there is a warning of content before the level and you are not actually forced to  kill civilians, if terrorists are killed then the level ends. Another factor is that in video games we associate anyone being killed as 'enemies' so when we are trying to kill civilians we start to see them as enemies and as you experience this there has been suggestions that you can simulate it. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Explain how ethnicity is represented in Hotel Babylon

We watched a clip from Hotel Babylon that featured numerous different ethnicity's. Straight away we see a long shot of a stereotypical representation, as we see a black employee waiting on a white man, which immediately represents black people as a lower class. He is lowering himself to serve the man which symbolises him being lower status wise. Only adding to this is the characteristics of the white man; he is evidently wealthy and clearly relaxing, as he is dressed in a comfortable looking white dressing gown. With him wearing white and the employee wearing black; not only do we see their ethnicity represented by their clothes, but because the white man is wearing white there are connotations of goodness and innocence, whereas black suggests more negative aspects. The editing of this is quite slowly paced and with the lighting colours, it gives the scene a relaxed mood. Then we are introduced to another black character. He gets out of the pool to talk to Ben and so he arrives in the shot from below, straight away suggesting he is of lower importance, as if we look back at Ben’s encounter with a white man he lowered himself yet, this man is lifting himself to meet Ben’s level, showing how ethnicity affects status. The two black characters are binary opposites; we initially see this by their appearance.  Ben is dressed smartly in uniform, with everything neat and correct, but the other man has got his hair braided, is wearing a lot of jewellery or ‘bling’ and has several obvious tattoos. He is a stereotypical young black person, who we associate with hip hop music and rappers, as this is typically what they look like. Ben could be described as going against this stereotype as his appearance is more suggestive of a stereotypical white man. This stereotype and binary opposition is again seen in the way this man speaks. He uses colloquial ‘black’ language that we associate with his ethnicity such as ‘bro’ and ‘bredrins’ whereas Ben keeps his language very formal. The music throughout this scene could be described as having a kind of hip hop beat to it, which links into the black characters and their association with that genre.The editing of the characters interaction is a faster than the earlier shots and is also reverse shot reverse, which shows how Ben has gone from being calm to more anxious.

Next we are introduced to two European cleaners. The initial shot pans out slightly from the cleaning trolley she is pushing. The fact that this is the first thing we see in the shot immediately shows the stereotype of European women in Britain being quite poor and considered very low in society and how they stereotypically have low paid jobs, hence why there is a focus on it. This is of course a cultural code as this is how we in Britain view Europeans that live here. Their uniform is also a symbolic code of their ethical stereotype. It is grey and very basic which shows which shows their jobs to be dull and not well paid or ambitious. The fact that the two girls also look very similar with their hair and uniform suggests that they have no individuality or anything of value to offer and are of very little interest to society. There is an enigma code as the two women stand outside a room, leaving the audience to question what 'double' is. The music subsequently changes from the first scene and could be described more as sexy; which then prepares us for the next scene where we see the two women go into a man’s room and strip for money. The music they dance to is from the film ‘Moulin Rouge’ which centres on a French burlesque club; it adds to the stereotype of European women using their bodies for money, which we see in both Hotel Babylon and Moulin Rouge. This could be a cultural code as those who haven't seen or are unaware of the film Moulin Rouge would not understand the link. There is an extreme close up of a pile of money, which is a symbolic code of how the money is the main focus as to why they are doing this. Another ethnicity is brought in along with the European women. The man watching is old and Japanese, and old Japanese men are stereotypically perverse. His actions are stereotypical of this as he is paying cleaners to strip for him. He is dressed in a dressing gown similarly to the first man, this again shows wealth and that he can afford luxury.Although he is paying 'double' for the maid service his room is, as his stereotype would suggest, very neat and clean, but again this is a cultural code as it is a British stereotyping of the Japanese.

As we enter the kitchen, the music starts to become more rhythmical, just as we are introduced to an Italian chef; so we immediately see a mood set for this stereotype. Italian men are typical lothario’s which we already know to be true about this character due to the previous gossiping about him. He is also very affectionate to the female manager, again showing his typical Italian attitude. This is a cultural code as it is what we know to be an Italian stereotype. We again see how the colour of clothing affects the character. Italians can also be stereotypically seen as temperamental and with him wearing black, when usually chefs wear white, we assume him to be an evil character. Whereas the Englishman is in white and we see him as the person who has been wronged and therefore the good character.  We also see this in the way when the Italian man greets the Englishman; he pulls him down, suggesting he is of a lower morality and is pulling this man down with him. The fact that during the argument he grabs a cleaver shows his stereotypical temperament.

Overall, we see a range of ethnicities represented in different ways. Mostly the stereotypes are negative, or compare good and bad, but we can see how the makers of the show represent ethnicity to show clear character stereotypes straight away.