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Cinematography

The Constant Gardener

Camera shots and angles

The key idea is subjectto-camera distance. The further from the subject the camera is, the more information is available to understand what is actually happening. The nearer the camera the more closed the reading is because of the proximity.

Mise en scene

Placement in the frame. Comprised of seven key elements:


The Frame The Space in the Frame Composition Character Placement Lighting/Colour Costume Setting

Creates the directors signature and intention.

The Frame
While Tessa is the focus here, Justin extends beyond the frame to emphasis the almost voyeuristic nature the viewer is supposed to feel.

This relates to how people and objects enter and exit the frame or whether objects are positioned only partly in the frame. The more random the focus, the more random or chaotic the narrative world is supposed to be. Conversely the more organised or structured the frame, the more ordered the narrative world appears.

The space in the frame


Following on from the frame, its important to understand how space is used in the frame. This relates not only to the width of the frame but the depth and how far your eye is allowed to travel back into the world of the frame.

The background: We see Justins memory of Tessa in the door.


The Mid-ground: We see the bottle placed by the attackers. The Foreground: We see Justin lying wounded after the attack.

Composition

The key to a well composed shot is the rule of thirds whereby the frame is seemingly divided the screen into 9 equal squares, both static and moving images can be located in the correct place.

Character Placement

The way that characters relate to each other and to the audience says something about how the audience are supposed to think of them.

The placement here underlies the sad news of Tessas death that Sandy about to tell Justin.

Note the void between the two characters as well as their body language and physical barriers, hinting at the idea of betrayal which is later discovered.

Lighting/Colour

Lighting is important because its absence creates shadows which adds texture. It is also easily used to highlights people or objects of significance. Colour is important as it deepens the mood or emotion intended by the director for the particular scene.

Here colour is used to show the mood before and after Tessas death.

Setting

Setting reveals a lot of extra information that the filmmaker wants to convey, where and when the film is set, what type of place it is, and what style are the locations. Look for contrasts in setting. Consider which characters live or are shown in particular settings.

Structure/sequence of events

Compare the opening and ending scenes and discuss any links or similarities between them.

Look for examples of symmetry between the exposition and resolution of the film to create dramatic unity. Look at the relationship between the presentation of the central problem in the exposition and its resolution in final scenes.

Production techniques

Comment on the ways the director has made the visual text memorable.

The director uses a dynamic verite style of camerawork to create an uncomfortable or voyeuristic nature of the film. This is particularly seen in the unbalanced horizons or the intimate moments between Justin and Tessa where the camera, at times, feels uncomfortably close.

Production techniques

Describe one key scene, focusing on what the director did to make the moment effective in the visual text.

When the narrative finally reveals Tessas true character it is in a montage and uses a voice-over but the harsh lighting on Tessas face links to metaphors of the naked truth, interrogation and exposure. The shift in colour symbolises Justins acknowledgement of grief.