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Excellence Exemplar - Genre

Excellence Exemplar - Genre

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Published by Stuart Henderson

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Published by: Stuart Henderson on Jul 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Film Essay
 Analyse how the text is typical of its genre.
Amélie Poulain, the protagonist of the film
, lives in a fairytale world whereeverything is interconnected and everyone always lives happily ever after. Character archetypes, non-diagetic music and mise-en-scene are effectively used by the director,Jean-Pierre Jeunet, to portray these ideas, showing that the film is typical of thefairytale genre.It is immediately clear that
is of the fairytale genre when Jeunet introducesarchetypal characters – a heroine, Amélie, and her handsome ‘prince’, Nino. At the beginning of the film, Amélie has difficulty interacting with others and prefers her own company. This is shown in the opening sequence which includes a montage of shots of her as a child, absorbed in solitary activities such as making paper dolls.Following soon after is a point of view shot from her perspective, with a camera between her and her subject. Though the camera is a mediating object that allowsobservation, it prevents direct contact with the world and therefore distances her fromit. These scenes build a picture of Amélie’s introversion and fear of social interactionand as a convention of the fairytale genre, this is the flaw which she must overcome toreach her happy ending. Nino also has a flaw, his obsession with collecting discarded photographs from instant photo booths, which suggests that he is lonely and in searchof a companion. Jeunet intends the audience to notice the similarities between this andAmélie’s paper dolls and infers that as both are without friends, they are a perfectmatch for each other. This is an example of finding true love, a common idea infairytales. As can be expected of this genre, eventually both characters’ flawseventually become less prevalent, which is illustrated in the closing shots of Amélieand Nino on his ‘noble steed’ – his motorbike. Contrasting to earlier separate shots, atwo shot captures them both and reflects that Amélie has found confidence to interactwith the world, and Nino, someone to relate to. The use of a handheld camera gives ashaky image which reinforces how both characters are free of their shyness and leavesthe audience satisfied they will live happily ever after.The portrayal of the film’s fairytale genre is strengthened by the use of non-diageticmusic. In the opening scene, a type of folk music is played on an accordion, and thistraditional style and instrument link to the tradition of story telling, from wherefairytales originated. Silvery notes from the glockenspiel can also be heard, giving amagical quality to the music with their unearthly high pitch. The noticeable contrast between the smooth, warm tones of the accordion and the bright but harsh peals of theglockenspiel shows how the fairytale world is based on our own but is slightly altered.This unusual combination of instruments reflects the idea that in a fairytale, anythingcan happen and reinforces the visual aspect of the scene: an empty street inMontmatre where the plot has yet to unfold. Jeunet uses these instruments in a lot of the non-diagetic music, however the melody is altered slightly each time. WhenAmélie decides to return Bretodeau’s box of childhood memorabilia, the melody is played by a group of strings rather than an accordion, with the change in instrumentssignifying a turning point in her life. A similar tune is played during the closingsequence, where Hippolito’s writing is published and Bretodeau enjoys the companyof his Grandson. Here, the music is in a major rather than a minor key, giving it anuplifting and jubilant feel which relates to the happy ending experienced by eachcharacter. The repetition of this music throughout the film is Jeunet’s way of imitating

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