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Mise-en-scene Film: Adulthood

This screen grab from a scene in Adulthood shows the typical working class, urban areas used in the majority of British social realist films. Through the mise-en-scene in this shot we see that the lighting is natural as it is set outside in a real life location. The police in this shot are represented as alert of they’re surrounding s and on the look out for any criminal activity occurring in the area. The use of police in this area represent the location as working class and urban as police are not really needed as much in upper class rich areas as there aren’t many criminals around there and there isn’t much incidents where police are needed in rural areas as they are stereotypically more peaceful and calm. This connotes that the people living in this area are working class as they need to engage in criminal activities to stay afloat and provide for themselves or their families. In this shot there are loose railing leaning against a wall, the walls are patchy, connoting that this area is unkempt and people that don’t really take much pride in their environment live here. This shot establishes the British social realist themes of petty crime and perhaps violence. These themes are established due to the police officers being framed in the shot like they are keeping an eye on the area trying to make sure that everything runs smoothly and trying to reduce the amount of criminal activity and violence taking place within this specific area.

In this screen grab this young male character is represented as very violent and malicious through the mise-en-scene as he is using a knife to what seems to be threatening someone. The natural lighting in this shot is quite dull, gloomy and miserable. The use of natural lighting represents this location as very dark and dangerous, the present era is represented as very rough as we see youth carrying household weapons. This creates a wider representation that working class areas in Britain have a lot of unruly, callous, mindless youth that want to harm people to get where they need to or want to be. The costume this boy is in – a hoodie and cheap looking leather jacket connotes that this is set in a working class area as the characters in British social realist films usually wear what they can afford, so his costume connotes that he is quite broke. The British social realist theme that is established through this shot is violence. This shot establishes the theme of violence through the prop he is holding – a knife which is used in this manner to threaten or to inflict bodily harm on someone else. This connotes that in the working class, urban areas of Britain knife crime within the youthful population frequently occurs.

Through the mise-en-scene the character in the middle is represented as very threatening and bold as he is holding a knife staring at the man as he gets up. The other two characters are represented as out of they’re comfort zone as they are being challenged by a boy who is younger than them in quite a run down area, connoting that they are not from there and the boy is. This location is represented as a working class area as there is lots of vandalism – graffiti on the fences, there are no places of significance in this shot. The building in the back looks like whatever it was it has now been made redundant as it looks empty, connoting that many working class people live in this area and cannot afford to be spending lots of money keeping shops in business. The themes established in this shot are violence and a social class clash. Violence is established through the use of a knife as a prop. The theme of a social class clash is established through the costumes all three characters are wearing. The woman and the man to the far right are wearing more expensive formal looking clothing, where as the boy is wearing a hoodie, a cheap leather jacket, jeans and trainers. This connotes that the man and the woman are maybe middle class as they can afford to dress better and more formally and the boy is of working class as he cant afford expensive, formal clothing. The difference in social class is perhaps the reason why this boy takes advantage when threatening them to get what he can from them to be slightly better off.

Camera Language Film: Sket

This screen grab from Sket denotes an over the shoulder shot of a young girl standing in her kitchen, in a red jumper towards the left side of the frame, with her mouth slightly ajar and her arms out. Towards the right side of the frame there is a black figure of a person whom she is looking at. This shot has been carefully composed to ensure that the rule of thirds is applied, which it is as the girls eyes are a third of the way down the screen. This over the shoulder shot is used to connote that the girl doesn’t recognise this person standing in her house. It has been used to emphasize her facial expression, as she looks shocked, surprised and scared all at once. It also puts an emphasis on her body language as we can see that she is quite tense as her shoulders are raised and her arms are slightly apart. This specific shot has been used to also show the dark figure in the right of the frame, the black connotes that who ever it is they have bad intentions and aren’t there to do anything good. Therefore, this over the shoulder shot represents the girl as quite weak, as a slight high angle shot is used and makes her look small and defenceless. However she is still quite domineering as the shot has been framed so that she consumes most of the shot, connoting that she may have the will power to get away from who ever the dark figure is. Britain is represented as quite an uncertain place, as things can take a turn for the worst at any point as we see this girl is clearly taken by surprise by this persons sudden presence. This over the shoulder shot also helps to establish the British social realist theme of childhood, as we are able to see that this girl isn’t having the greatest childhood as she is left alone to deal with this person that she clearly doesn’t know and is left to fend for herself although she may feel very intimidated and scared. The theme of isolation and escape can also be seen through this shot as the camera language enhances the portrayal of her looking isolated, as she seems to be trapped in the kitchen because the dark figure is blocking the door to leave the kitchen and will perhaps try to escape, but whether she can or not is a different story.

