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Analysis of opening sequence of a film

Woman in black (2012)
The first shot we are able to see in the opening sequence is a close up of a
teapot with 2 tea cups and the action shown of someone pretending to
pour something into the cups because nothing is shown to be coming out
of the teapot, which suggests that there is a character behind this acting
to be childish as the individual is using their imagination. The bird pictures
on the teapot and cups represent each character that is introduced in the
next few scenes and this is a hint as the birds are young and usually
represented as independent and innocent. As well as this there is nondiegetic music that is playing the background of a music box, which is a
juxtaposition as it can be represented as calming, but also creepy, which
reflects upon the characters as being innocent, however they may have a
dark side to them.

The following shot shows young girls playing with their toys with the
teacup, which hints to the audience that the characters are children as
they are playing with toys. The close up we see of one of the girls
pretending to feed the doll with the tea cup indicates that the children are
innocent as they are treating the dolls as if they were real people, which
shows their kindness and respect they have.

The next show we are shown is a long shot of all 3 of the girls sitting down
playing with their dolls and this is to establish the characters playing and
gives more detail from what the previous scenes were about and it also
sets the location of the scene. The location of the house is the attic and
this is common connotation within the horror genre as it is generally the
one room of the house that no one goes to because it is abandoned and
often shown to be haunted, which can mean that the girls are in possible
danger although they are shown to be having fun. The girls are
represented as well kept as they have long hair and Victorian dresses on,
which is partnered with the non-diegetic music of something old fashioned
and this may indicate the time period they are currently in. The pastel
colours on the children’s dresses shows that they are innocent as well. The
typical horror conventions shown hints to the audience that this is a horror
film. We also see a few close up shots of the children’s toys, which are
porcelain dolls and this suggest that the children are rich because these
types of dolls are typically high end and delicate, which is represented
when the children treat it with care.

The next shot we are shown is a medium shot of the girls looking up
towards something or someone and it suggest that the character they are
looking at is more superior because of the change in facial expressions
and the stoppage of the girls playing also indicates that they are
completely distracted from the tea party. Their facial expressions go from
calm to worried, which suggests they are scared and that the thing they
are looking at is empowering to the young children. We can also see the 3
windows in the background of the shot, which can hint to the audience
that they could possibly jump out.

We are then taken to a low angle shot of the 3 girls which shows that the
girls are less superior and as the girls turn over their shoulders and look at
the windows, which indicates that the girls are somehow being told what
to do in the sense that they are practically possessed to do something as
we can see from the girls movement to it being doll like. It suggest that
the girls are being controlled by a superior figure and the girls seem to
have no expressions towards it as a child is generally obedient and does
as an adult says, which is also another clear connotation that they are
being possessed.

There is then a panning shot of what the girls were looking at to be the
windows and this hints to the audience that the girls are being possessed
to jump off the windows as there is a build of suspense and enigma codes
of what is telling them to do this. The girl’s faces continue to have no
expression and doll like movement, which indicates to us that the girls are
still possessed.

We then see low angle shots and close ups of the girls getting up from
their seat as well as dropping their tea cups and crushing their dolls with
their foot as if they never cared for the dolls. The smashing of the teapot
suggests that the innocence of the children and childhood is being
destroyed because of the birds on the teapot, which represent the girls
themselves. The fact that they are breaking the teacups and dolls shows
that they are focused on something so important that they carelessly
destroy these items without remorse. The diegetic sounds of the teapots
breaking also implying to us that the girls are initially being destroyed
from the life as they break the tea cups and also it hints they are next to
be destroyed.

A long shot is used next to show the girls walking towards the windows
they were looking at before and their facial expressions being blank
suggests that they have no power and they are fully being controlled. This
is a typical horror convention and fits in a subgenre being supernatural, as
the girls are being possessed.

Another long shot is used, but this time is behind the girls and its showing
the girls walking up to the windows and standing on the edge and the
camera shot suggests that there is a character behind the girls forcing
them to do it and following them the whole way through. The close up shot
of the window partnered with the diegetic sounds of the creaking window
creates an enigma code that is whether the girls will jump off or not. As
the girls are heading onto the window it creates a suspenseful and
mysterious music of orchestral, after the build up had been made, there is
a silence and the girls had just jumped off the building, which gives the
audience a few seconds to acknowledge what had happened. This also
goes against Todorov’s theory as this doesn’t start of as equilibrium as
there is an instant death of 3 young children.

There is then a diegetic screaming of a woman’s voice screaming “my
babies” in a terrified voice, this is shown as the camera zooms out from
the window scene. We see a jump cut to the doll that was previously
shown in the scenes of the tea party and this suggests that this doll is the
only thing that is left of the girls.

Finally, the zoom out from the windows shows us a snippet of what is seen
to be a dark figure wearing a black dress in the side of the frame, which
creates an enigma code because the audience wonder who she is and if
she were the one who had killed those children, which also leads to the
question of why she would do that. This also suggests that the “woman in
black” title refers to this woman and also that she likes to see the girls
jumping out of the window and in addition with the scream of the mother
in distress, suggest the mystery and enigma codes being created.

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