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Film Studies 28 Days Later How are the mise-en-scene, lighting, performance and camera work used to create meanings for the spectator in this early sequence?

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Introduction

Film Studies - "28 Days Later" How are the mise-en-scene, lighting, performance and camera work used to create meanings for the spectator in this early sequence? This analysis of '28 Days Later' will consider how the mise-en-scene, lighting, performance and camera work are combined to convey meaning and mood in the first few sequences of the film. This is a British post apocalyptic/horror/science fiction movie, directed by Danny Boyle the plot tells the story of a young man, Jim, who awakens from an apparently long coma in a deserted hospital in London. Throughout the course of the film we become aware that whilst he was sleeping, a highly contagious virus has swept through Britain. Turning its victims to insanity within a number of seconds, their blood begins to fume, their eyes turn deep bloodshot red and all that remains is a zombie like state of mind with the lust to massacre the uninfected. Throughout the course of the film Jim becomes a reluctant hero who helps other survivors try to stay alive in the bleak situation. The first scene that I examined starts immediately with clips of human wars, riots and violence around the world, which we later learn to be a vital theme in the film. The next shot is of a chimp, strapped to a chair and forced to watch these multiple sights of aggression. ...read more.

Middle

The close up shot of the hospital public phones hanging off the dial shows the background blurred, this shows us that the director wants us to focus our attention on the phones and give the viewer the feeling that Jim is cut off from all communication to the outside world. When Jim starts scavenging for drinks out of the vending machine, I feel this has been done to compare him to the animals that were involved at the start of the film, as he doesn't care about his appearance just like an ape wouldn't as he has not been a part of society for a long period of time. During this shot the camera switches to a high angle shot looking down on Jim, which again makes him appear small and insignificant, who is crouched down like an ape to represent his thirsty desperate state. After this the camera catches a glimpse of Jim's hair after his operation, half of his hair is normal how it was and half of it is shaved, I think this is to represent how half of his primitive side is coming out and half of his sane human side still remains. The camera then shows another establishing shot of the outside of the hospital, and focuses on a very angular and straight side of the building which implies the theme of cage bars, which suggests imprisonment. The action of Jim's head popping over the wall, almost a barrier, adds to this effect. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout this scene the camera looks down on Jim through a high angle shot to represent how vulnerable he is to the danger of getting bitten by the priest, until he hits him. Then the camera looks down on the priest to show that Jim has defeated him and almost escaped the danger. Another recurring theme in "28 Days Later" is the role of Christianity in western society and how spirituality plays a part in our present day lives. Danny Boyle uses religious symbolism throughout "28 Days Later" in the form of crosses, religious text and a priest to relay his spiritual message. In fact Jim's first encounter with the infected is with a priest who swats at the air as if possessed. So, what is Danny Boyle saying about spirituality? Simply that western society has become so influenced by consumerism and acquiring material that we are all bound for a wake up call. There is a reference to the book of Revelations with the phrase; "The End is extremely fucking nigh," written upon the walls of an inner city church. This points out that humanity is at an end, it is time for man to repent or be swallowed up by a Rage inducing virus. As well, Jim notices a postcard that reads, "It will be your grave for you are vile. -Nahum 1:14." This is a verse from the bible that predicted the destruction of the city of Nineveh (Internet Movie Database) because the inhabitants were wicked. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** This is a good essay, which has some excellent analysis of the effects of camerawork and mise-en-scene in the film. The written style is rather long-winded and lacks fluency. It would also benefit from paragraphing and proofreading, but the errors do not impede understanding.

Marked by teacher Cath Rowe 13/08/2013

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