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How does the director Stephen Spielberg use filmic techniques to build suspense and build tension for the audience in the film Jaws?

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Introduction

How does the director Stephen Spielberg use filmic techniques to build suspense and build tension for the audience in the film Jaws? Jaws is based on a popular novel by Peter Benchley released in 1975. The director of the film is Stephen Spielberg. He is known for films like E.T, Catch Me If You Can, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park 1, 2, 3. He has also done may more films which have all been hits as well as being enjoyed by the audience. The film Jaws is set on a beach called Amity Islands. This beach is dangerous and has a vicious animal, which is a human meat eater. Amity Islands is used for public holidays like American's Independence Day and so on. Lots and lots of public go to Amity Islands, as it is one of the most popular beaches used for public holidays. All the public are enjoying the holiday but do not know what is really lying beneath the water. That is why the tag line of the film is: 'Don't go beneath the water.' The music plays a very big role in the film. The shark is definitely connected to the music in the film because every time the shark comes to play a role there is always some music playing in the background, which gets from quiet to loud. ...read more.

Middle

When the second attack takes place there is a shot, which is called a dolly shot. This is a shot where they bring the character closer to the camera and they zoom in closely to the character. This creates tension and suspense because it gets the audience thinking and gets them very scared. Now this also has an impact on the audience. All the character in the film has their own unique thing in terms of everything. There is a girl swimmer at the start called Chrisy. Now Chrisy is in the first attack. Chrisy is a hippy kind of character. She differs from all of the characters because she is only seen in the first scene and not all the way through the film. Now Alex is made to be an important character in the scene that he gets attacked. The way Alex comes into that scene gets the audience a bit suspicious. This is because the way he comes out of the sea and gets permission of ten more minutes gets the audience a bit suspicious that something is definitely going to happen which then builds up the tension and suspense. This is a really good technique of Spielberg's to build tension and suspense. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also uses nondiegetic sound for parts where you can only see kids playing on the beach. For parts like this he just uses the voice of kids playing and splashing water in the sea. He also uses parallel sound, which the audience expects, at some parts in the film. He also uses contrapuntal sound like when they show shots of the children playing in the sea but you can hear the shark music. Thus builds up the tension and suspense. The editing has added more tension, suspense and fear to the film. This is because the way they edited their shots for the shark and the people being attacked has got the audience even more into the film and got them thinking. They have done this by editing the attacks and getting close ups of the shark's mouth etc. This helps because it gets audience more scared. I think the highest point of tension in the film was when Alex got attacked and eaten by the shark. This is because they used a variety of shots in that scene which made it very effective. I think the most effective shot of that scene was the dolly shot. This was when Brodie's chair got pulled in towards the camera and the camera zoomed in. Overall I think Spielberg has used filmic devices to entertain and to build tension and suspense very successfully. ...read more.

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