This close-up denotes a young girl with someone’s hand in her mouth whist she is trying to bite it. Her face is a little bit red and her eyes are squinted. The rule of thirds is still applied here. This close-up connotes through her facial expressions that this girl is trying her hardest to bite this man so it hurts him enough so that he will free her and she could try to escape. This close up represents her as a character as very desperate as she is struggling to escape and she knows that if she doesn’t her life will be put in danger. This close-up also represents people in Britain as desperate as they may be struggling in other ways, such as desperately trying to get out of debt, struggling to get their children back etc. As these two examples are common issues within society today in Britain. British social realist themes are established through this close-up as we see clearly the theme of violence as the girl is biting the mans hand in self defence. Again, we see the theme of childhood. In this case the girl is not experiencing a really good childhood as she is going through this potentially traumatic situation and there is no one there to help her.

This long shot denotes a little girl wearing blue jeans and red jumper running away from a man in dark jeans and a dark coat, in some sort of underground tunnel. This long shot has been used to show the body language of both characters and to show what they’re doing and where they’re running to. It connotes that she is trying to run away from this man who wants to cause her harm and is running to find or to go somewhere safe. This represents the young girl as very brave and persistent as she could have given up a long time ago, but she still has the hope of getting away. This tunnel like location, is almost trapping the characters, as it looks like there is no end to it. This connotation represents Britain as a dead end. Like there are no opportunities available for people like these characters, they are almost excluded by society and given no chances in life. The camera is placed quite far away from the action as it shows that the characters are even more isolated as it makes the tunnel seem never ending like there's no escape, this establishes the British social realist theme of isolation.

Editing Film: Nowhere Boy

Pan Right

The first screen grab to the left of the page denotes a boy playing an instrument, with a very focused facial expression. The second screen grab to the left denotes a man entering a the room, with what appears to be a very angry, disturbed facial expression. I have selected these two screen grabs from the funeral scene in the British social realist film ‘Nowhere Boy’ to show the use of a typical editing convention that is commonly used within the British social realism genre. These screen grabs demonstrate that a pan has been used instead of an edit or transition. In the majority of British social realism films, they replace edits/transitions with camera movements. In this case a pan has been used to show how fast the action is happening. This pan to the right is very fast and sharp, this is to represent the character in the right screen grab as very angry and potentially violent. These emotions seem to be directed at the character in the left screen grab as the pan is taken from him playing his instrument, to the other character walking in, connoting his initial action has angered the character to the right in some way. The pace of this pan to the right represents this character as very on edge and jumpy as he has been affected by the playing of an instrument. This is supported by his angry facial expression. This pan that replaces an edit/transition represents Britain as a very hostile place as everything happens fast, without much thought and everyone expressing anger that may not be necessary. The use of this pan helps to establish the British social realism theme of violence as the character in the right screen grab enters the room aggressively and then punches the boy playing the instrument.

This screen grab denotes two men embracing each other for emotional support as the one who’s face we can see seems to be distraught. The editing convention that is apparent in this screen grab is a long take, as this shot is visible in the scene for quite long. The body language, facial expressions and they costumes both characters are in and the colours of them in particular connote that they may be at the funeral of a loved one. This long take represents both characters the character whose face we can see as quite emotionally weak and unstable, as the long take emphasises his emotions and his body language tells us as the audience that he needs as much support as he can get at this point in his life as he is clutching on to the other man. This long take represents Britain as an unstable and needy country, as from this long take we see two British people holding onto each other almost refusing to let go. This long take establishes the common British social realist theme of dysfunctional families. As it leads the audience to connote that these two men may be related and have lost one essential family member and are left feeling unstable and with a dysfunctional family.

This screen grab denotes a room of men both standing and seated, dressed formally in black suits and white shirts, they’re body language is quite stiff and their facial expressions are quite pitiful. I captured this screen grab to show the general slow pace of the editing in British social realist films. The slow paced editing in this funeral scene represents all of the characters as unhappy and distressed as the slow paced editing emphasises they’re moods through they’re body language and facial expressions. This slow paced editing represents Britain in a more negative life as it connotes that nothing is ever short and simple, everything in Britain is long and difficult, nothing ever runs smoothly in Britain. Through This slow paced editing the theme of dysfunctional families is again established, as we see especially in this shot there are no women to be seen connoting they have all departed from the family, neglected the family or died. This connotes that there are no motherly figures to support the family, maintain it and keep it functioning.

British social realim - Visual style.  

An analysis of the conventions of the mise-en-scene, camera and editing in British social realism.