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THE STORY: character setting plot
FILM STUDY FOCUS
THE MEDIUM: direction choices mood & tone
• character • setting • plot • conflict • foreshadowing • flashback •
• point of view • symbolism • irony
• How does the director set the mood and tell the story?
- use of colour (tone, shade, brightness, lighting) - use of sound (music, voices, silence, sound effects) - framing of scenes, characters, and setting
There is a pattern to the heroic journey that can be traced through most myths.
BIRTH: humble origins / not “ready made” for great adventure
DISCOVERY OF DESTINY / INITIATION TO QUEST: - the hero discovers that he has a special calling or something occurs that necessitates his leaving on the quest
THE QUEST: - the hero engages in an external and internal journey - the hero grows in wisdom or insight - obstacles to overcome, foes to vanquish - often the hero finds a “wise man” who helps him to achieve his goal - often the hero meets with temptation along the journey
ROMANCE: - hero meets his romantic counterpart or “ideal” partner
THE JOURNEY HOME - hero achieves his goal and in the process comes to a better understanding of himself
Director M. Night Shyamalan • Born in India, but raised in Philadelphia • Passion for film making began at the age of 8
Trademarks: – Frequently uses Philadelphia as the backdrop for his films – Usually incorporates a twist or surprise ending – Frequently uses shots of peoples’ reflections, fluttering curtains, or includes a car crash – Almost always makes a cameo appearance somewhere in the film – Usually has an important scene occur in a basement
Comic Book References Director M. Night Shyamalan draws parallels throughout Unbreakable to the traditional comic book. Notice how the comic book page to the right is constructed in boxes. Shyamalan uses the same type of framing to construct his scenes. It is easy to catch if you are looking for it, but a very subtle style if you are not aware.
UNBREAKABLE PART I 1. Identify the city in which the film takes place. 2. What is the main character’s name? 3. List 3 indicators that the main character’s marriage is in trouble. 4. What information is revealed in the flashback at the beginning of the movie? 5. Does the main character look the part of a pop culture or comic book hero? Why or why not?
Quick Questions 1 1. What is the name of our protagonist? 2. True or false – reflective shots have been used in the film so far? 3. What do you remember most about the very first scene of the movie? 4. Does our protagonist look like a modern day superhero? Give one supportive detail 5. In what city does this movie take place?
UNBREAKABLE PART II
1. How do we know that Elijah takes his comics seriously (that it is more than just a hobby)? 2. Elijah believes that comic books are more than entertainment. What role or function does he think they play? 3.
For what or whom is Elijah searching?
Describe two “holes” regarding David that disappoint Elijah.
5. What did the kids call Elijah? Why?
Quick Questions 2 1. What is a prophet? 2. Using the name Elijah in the film is an example of an __________________. 3/4.What are the two “holes” that disappointed Elijah? 5. What did the kids call Elijah when he was younger?
Part III 1. What are Audrey’s feelings about football? What does the conversation between her and Elijah suggest? What might this have to do with David and Audrey’s marital problems? 2. Why does Elijah choose the comic titled Sentry Man?
Quick Questions 3 1. What is an allusion? 2. What is an illusion? 3. What comic did Elijah choose to represent David? 4. What are Audrey’s feelings towards football? 5. What is David’s Achilles Heel?
Quick Questions 4 Which of the following do you think are examples of irony: 1.You need a fork, but all you can find is a knife. 2.
The fire station burns down
3.Environmentalists protest clear-cutting of forests by handing out pamphlets
Good advice that comes a little too late
5.We think that Elijah is trying to find someone to protect the people, when he is the one they need protection from
1. Is Unbreakable an example of situational or dramatic irony? 2. In your opinion, did Elijah’s ends justify his means?
Cinematography • Mirror imagery and box like scenes represent the visual “comic strip” • Camera shots are long, with infrequent cuts and no abrupt changes in perspective • Little action during shots – hints at the static illustrations (not moving) of a graphic novel
• Dialogue between characters is always segmented: when 2 characters converse, their speech never overlaps; they never interrupt each other
• There is always a distinct pause between each line of dialogue, which suggests the speech balloons of a comic book – each line is its own “balloon”
Comic Book References • Main characters have their identified colour schemes – David’s clothes are green – Elijah’s clothes are purple – a prominent colour amongst supervillains, especially in the 1960s and 1970s (Lex Luther, Joker) – Serial killer’s janitor uniform is bright orange – Anyone seen in one of David’s ‘visions’ is wearing a bright colour (rapist in bright green, hate crime thug in bright yellow, drug dealer in blue, thief in red…)
• David and Elijah are shown to be each other’s opposite in many ways (contrasting skin colour, hair, physical makeup) • David is all but invincible, (can’t be harmed) while Elijah is extremely brittle • Opposite in ever way except their reaction to water, which can kill either – David because he doesn’t know how to swim and Elijah because he is too weak to swim
• They are actually on the same spectrum, just at different ends • As in many comic books, the hero’s first and last names are alliterative (Clark Kent, Peter Parker) • Hero has an Achilles heel (weakness)
• Superhero and villain were once friends before they became arch enemies • David’s poncho draws visual parallels to a “superhero” in a hood and cape • The lead villain has a physical deformity