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Analysing 'The Colour Purple' Film

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Claire Fooks 10y English Assignment Analysing 'The Colour Purple' Film 'The Colour Purple' is a novel written by Alice Walker in 1982. It is the touching and inspirational story of Celie. The story is set at the start of the twentieth century and Celie is a young black girl living in the Deep South. Celie writes letters to God in which she tells about her life - her roles as daughter, wife, sister, and mother. Through the course of her story, Celie meets a series of other Black women who shape her life. Throughout the story Celie is the centre of this community of women, the one who knows how to survive. The highly praised Hollywood Director, Steven Spielberg modified the novel for film in the mid-1980s. When turning this novel into a film Spielberg may have anticipated some difficulties, such as condensing the story. The aim of the film was to portray the position and troubles of Afro-American women at the time. It shows that women were oppressed by their colour and gender. The harsh words said to Celie by Mister help depict the situation of most black women, 'you black, you poor, you ugly, you a woman - you nothing at all'. Like the novel, Spielberg's film does not dwell only on this depression and trouble, he also shows the strength and determination of the women. Despite all the scenes of racial cruelty, domestic violence and the shocking situations, the film shows the determination and strength of character that Afro-American women possess. The colour purple symbolises the bruises and suffering but becomes the colour of femininity and delight. Firstly, I am going to analyse the opening section of the film. Spielberg has created a soft, blissful mood by choosing to play cheerful music, with birds tweeting and Celie and Nettie laughing. Spielberg chooses to make the first scene in an ebullient mood, to create contrast between the first and second sequence. ...read more.


This is effective because it allows us the audience to sympathise with Celie and Nettie in the film. I am now going to analyse the second section of the film that we watched. The first scene is of Sofia carrying her baby and walking up to her house. During this scene Spielberg chooses to use a special effect, Harpo falling through the roof, this is effective because it is humorous and it lightens the mood, it also contrasts the main theme of the film. Spielberg chooses to make this scene contrast with the rest of the film so that it creates an optimistic frame of mind. The special effect is enhanced by the lighthearted music; the music is effective because it provides relief from the hardship and suffering we have witnessed throughout the film so far. It also prepares us for the passionate, strong-willed character of Sofia and her very modern marriage. We as the audience witness a mid shot of Sofia and Harpo in the same room this shows they are equal because they are on the same level. Spielberg chooses to use a point of view shot from Sofia this is effective because it allow us the audience to see the situation from Sofia's perspective, which reinforces the relationship Spielberg establishes between the female characters and the audience. In the next scene we witness Mister working in the field talking to Harpo. At the beginning of he scene we see a close up of Harpo, this is effective because it shows how he looks up to his father. We also witness a shot looking from behind Harpo up to his father; this also shows how Harpo looks up to his father and it represents Mister's domination, and how Harpo feels ashamed, as he wants to live up to his father's standards, yet Harpo cannot control his own wife. This may also make Harpo feel unmanly. ...read more.


Spielberg then chooses to pull back and show an aerial shot of everybody at the dinner table, this gives a break from the scene and eases the tension intensity. We then see a mid shot of Mister standing up, this shows that he still has more authority over Celie and can easily stand up to her. Celie then grabs the knife that we have seen while she has been talking, the knife represents the contrast of how he power has shifted from Mister of Celie, by picking up the knife it also creates suspension and represents power and revenge. We then witness a shot from behind Celie looking down on Mister; this shows the character reversal between Celie and Mister. When Mister is talking we can just see his mouth, this shows how he is spiting out the words. When Shug Avery's husband leaves he says, 'it's been a pleasure meeting you all', this breaks up the tension and lightens the mood. The next scene is of Celie leaving. As this scene is outside it is bright and sunny, this creates a contrast between the previous scene as inside it was dark and gloomy, the bright yellow car also helps to create this contrast. Celie is getting in the back of the car and Mister comes after Celie and tries to hit her, but Celie puts her hand out and stops him, this makes us the audience feel immense triumph as Celie has overcome Mister. We also witness a shot from behind Celie looking down on Mister, this is effective because it shows how Celie's overcome Mister and is now higher than him, which gives us the audience great jubilation. Claire Fooks 10y Spielberg has adapted the film very well and he has managed to portray all of Alice Walker's purposes. The film is touching and inspirational. It shows how other black women have helped shape Celie's life and she is the centre of this community of women. Towards the end of the film as the audience we feel an immense sense of triumph and jubilation and surely this film inspires all. ...read more.

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