Muffled sounds of television static fade out to chatter among different families. Fade to silence.
Fade in from 5 seconds of black to a montage of television sets, all sizes and shapes with “snow” and visual depictions of dead air on the screens. Compilation of scenes of television sets in the houses of families of different races, origins, and social class. These aspects are differentiated by the lighting, color, and the objects on the set of each different family.
Silence characterized by the sound of dead air. A voice over ensues.
VO: Families are dynamic. They are the hearth and symbol of the world's many diverse cultures and are the structural unit that allows the individual to create his or her own identity. From supportive to dysfunctional, the role of the family in film is to convey ideas of agreement with or rebellion against social norms.
Synchronous sound of a person striking the side of a small television set.
Continued montage of families interacting within their different households in front of televisions displaying “snow” and dead air. ---Cut to--Long shot of a girl (16 years of age) dressed in European fashion approaching the television set. ---Cut to--Close up of the girl’s face, a reflection of the “snow” on the television seen in the irises of her brown eyes. She looks directly at the camera. The expression on her face is contemplative. ---Cut to--Close up of the girl’s hand striking the side of the small television set in front of her. Fade to black.
Ambient sounds of family’s talking all at once fade in. The amount of families speaking at once slowly diminishes until only the voice over is heard.
---Cut to--Frame shot of a solid black background. The working title fades in with white lettering. Fade out to white.
VO: One way that the cultural aspects of families have been depicted and studied is through film.
(shot continues until fade out)
Filmmakers from different countries, such as America, Britain and India have used their films to show audiences what the lives of families of these cultures are like, with films centered on the family being the most frequently produced in each country (Bordwell, Thompson 256).
VO: The social history of America, Britain, and India play a vital role in the films that are produced in the respective cultures. Indecipherable dialogue from the three settings plays in the background and fades out with a visual flash of stark white.
Fade in to a quick Pan shot of a Caucasian man and woman of Latin origin (both Americans and in their thirties) walking down a somewhat busy street in New York. ---Cut to--A long shot of families in a suburban British community. ---Cut to--a pan shot of a busy Indian city surrounded by vendors.
Visuals of the American street, suburban British community and Indian city merge and slowly fade into white
Soundtrack music from the opening credits from “Monsoon Wedding” fades in and plays in the background (faintly). Music from each of the four films is used throughout the documentary to emphasize the importance of the cultures in each film and to evoke emotion in the audience of familiarity.
Fade into montage of quick, but sufficient scenes to convey the message that marriage is a central event in all four films
VO: The story lines of the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding (America), Pride and Prejudice (Britain), Bride and Prejudice (India), and Monsoon Wedding (India), are all centered on marriage. The concepts of social status, ethnic origin, and distress over abandoning or accepting tradition are tied to the cultural values of each country in each film. These aspects come to light through the mise en scene of each film, particularly through the patterns of the contrast of warm and cool colors and the difference in the hues of the colors created by lighting.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Toula and her father are in the car at night and he tells her that she “Better get married soon” (to a Greek) because she’s “starting to look... old“, ---Cut to--scene in Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth and her sisters giddily celebrate the fact that Mr. Bingley is single ---Cut to--A scene in Bride and Prejudice where Balraj (on ground level)makes eye contact with Jaya (who is on a balcony) during an organized break into song. ---Cut to--A scene in Monsoon Wedding where wife to be Aditi (reluctant about her marriage to Hemant Rai) veers away from her family’s eager and frantic rush to find her wedding apparel to get a Popsicle from a vender around the corner.
Music fades out.
As the music fades out, the last shot of the scene where Aditi evades her family slowly fades into black.
Voice over fades in from momentary silence. 00:03:14
VO: Marriage, an event generally centered on the merging of a man and woman with similar cultural values in strictly traditional communities, is the catalyst for the families in all four films. Each family realizes that their own relatives are evolving into people with their own principles, different than those of traditional standards.
Fade from black into scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Toula appears contemplative as she stares at a pamphlet for taking computer courses, a far stretch away from her father’s wishes for her to marry a nice Greek man and have children. 00:03:25
(scene continues) Original sounds from the films plays behind the voice over. VO: In the film Monsoon Wedding, character Aditi does not want to conform to the traditions of her patriarchal family and has an affair with another man against the wishes of her father who has arranged her marriage to Hemant Rai. Like many women in modern day India, Aditi strives to be successful at a career and make her own decisions regardless of her families’ wishes to maintain their honor through the social and economic benefits that are usually promised through a daughter’s arranged marriage (Cox, 47).
