Thursday, 2 December 2010

How is Disability represented in 'The Street'

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The narrative begins with a close up of barbed wire, which we associate with danger, or in fact keeping us away from danger, so this symbolic code helps us infer that we should be wary of what is behind the wire. Of course this is a more negative viewpoint, but we are made aware of the barbed wire and it's connotations from the close up.
We see a close up of a man looking into what you could class as a cage with a look of anxiety on his face. Then we see again through the cage effect that he is looking at a man walking up to a van. This is an action code, as it suggests something is about to happen between these men. From the camera angles and editing of this we can infer that this man is looking into the ‘cage’. As the narrative continues, we are introduced to the two characters previously seen by the van. We see the man outside the van has severe burns and scarring on the right side of his face, an enigma code as we want to know the story behind it. In the shot his face, or rather his disability, is framed in the front section of the vans window. Again this creates the feeling that he is in a sort of ‘cage’; which could be a symbolic code of how society separates those with a disability which coincides with the social model of disability of how it is society that puts him this box of disability, the burns don't disable him from doing a job which looks like it involves manual labour, however we deduce he can't simply because of the burns; he is disabled and therefore can't do it. When the topic of conversation turns to him being unable to get his old job back, the camera focuses in on the side of his face with scarring, yet before we predominantly see him from his non scarred face, the editing of the narrative reflects how the audience is seeing him; when we see as what we decide to be 'normal' we see the 'normal' side of his face, yet when we see him segregated because of his impairment, we see what we class as his disability in shot more. Throughout this scene there is diegetic sound which helps us realise the social realism being shown, they are trying to represent a realistic view of how people with disabilities cope in society. Again we see a close up of the barbed wire, however this time behind it is the man with the scars, this is possibly a symbolic code showing he feel like he is in a cage, and is restricted.
Next we see the man going to help a woman who has dropped her shopping. The pace of editing has picked up slightly from the previous scene, possibly reflecting his anger at being denied a job. We approach the woman from the mans point of view, which helps the audience relate to the character. But we also see how the woman sees the man and why it shocks her, the close-up camera angle and quick editing creates this effect to make it more shocking. The setting in this scene could also be seen as relevant to the representation of disability. It is uphill, and as the man is climbing up the hill he is below them so, which could show social inferiority, yet as he walks off he picks up speed; he is trying to run away from the woman and a situation where his disability was the focus.
The narrative continues to a shorter sequence with no dialogue and the first non diegetic sound. It is fast and angry to match the characters feelings. The use of drums with a beat, gives a tribal feeling which links into the idea that he could be seen like an animal in a cage, or alternatively it could be a symbolic code; we associate tribal music as something foreign to us, just like we see his disability, as something that sets him apart, like in the idea of differences.
A sound bridge takes us into the next part of narrative where we immediately see a darker room, with the blinds shut, suggesting this scene will have a more negative atmosphere, most likely due to the characters anger. The light falls through the blinds to create a bar effect on the mans face, which once again links back to the idea of being in a cage. For the angrier parts of the conversation between the man and what appears to be his commanding officer in the army, we see more focused shots on the side of his face with scarring; an animalistic representation, which links again to the idea that people with disabilities are different to everyday people. The switching of shots between between his scarred and non-scarred face shows the binary opposites of his personality; the 'normal' human being and the man with an impairment that separates him from everyone else.

1 comment:

  1. Becca. This is excellent in places, you make great use of Barthes narrative codes and keep on using the correct vocabulary.

    Sound is still and area to focus on, you do mention the sound bridge later on but the 'lack' of sound is something to mention.

    I am nit picking with that last point though, this would be an A in the exam but obviously an A* would be better.