Monday, June 22, 2009

Movie Studies - Joe Wright ~ Pride & Prejudice (2005)



Study notes consists of spoilers and story plots.

Overall a comfortable drama romance period film.


Based off the romance novel ~ Pride & Prejudice written by Jane Austen (1775 ~ 1817)

Elizabeth's Ignorance Guilt Scene

I chose to breakdown this scene mainly because of the dark gloomy mood created by a series of well planned and framing camera shots. There was also a very disturbing/uncomfortable shot with time lapse which was really a well used contemporary cinema photography, to create the dark mood.

Most of the camera angles used were profiled to a wall or down a corridor, it wasn't unti lthe turning point was a 3/4 framing used, the profiles helped create the solemn, lonely mood and flatness.

SH01 ---> SH04, Total length 1min 34sec, averaging 23sec/shot. Usually when you have long takes it's to heighten the sense of drama or to reveal a series of continuous events. In this case the 4 shots comprising of only Elizabeth and her slow moody movements was to create the sense of lost, loneliness, sadness and distraught. A very moody scene of nothingness and emptiness. The angles used just made the scene even more atmospheric solemn , the use of profile angles, corridors and shallow focus. From SH01 to SH04, the camera was always tangent to wall behind Elizabeth or shooting down a corridor, everything was flat and linear. Even the movement of the camera was flat, either tracking left right front back, crane up down, the linear movement from point A to B, it just flattens out Elizabeth's senses like there was nothing left for her to feel or do. The use of anti framing Elizabeth made the composition less balanced.

SH02, Elizabeth walks down the corridor with a shallow focus camera which enhanced it more with rack focus. It made the shot dreamy , as though Elizabeth was walking down a tunnel of a dreamy thought and then fading deeper and deeper, engulfed in her thoughts.

SH04, At first impression it would give out a slight shock for the audience as Elizabeth seems to be staring straight at the audience, but actually its the point of view shot of Elizabeth looking at herself in the mirror. The initial shock was in a way to create an eerie feeling as well as set the emotional mood as Elizabeth looks at herself, studying her own emotions and thoughts. This kind of shot also allowed another contemporary cinematography to be added; Time lapse. After the initial shock, the audience will notice the sudden shift of shadow and lighting as though Elizabeth is in a state of suicidal lost of life, distraught and despair falling deeper and deeper in her emotional breakdown..... and then suddenly Mr. Darcy walks into screen. It's as though this was the wishes of Elizabeth to see Mr. Darcy there in her mind, to explain and comfort her. Even Elizabeth was doubting herself if what she saw was her own imagination.

SH04, Maybe for general audience the shock was of Elizabeth staring back at them but for some they might be more baffled on how technically possible it was to have shot Elizabeth at that angle without having the reflection of the camera in the mirror. My theory is that the camera was situated behind the mirror Elizabeth was facing and shooting through a duplicate frame from behind the wall. After that the negatives were mirrored in editing and viola, invisible camera.

SH07, I'm not sure if this shot could be considered as a 180' flip or just a cut shot, either way I'm going with 180' flip. The use of the mirror to create a sense of inner reflection and then cut to a frontal shot and breaking the 180' line was in my opinion a genius use of the 180' rule. On one hand you have Elizabeth looking at herself and studying her own emotions, deep and psychological unnerving and then cut to a shot of her contemplating what she thought she heard and saw when Mr. Darcy left. It's a sudden change and contrast of the unsettling emotions and the realization of Elizabeth and what she had done to Mr. Darcy.

SH10, Up until SH10 all previous shots have slow motion and slow energy. On contrasts SH10 is fast paced, high energy and the rush of Mr.Darcy riding vigorously through the forest, the camera itself tracking Mr. Darcy is blazing past bushes and trees. The main reason for SH10 was to setup a turning point not just in this particular scene with Elizabeth but a main turning point for the whole story line of Pride & Prejudice, a mid peak and climax. It's to reveal whom Mr. Darcy truly is, the protagonist and how the situation of all the characters stand. The emotional guilt of Elizabeth and how she had dishonor Mr. Darcy from her own ignorance, pride and prejudice. The rush and speed of the energy in this shot also portrays the emotions of both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is going through; for Elizabeth the revealing of how wrong she was and Mr. Darcy's fury, anger and sadness. It also helped to setup a very strong contrast for the following shot of Charlotte Lucas walks into the room while Elizabeth was reading her personal letter.

Overall the film was enjoyable to watch, the use of words and language, the fashion and societies of the Georgian era with a pinch of drama and romance. Best part was that there weren't tons of mushy gushy lip locking scenes, through out the film there was only 2.

Pride & Prejudice Complete Study Notes


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