Compare the beginning of 'Ghandi' with that of Robin Hood, 'Prince of Thieves'. What cinematic techniques are used in each to introduce you to the story?

Authors Avatar

Compare the beginning of ‘Ghandi’ with that of Robin Hood, ‘Prince of Thieves’. What cinematic techniques are used in each to introduce you to the story?

Ghandi and Robin Hood, are two very dissimilar films targeting different audiences, diverse plots and opposite central characters; one being the stereotypical heroic, action-packed American family movie; the other an epic account of one man and his country’s struggle for independence in colonial India during the 18-1900’s. The films beginnings and general meaning will be explored as well as taking note of the director’s use of lighting, atmospheric devices, camera positioning and the different paces.

The film Ghandi begins with a long camera shot of the sun rising behind the backdrop of fishing boats in shadow, while the tweet of rising birds’ sound in the background. This beginning depicts the whole theme of the film; it is symbolic of the dawn of a new era, on the eve of independence.

The beginning of Robin Hood is atmospheric as well as exciting preparing the audience for action. The camera slowly roves over the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered portrayal of the Battle of Hastings, while the credits roll in front. Orchestral, battle music is played in the background, as a small caption asserting a historical fact connoting Robin Hood existed at the time stated, couldn’t possibly be true. This device used by the director, of using a true fact, is intended to make the film seem more realistic and believable. However despite the lack of historical accuracy the audience begin to be drawn into the film and are ready to suspend their disbelief. The music dies down from its peak, creating an atmosphere of suspense, preparing the audience for the high-tensioned scene they are about to see.  

The difference in the nature of the films would require the directors to consider their audiences wisely. For the director of Ghandi understood that any straying from the truth would inevitably lead to damning consequences. The change in music and exotic scene the setting sun in a Middle Eastern country perhaps lends atmosphere as well as mystery. The fable Robin Hood is a well-known one, which wouldn’t rouse much interest unless the film offered an original more exciting version. A famous poem about man and the river Ganges dissolves slowly from the screen as close up/blurry shot of a tree with the sun behind it appears, then focuses on an Asian man’s face, drawing the audience into the action. The contrast from the full picture of society at the beginning, to the small focus on one man, adds variety and concentrates the viewers.

The audience is able to see a sweat stain on the character’s shirt, indicating anxiety and a warm climate. The cram of many people into a medium shot furthers the audience’s curiosity, as does the camera swivelling to observe an old grey haired man on a cart. He nods with a rather conspiratorial smile. The man turns again and joins the bustling crowd, while two Indian guards tell the people to ‘follow the others’. It seems the purpose of this diversion is to show that political/religious extremists carefully planned Ghandi’s assassination.

Join now!

The rapid movements of the camera diminish as we see, as if through the man’s eyes, an over-the-shoulder shot of a lush garden with a supposed colonial mansion appear. The impression given by looking at the mansion is the man is looking at the hated power that has oppressed him and his people for so long; ostensibly gearing him up to carry on his weary way; the music adds a certain amount of apprehension to the scene.  

In Robin Hood the camera pauses on a blackened screen before the action begins. The sound of a man ...

This is a preview of the whole essay