The film I have chosen is 'Goodfellas' directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990, based on the novel by Nicholas Pileggi 'Wiseguy'. The reason for this is that it gained many awards for the cinematography used and partly through personal preference.
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Film Form and Genre Assignment 1 Give a detailed commentary on a sequence, or sequences from a film of your choice in terms of two of the any of the following: mise-en-scene; editing; use of colour; lighting; sound; special effects. The film I have chosen is 'Goodfellas' directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990, based on the novel by Nicholas Pileggi 'Wiseguy'. The reason for this is that it gained many awards for the cinematography used and partly through personal preference. The scene I have chosen is called 'Cast of characters; Tommy's a "funny guy". This is the post-transitional scene from when the lead character was an adolescent to becoming a young man. The purpose of the scene is basically to establish his friends and the social community in which he associates with. The main influence as to why I chose this scene is that of the cinematographic content and technical structure in relation to the film narration. I have chosen to discuss the sound elements of the scene and mise-en-scene. I chose sound as it is a key element in the structure of the narration and form of the scene. I chose to discuss mise-en-scene as the relationship of each element involved has important significance to the cinematography. The sequence is set in 'Sonny's Bamboo Lounge', a lounge bar and a regular mafia 'types' hang out, in down town New York, 1963.
The reason for the use of this technique in the sequence is to put the viewer is put in the head of the character. It creates a 'point of view' impression. This is also achieved through the use of cinematography, which will be discussed later. The sound in the sequence is notably simultaneous sound, diegetic sound represented as occurring at the same time in the story as the image it accompanies. It is also known as synchronous sound as it is matched temporarily with the movements occurring in the images, as when dialogue corresponds to lip movement. This is simply to retain the logic of sound and vision coming together. If sound and vision did not correspond, you would represent a different perception of the films narrative. The lead character Henry Hill, who maintains a certain speech pattern throughout the scene, conducts the voiceover. The pace of his voice is seemingly a fraction slower than average, it seems to be in sync with the camera movements, which enhances the effect of the 'point of view' technique. The tone of voice creates a sense of relaxation by sounding quite muted and monotonous. The volume of his voice remains low and constant throughout the sequence, which adds to the creation of mood and tone. There is no emotion in his voice, but it sounds descriptive which is what the character is doing, describing his associates.
This amount of lighting is an intentional technique because it creates mood and atmosphere relevant to the narrative form. The lighting in the sequence could be closely familiarised to film noir, due to the low-key style. The lighting in the sequence is also limited due to the nature of the camera work and cinematography, which will be discussed next. The camera shot throughout the entire scene is one long take, also known as plan-séquence, a French derivative. The camera motion is slow and definite and remains at eye-level at all times, point of view shot. The entire sequence is shot with a shallow focus format, leaving the background out of focus. The motive behind using this technique is to enhance the sense of being in the characters shoes (point of view). The diagram following, illustrates the movement of the camera in a three-dimensional format. You can see from this diagram the difficulties the film crew may have had with incorporating lighting techniques. The diagram also highlights how the camera pans around to achieve the shots of establishing each character. The screen-direction in the sequence has been evaded by filming a three-dimensional sequence. This is unconventional in the sense of the 'axis of action' or 'fourth wall', this is an imaginary line which divides the viewer from the action on screen. The entire sequence strives to give the impression that as a viewer, we are walking through the lounge bar meeting the characters for ourselves. It is successful in achieving this objective through the use of technical means, style and form.
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