---Cut to--A scene from Monsoon Wedding where Aditi meets her lover, whom she is having an affair with, behind the set of the television show he is affiliated with.
Audio Aaj Mera Jee Kardaa from Monsoon Wedding kicks in. VO: In all four films, the patterns of color assist in revealing ideas about cultural norms by the presence of warm colors symbolizing unity and conformity and the presence of cool colors representing non-traditional aspects that stand out-in this case, these ideas stand out visually.
---Cut to--Montage of the working titles of all four films, in alphabetical order beginning with Bride and Prejudice, Monsoon Wedding, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and ending with Pride and Prejudice.
Aaj Mera Jee Kardaa from Monsoon Wedding fades out. ---Cut to--VO: In Bride and Prejudice, Lalita can’t help but envision what her life would be like with American William Darcy, regardless of whether or not she wants to. Dola Dola from Bride and Prejudice fades in. This scene supports how people unwillingly envision the complete contrast of a color, this act called simultaneous contrast, when they have seen a particular color for a prolonged amount of time. Lalita can’t escape her feelings for Darcy and the contrast in the warm and cool colors of this scene conveys that message (Gilchrist, 35).
Scene from Bride and Prejudice where Lalita fantasizes about marrying Johnny Wickam in an American church (masked in a warm colored hue) while she has generally optimistic visualization of her life with him until she sees William Darcy's face (in a contrasting blue tinted hue) as the groom when her veil is uncovered ensues.
Audio Music fades out into voice over. VO: Similarly, in Pride and Prejudice, the story written by Jane Austin that inspired India’s Bride and Prejudice, ideas about social status are conveyed through the intensity of color.
Scene from Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is staring at Elizabeth from a distance in attire that is of an intense gray hue than his surroundings, which is made up of a green and gray hue.
Dawn from Pride and Prejudice fades in. 00:05:23
VO: Mr. Darcy’s attire and his surroundings are of the same color; however, they are of different hues. Mr. Darcy and his attire stand out because darker hues are generally brought to the forefront of a shot and lighter hues are less intense and therefore have the appearance of falling behind those that are more intense. This symbolizes his importance (Stark Adam).
(scene continues) 00:05:42
Dawn fades out. VO fades in. VO: In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth overcomes barriers of social class...
---Cut to--Scene from Pride and Prejudice at the beginning of the film where William Darcy stands while many female characters swoon over him. His stance is tall and confident, his appearance standing out from that of the crowd because of the intense hued colors of his wardrobe.
Audio Original sounds from Monsoon Wedding of Family members singing and rejoicing about Aditi’s marriage fade in for five seconds and decrease in volume as a voice over begins. VO: Whereas Aditi battles conflicts with portraying the “correct” image for her family’s honor. In Indian film Monsoon Wedding bride to be Aditi, has views towards marriage and customs different than some of her family members. Original sounds from “Monsoon Wedding”: a female family member sings about Aditi‘s father giving her away and becoming a stranger to her forever. VO: Aditi, characterized by her copper toned hair and blue eyes, appears distraught during this scene and seems as though she doesn’t fit in with the rest of her family, despite the similarity in their bright, ornate wardrobes. Her body language, that of disinterest, is the only thing that distinguishes Aditi from the warmth and unity of the colors between her and her family. The eye popping colors are brought out to the forefront and symbolize the value that family comes first (Mukhopadhyay,83).
---Cut to--Scene from Monsoon Wedding where the women in the family are gathered together and singing while Aditi’s hands are painted in Henna. A Close up reveals the disgust in Aditi’s eyes reflecting her disinterest in the family event and her own future marriage.
---Cut to--Somber scene during nighttime where all of the family is gathered together outside in a small ceremony celebrating Aditi’s engagement to Hemant Rai. Aditi appears saddened at this event because of the affair she is having with Vikram. Fade to black.
(scene continues until it fades to black)
Audio Original sounds from Monsoon Wedding stops abruptly after the screen fades to black. Original sounds from both films included in the montage play: Synchronous Dialogue between Aditi and Ria talking in the car, Ria asks Aditi if she consults Cosmopolitan for all her advice, followed by synchronous dialogue from Bride and Prejudice when Lalita and Mr. Bingley’s sister share a slightly confrontational moment when Lalita reads a book out on the beach and Mr. Bingley’s sister snares at her and says that Indians like herself don’t have spare time to sit around and read books. When the still framed split screen fades in, there are 2 seconds of silence followed by a voice over. VO: Ideas of social status are shown in these scenes. In both films, American culture clashes with the traditional values of Indian culture and causes character’s to reexamine their ideas about crossing cultural lines.
