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Jay Franks

Hotel Babylon - Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the
representation of ethnicity using the following: Camera shots, angles,
movement and composition, Editing, Sound and Mise en scene
The extract Hotel Babylon uses various techniques that involve constructing the
representation of ethnicity using Camera Work, Editing, Sound and Mise en scene.
Through using these different techniques it gives off various connotations about ethnicity
within the extract which I will be explaining in further detail.
Firstly, as the clip begins an opening scene shows a white British man (John) being
escorted by a group of men to the desk of the hotel. This instantly suggests that this
character has a sense of authority about him because he is almost being guarded by
other people, which can be seen as stereotypical for a person of his ethnicity and status.
He can be seen as being wealthy, because it is suggested by the clothes he is wearing
because they appear to be a good fabric and that would result in them being expensive
which is stereotypical for someone of his ethnicity and status. A sense of authority is
backed up by the non-diegetic music added to the scene, which is a mysterious tone that
portrays this character to be dangerous and powerful. This is further supported by mid
shots of his face showing hardly any facial expression implying he isnt a nice character
and the director wants the audience to be aware of this. A shot reverse shot is
incorporated into this scene which shows the camera going from this man as he is
walking, to the desk with a fast paced edit to a black man and then quickly back onto the
focus of the main man in power. This camera shot implies that the black person is
disregarded in society and the fast paced editing enhances this to quickly shift the focus
off of him because he isnt as powerful and important as the white male. This shot also
uses a high angle shot looking down at the black man from the white mans perspective
which correlates to the white man having more power due to stereotypical connotations
in height. As if you are taller than someone, it suggests that that character has more
power and dominance over them. The shot also includes the reverse shot of that showing
low angle shot coming from the black mans perspective which indicates he is looking up
towards the white male and suggest he wants to be like him and that he will follow orders
he receives from him. This can be linked back to previous years when black people were
involved in the slave trade. When the focus is on the black man for a split second, it
reveals to the audience that he is sat on his own, and that he is reading a newspaper.
This implies that he is lonely and marginalised in society because of his race and that he
cant make any friends in his occupation. This reveals to the audience that there is
racism being shown within this workplace towards the people of his race because they
are seen as different to others.
Moreover, the idea of racism in the workplace towards black people is supported again
using another character. As John approaches the desk a mid-shot shot is shown of white
British woman at the desk. This implies that she is charge of dealing with this character
as the two races are the same so they are on the same power level. She quickly
interrupts John when speaking to ask a black man (Ben) Did you take them purple
accusation forms down to housekeeping like I asked? This can be seen as Ben doing the
dirty work for people in his job. A high angle combined with a shot reverse shot from the
white female to the black male ordering him to do the dirty work. He replies with No I
forgot, Ill go and do it now. This can be seen as a stereotypical response from someone
of this ethnicity as black people are seen to be uneducated and as not as wise as white
people which could be why the white female is in the main role and he is in the lower role
in their occupation. However, the countertype to this is that Ben is wearing an expensive
smart suit also wearing a watch which indicates to the audience that he is actually smart
and is doing well for himself which can be surprising for the audience for someone of his
ethnicity due to stereotypical connotations. Following on from that the dialogue and the
way the female talks about the black man (Ben) implies that she seems him as less
important than the white male(John). This is because after she has asked Ben that
question, she replies to John saying Brain like a sieve,*sigh*, anyway as I was saying.
This implies that she does actually think that Ben is dumb and it is typical that he has
forgotten to do what she has asked. She says it in a manner that makes the black man

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seem less important and almost mocks him because of his actions which makes the
white male laugh and it is stereotypical that they are mocking someone of his race
through their actions because they dont care because they can order him around on
what to do because of his race and that they arent powerful.

