An Analysis Of The Cinematic Techniques That Are Used In The Portrayal Of The 'outsider' In Films. Why Are Such Films Popular And What Do They Tell Us About Society As A Whole? Gcse A Grade

3878 words - 16 pages

We looked at three films from the 1980's and 1990's - 'The Elephant Man', 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'Rain Man'. An outsider is someone who has been rejected by society. They are treated differently, usually worse, than 'normal' person either because they look or act differently. I think John Merrick, Edward and Raymond make good protagonists because you empathise with them. You start to feel how someone who is made fun of feels and because they look different or act strangely you don't forget them quickly, which is what the director wants. All three protagonists are treated like freaks, which makes them interesting choices for main characters. Films can use cinematography to show an ...view middle of the document...

When they are there they are very horrible to Merrick, which creates empathy for him. They pour wine and spirits over him, through his things on the floor and make him dance to prove that he is abnormal. Treves takes Merrick to a theatre where Mrs Kendall - who is in the production, dedicates the show to Merrick. That night John Merrick removes all his extra pillows, lies down and dies. This film is based on a true story.Bytes tries to own the Elephant Man. He believes that John Merrick couldn't survive without him. He treats Merrick as he wants, he beats him, as he thinks Merrick is dependant on him and will not leave him. But really Bytes is more dependant on Merrick as he is the star of the freak show. Bytes really looks bad, he wears dark clothes and has an evil sounding voice. At the beginning you can't really tell if Treves is good or bad, but as the film goes on, you see that he is good. In some ways, Treves is an outsider too. He is often alone; this is shown by the cinematography. Mrs Kendall is a kind, high-class woman. She wears expensive dresses and talks in a smooth voice. She cares about what is best for John Merrick throughout the film. The relationship between Byte and Merrick is full of fear and they don't like or care for each other. The relationship between Treves and Merrick starts off with Treves curious and Merrick afraid but as the film goes on they start to care about each other. Everyone who doesn't know Merrick properly is either fascinated, disgusted or afraid of him. Merrick wants to fit in but cannot be accepted by society because he looks so different.The first thing you see is Merrick's mother's face while giving birth merging with elephants and a photo of her, which is referred to later in the film and becomes a motif. At the beginning of 'The Elephant Man', you don't actually see John Merrick's face. You only see him huddled up in a corner and the reactions of people who have seen him, like when it pans in on Treves crying, and this builds expectation. This builds expectation and a kind of suspense. John Merrick's ugliness is only skin deep. He is a normal person on the inside and, like all the outsiders we looked at, has a hidden talent - he is very artistic. He creates a model cathedral, which also becomes a motif when the film keeps coming back to his creation, and he draws a picture of himself lying down - which is the thing that kills him.When Treves first takes Merrick to hospital, he takes Merrick into a meeting to talk about him. You see Merrick from behind a hospital screen and he's being pointed at with a pointed stick, he looks like as much as an exhibit as he was at the freak show. Throughout the film there is a reference to a smoking chimney, which looks a bit like a train funnel possibly showing his journey through life. There is also a reference to 'bars'. There are bars up the stairs leading to his room, which is far away from everything; he's still an outsider in the hospital, and there are bars...

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