Fade to a quick montage of a compilation of clips from two scenes: one from Monsoon Wedding and one from Bride and Prejudice. The scene from Monsoon Wedding is a close up scene of Ria and Aditi in backseat of a car having a discussion, with noticeably differences between the two and their appearances. The scene from Bride and Prejudice is from when Lalita, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bingley’s sister are all laying out on the beach and Lalita reads a book. Montage ends at the last frame of Bride and Prejudice where Lalita storms off and accuses Mr. Darcy of being an “American”.
Last frame dissolves into a white background, a split screen of a still frame from Monsoon Wedding and Bride and Prejudice fades in.
VO: This is seen in both films where certain characters, those influenced by American culture, stand out amongst people of their own culture through the colors they choose decorate their appearance with. Aditi’s short, dyed hair, similar to that of Mr. Bingley’s sister who is dressed in Americanized styles (depicted by cool colors rather than warm colors) reflects the difference in their opinions toward whether to accept or reject their culture. These characters represent a female character different than those in Indian films throughout history where female characters were usually submissive and had a sense of naiveté. Both of these characters feel as though they do not fit what they feel is an old formulaic standard (Mukhopadhyay, 84).
Continue frame shot, split screen of both films.
Opening music from My Big Fat Greek Wedding Fades in. Synchronous dialogue from the scene fades in at a low volume.
Scene fades to black. Scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding fades in. Toula’s love interest sticks out among her family (another depiction of the “calmer” colors usually used in American culture) when they meet him for the first time.
Audio Voice over fades in, music from the opening of My Big Fat Greek Wedding continues faintly in the background. VO: Although My Big Fat Greek Wedding is an American film, its storyline and script is written by and based on actual events that happened in the life of Nia Vardalos who also plays Toula in the film. As seen in films Monsoon Wedding and Pride and Prejudice, American culture is differentiated from Greek culture and Indian culture through the colors used in American/”Americanized” characters wardrobes. The lighting of these scenes also suggests that there are cultural differences: In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Monsoon Wedding and Bride and Prejudice subtle lighting and cool colors suggest a feeling of Americanization that goes against the feelings of togetherness and tradition characterized by the warm colors that suggest unity and “culture”. Clearly, in these three films, American ideals are not accepted as very culturally traditional ideas.
Clip from when Ian meets Toula’s family for the first time continues.
Fade to black. Montage of specific frames from My Big Fat Wedding follow one behind the other: A Flash back of Toula and her family eating dinner when she was younger while her father praises her sister for being the ideal Greek child, emphasis on warm colored pink hued lighting in scene. ---Cut to--Footage of Toula’s family dining at Dancing Zorba’s in the present day. ---Cut to--Toula spotting Ian outside (outside representing American society, characterized by cool, dark colors) walking toward the entrance toward the restaurant (warm color hued, and culture-oriented). ---Cut to--Medium shot of Ian asking Toula to dinner, following her make over (similar lighting is used for both of them, much like the lighting used for Ian in the beginning of the film, symbolizing Toula’s transformation of physical beliefs and views on her family’s traditions. Fade to black.
Audio Original music from My Big Fat Greek Wedding fades back in and the volume decreases when another voice over begins. VO: In all four films, the use of color reflects how characters Aditi, Lalita, Toula, and Elizabeth cannot help but to see the complimentary color (which represents views that break tradition) of what they are told to see by their culture‘s social norms (Terwogt,6). Piano score from “Pride and Prejudice starts playing. The volume of the music decreases slightly as a voice over kicks in. VO: In Britain’s “Pride and Prejudice, social status is reflected through the color and lighting in it scenes. Ambient style lighting is used to depict scenes of people with less money and a lower social status than those with a higher social status. The volume of the piano score increases slightly. VO: Comparatively, Darcy’s clothing is of a more intense hue than that of Elizabeth’s family, signifying his wealth and importance.
Quick montage of all the portions of the films featured so far in the documentary.
(scene continues) 00:10:20
---Cut to--Scene of Elizabeth and her family touring Mr. Darcy’s elaborate house, decorated with statues of artistic figures. The lighting is bright therefore enhancing the richness of the colors in this scene. ---Cut to--Quick scene of Elizabeth and her family in their house; their house is composed of cool colors that are dull, and the lighting is somewhat dark and similar to that of ambient lighting.