Furthermore, a hand held camera shot plus a mid-shot/longshot showing the panic of the
workers of them all rushing into a secure room through its shaky effect, through this it
reveals to the audience the environment that they are working in and that it isnt actually
upper class the halls were narrow and it suggest that they are working in a poor
environment which isnt surprising due to their ethnicities. This shot shows a variety of
ethnicities running through into the room and portrays the idea that none of them know
what they are doing because they all speak different languages and it is hard for them to
communicate together. This panic is supported by the shot being filmed behind bars to
imply that the workers are trapped and they are never getting out of this situation and it
traps the outside world that people will be trapped in a microcosm through a language
barrier and promotes the idea of the semic code. An extreme close up is shown for the
Chinese woman opening the door, and then multiple close ups of the peoples faces in
the rooms are shown which shows the audience how they are all ethnically different while
also showing the fear in their facial expressions. While theyre in the room, a woman
faints due to her being scared and has an asthma attack. The Chinese woman asks
around for help which is suspiring as the stereotype for Chinese women is that they are
intelligent. Instead, a black man who is a cleaner steps forward and knows everything on
what to do and how to cure her attack. This is the countertype for his ethnicity as
normally black people are deemed to be less intelligent because theyre stereotypically
poor and couldnt afford good education. However, this man knew what he was doing and
is clearly got the potential to be a doctor, but instead he is working a cleaner which is a
stereotypical job for someone of his ethnicity and it isnt surprising that he hasnt been
selected to be a doctor because employers would prefer people of a white ethnicity
because they are deemed to be more intelligent than black people. Showing another
possible event of racism that has occurred. A jump cut is used to go from the secure
location tot a black man hovering who is danger from the three men coming up. A
shallow focus/mid shot is used to show the three white men coming out of the lift and the
focus is on them instead of the black man which indicates that it wont be a hard task to
be able to overcome him and then they can walk over him because of the power they
have over him which can be linked to ethnicity connotations. The camera zooms in on his
face to show his facial expression when he sees the three men which shows how
intimidated he is of these men and results in him to try and run away. The Chinese
woman thanks the black man after his actions of saving the woman from her asthma
attack and says Its Adam isnt it? which indicates through the dialogue that she
doesnt really know his name because she hasnt taken any notice because she doesnt
want to be associated are doesnt care about him because he is black and is on a lower
power level than her because of her job role in the occupation as she is the leader.
Furthermore, depressive non diegetic is added to set the tone of the scene where the
Chinese woman is leaving her job. An over the shoulder shot is used to show how the
other workers behind her are upset that she is leaving and it indicates how all the
different ethnicities have been able to get to know each other and be friends as well as a
shot reverse shot form the Chinese woman looking over at them, t the workers looking
disappointed and then back to the Chinese woman further supporting the idea that they
all feel upset over her loss as she seemed to be a good leader. It is unstereotypical how it
appears they get along as youd think there would be conflict between them because of
disagreements in ideas and how to pursue tasks. After she has gathered her stuff out of
her locker, an extreme close up is sued to show the number of her locker which was 75.
This indicates that actually even though she was deemed to be a powerful character in
the workplace, she actually wasnt and that was just because none of the ethnicities that

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she worked with or were friends with were white which meant they are stereotypically
powerful. The reason 75m suggests this is because if she was an important role in the
workplace she would have a lower number as normally it is due to importance and that
her ethnicity has meant hat she isnt deemed to be important enough in the workplace
and that she is actually trapper in a microcosm. As the clip comes to an end, a pan shot
is used to show all the different ethnicities and the diegetic sound allows the audience to
hear all the different languages being spoke n in the scenario. This indicates that it is a
multi-cultural workplace and that they all get along together and there isnt any conflict
which is a countertype to the outside world as many wars go on between different
To conclude, the Camera shots, angles, movement and composition, Editing, Sound and
Mise en scene all created connotations that portrayed ideas about the different
ethnicities. It mainly shown some stereotypical connotations but some also countertypes
to ideas one of the main ones being how all the different ethnicities were able to work
together in the same environment. Which shown that it was a very multi-cultural
environment and that it wasnt all one race.