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Witness Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

Good morning/afternoon teachers and students we are here today at the HSC Study Day to discover and analyse the ideas and characters which are always centralised in films. Centralised in a matter of "Distinctive characters and ideas are at the heart of every film". Furthermore the film “Witness” directed by Peter Weir delves into the concept of the themes and characters.

In Peter Weir’s western showdown the metamorphose of clashing cultures are highlighted through his use of a variety of cinematic techniques. The cascading use of lighting and sound in the “Barn Dancing Scene” is used to symbolise the romantic tension between Book and Rachel. Through angling the camera of the car and upper ...view middle of the document...

The main lighting in this scene comes from the headlights of Book’s car.

In the film artificial lighting has always encompassed danger and negativity and the fact that the lighting creates tension in the audience, suggesting their union is doomed for its link to this Amish idealism: as nothing good comes from the new technologies of the modern westernised world. In comparison, the Amish setting is bathed in sunlight, representing a literal and metaphoric transparency or moral purity of its people.

Colour is used in an extraordinary way as it is used to symbolise and create the emphasised environment which is concurrent with the sound. The colour red symbolises passion and sexuality, the true awakening of the senses which Peter Weir has tried to enforce. This shade of red is used to show that Rachel’s passion is enflamed by Book. As the scene begins with Book and Rachel enclosed in a cramped broken down blue car, here Peter Weir is trying to enforce the calmness and purity held within the boundaries of the blue vehicle. The baby blue colouring of the vehicle shapes the meaning of that no impurities can impale the boundaries within. Once they leave the vehicle the colouring red takes over. (if time is right quote “ my body is a temple” – Richie Mel).

“What a Wonderful World” is heard playing in the background. “What a Wonderful World” is a diegetic sound, its music but it’s actually coming from the world thus it’s a shared experience between both of them not just music to give us atmosphere, it connects with the characters directly and immediately. The lyrics are important in that it shows that Book and Rachel lack experience about each other’s worlds, emphasising the disparity between the two cultures. Throughout the song, both characters act with a level of restraint, creating romantic tension between the two as the audience can see the level of attraction between them. This tension is then sustained as they look deeply into one another’s eyes. However book turns his head and returns to their polite relationship. It is at this point that the romantic tension between the two is at an extreme peak.

The “Bathing” scene is a scene of intense romantic tension, temptation and passion. Again, lighting, sound and symbolism are of particular importance in creating and sustaining the theme of romantic tension between Book and Rachel.


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