Let the Right One In - Media Essay

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Let the right one in is a Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson. It was released in 2008 and recently has been re-made as an American film directed by Matt Reeves. Throughout this essay, I am going to talk about how the film relates to three theories created by Vladimir Propp; Claude Levi-Strauss and Tzvetan Todorov. As well as this, I am going to talk about the mise en scene during certain sequences in the film, the use of camera work, and the use of sound within the film. Claude Levi-Strauss was a French anthropologist. He was born in 1908 and died in 2009. He had a theory that everyone and everything has a n exact opposite, otherwise known as a binary opposite. This theory is present in a number of films and stories, as usually for every good character there is an evil one, and for every male character there is also a female. Let the right one in in particular has a range of binary opposites which can be seen throughout the film. The most obvious are th e two main characters; one is male, whereas the other is female. There are many opposites between these two characters such as their hair colour, one is brunette and the other is blonde; one is mortal the other is non mortal. As well as this, there are clear other opposites involving other characters such as: the villain is big, and the main character, Oskar, is small; leading female lives with her dad, leading male lives with his mum. There are many opposites within the film, some easy to spot and some not, but clearly the theory created by Levi-Strauss is present within the film whether they re obvious or not. The next theory I am going to talk about is one created by Vladimir Propp. Propp was born in 1895 and lived for 85 years before passing away. His t heory suggested that most films followed several character roles. These are as follows: The hero , the character who seeks something; the villain, who struggles against the hero; the donor, who provides an object of magical property for the hero ; the helper, who aids the hero; the princess, generally the reward for the hero, and is often the victim or object of the villains schemes ; her father, who rewards the hero ; the dispatcher who sends the hero on their way and the false hero, who may initially seem heroic, but then turns out to be evil, or possibly just a red herring. Let the right one in follows a range of these character roles. The wide range of characters within the film causes confusion as some roles could be fulfilled by more than one character in my opinion. For example, the two leading roles, Oskar and Eli, both fulfil the hero/heroin role, yet also, Eli, who is a vampire in the story, commits a murder, and therefore could also be perceived as playing the false hero role, or maybe due to her relationship with Oskar could be perceived to be playing the princess role as well.

Towards the end of the film, a man who is on the search for revenge after Eli killed his wife comes after both Oskar and Eli in an attempt for retribution, this ro le is clearly the role of the villain, but doesn t really take place until later on in the film. As well as these, Eli s father, or father figure in the film, can fulfil more than one role. He could fulfil the role of the father, as he is the guardian of t he princess, but he doesn t really reward the hero in anyway, but he may also be perceived to be playing the role of the helper , as he attempts to aid the hero, despite failing in the end. The final theory that I m going to talk about is that thought up by Tzvetan Todorov. His theory was that most stories follow a 3 part narrative structure. The theory suggests that at the beginning of the story, it starts with an equilibrium; a situation where everything is normal, nothing is out of place, everything is balanced. The theory then suggests that the equilibrium is disrupted, before being restored at the end of the story. The equilibrium at the beginning of this story is that Oskar, the lead character, is a bit lonely, and is actually being bullied, but generally lives a normal, stereotypical life for a school boy. When Eli enters the story, this is the stage in which the equilibrium is disturbed, as this is when she enters Oskar s life and therefore he becomes involved in a life that he didn t have befor e. Murder s start to happen; Oskar becomes involved in fights and he leaves home. All these things have occurred since Eli entered Oskar s life, therefore disturbing the equilibrium that was there before. If the film were to follow the theory created by To dorov, then the equilibrium should be restored to the way it was at the beginning of the film, in which Oskar lived a generally normal, stereotypical teenage boy lifestyle, without the unusual occurrences. Camera work within the film all seems to refer back to the two main characters. Oskar and Eli are both supposed to be children, maybe just older than 10 years old, and because of this, the camera is often slightly blurred or is filmed from a long shot. I think this was done intentionally to give off the effect that the camera is looking at things from a child s perspective, as they are usually kept out of the way of important goings on in the community or they don t really pay much attention to it, therefore the camera films from a long shot to show how c hildren perceive these events. The blurred camera effect gives off the same of idea of showing the scene from maybe a child s perspective as they may not really understand the situation, and so the blurred camera shows the possible lack of understanding of the situation. The mise en scene also refers back to the two main characters. Throughout most of the story, the colour scheme was mainly white, and in my opinion refers to the colour of a vampire s skin, or in the case of the film, the colour of Eli s sk in tone. Any picture on screen has a white or cream colour background usually, with others white or nearly white objects in

the foreground. For example, during any scene that is filmed inside, the walls were painted white or light creamy colours. Along with any scenes filmed outside, featured snow, so yet again the colour white is fitted into the picture. Even Oskar s hair colour is as near to the colour white as possible, all these things, in my opinion, refer back to the character Eli, and the colour of her skin due to her being a vampire. There wasn t many sound effects involved in the film. The music in the background was minimal throughout most of the film, yet at the same time most of the noises created by the actors were enhanced in the editing du ring post-production. This could also refer back to the characters, as the two children were very quiet, and didn t have very loud personalities. Generally, anything that was included in the film referred back to the two main characters Oskar and Eli. Eli and Oskar appeared in most aspects of the theories by Todorov, Strauss and Propp. As well as the mise en scene, camera work, and sound effects all revolving around the two main characters. In this essay, I have learnt how much more important the main characters are to a story, as well as helping me get a full understanding of the three theories by Todorov, Strauss and Propp.

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