Audio Piano score from Pride and Prejudice fades in to synchronous music from a scene of Dubey walking through the lower class India. Music plays softly in the background to evoke feelings of familiarity with the films and a central unity of the topic throughout the documentary and slowly decreases in volume as a voice over begins. VO: In Indian film Monsoon Wedding similar cinematic representations of social status are reflected through the colors used in the wardrobe of the characters and the lighting of the scenes. In this particular scene, the working class of India is depicted through dark ambient lighting, dark colored overtones, and images of children walking through mud in extreme contrast to Aditi and Hemant Rai’s ornate wedding, characterized by bright, eye-popping lighting and warm colors (Stark Adam).
scene continues) 00:11:04
---Cut to--Scene from Monsoon Wedding where Dubey is walking down the street and fantasizing about Alice as she dresses herself in the elaborately decorated clothes and glimmering jewelry of the wealthy. The camera twists and turns as it follows Dubey toward his humble home where he lives with his mother. Scenes of children walking through mud and street vendors are seen during this excerpt. ---Cut to--Scene of the Aditi and Hemant Rai’s ornate outdoor wedding intertwined with Dubey and Alice’s wedding (on the same night) amidst the elaborate celebration of Aditi and Hemant Rai’s wedding.
Audio Synchronous music from a scene of Dubey walking through the lower class India fades out to Voice Over. VO: Although these films are centered upon how American, British, and Indian traditions and values about social status are distinct in each country, it is clear that these countries share a number of similarities amongst their differences regarding the concept of family (Nowell-Smith,xix ). Ambient sounds of children playing fades in to a faint murmur. VO: Families, usually the elders of the family, strive to keep their culture strong in fear of losing it from generation to generation.
Fade to black. 00:12:10
Fade in from black to a long shot of New York City during nighttime, splashed with color and many faces. ---Cut to--A medium shot of a family walking towards the car in their driveway in a British suburb.
---Cut to--Children playing outside in a busy area of India, decorated with street vendors and working people commuting to and fro on foot. 00:12:43
---Cut to--Synchronous sounds from film clips ensue. VO: Children usually question their family’s culture, oftentimes through the act of marriage once they become older. Marriage, specifically to a person outside of one’s own culture, is the cause for family’s to examine their own stance on their culture’s definition of social norms, tradition, and social status.
Montage of families from various countries. Family members interact with one another. --Cut to--Footage from an American wedding on the beach. --Cut to--A British wedding in a church. ---Cut to--A traditional Indian wedding ceremony.
VO: In films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bride and Prejudice, characters Toula and Lalita (respectively) both fall in love with Americans against the wishes of their strictly traditional families. This is portrayed cinematically through the contrast in warm (representing culture and unity) and cool (representing people and cultures that defy social norms) colors.
Previous scene fades out into black.
Close up from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Toula and Ian sit in the back of a car following their marriage. ---Cut to---Scene of Lalita and Darcy are dancing together, Darcy dancing awkwardly and standing out in his dull attire.
VO: In films Monsoon Wedding and Pride and Prejudice, the contrast in the intensity of hues between the settings of the characters, their wardrobes, and the lighting used in the scene reflect how social status and honoring the name of one’s own family in order to keep traditional values intact plays a major role in the family. VO: In the end, it becomes increasingly evident that the role of the portrayal of families in films from each of these countries is to show how families tend to do as much as they can to keep the traditional values that define their culture.
---Cut to--Scene from Monsoon Wedding where Aditi and Hemant Rai argue after Aditi confesses to him about her affair with another man. ---Cut to--Scene from Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth argues with Darcy about whether or not he was the cause of her sister’s failed relationship due to her “lowly” social status.
(scene continues) 00:13:59
Scene fades to black.
VO: In American films, American culture serves as the catalyst for cultural change in contrast to India where honoring one’s family name is key. In British films, the focus is centered around knowing that change in social status is attainable so long as one is brave enough to question crossing social barriers.
Fade in from black to a pan shot above various sets of buildings from dawn to sunset.
Fade to Sounds of murmuring and chattering within the many families diminishes and silence, characteristic of dead air ensues. VO: Films such as India’s Bride and Prejudice and Monsoon Wedding, Britain’s Pride and Prejudice and America’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding allow people from all over the world to view what life is like in cultures all over the world, in different shades. VO: These films reveal the hearth of American, British, and Indian culture through ideas about tradition and social status represented through color.
Fade into a continuation of a series of shots of a 16year-old girl in her home with her family members (her mother and younger brother) in the background, their features almost indistinguishable. ---Cut to--a medium shot of the camera following the girl approaching the television set, with the documentary playing on it. ---Cut to--A close up of the girl’s hand hitting the power switch located on the front of the television set. ---Cut to--a close up of the television screen, appearing as though its power has been turned off.
Published on Mar 24, 2011