Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Case Study - Once Upon a Time In America

Sergio Leone uses Noir lighting with the Chiaroscuro effect in the very first scene of 'Once Upon a Time In America'. This symbolises the dark lighting and also light on dark as well. The Noir lighting is used with an artifical effect as in scene one, Eve walks into the bedroom with light on her whereas the rest of the room is dark which shows she has the spotlight on her.  Another example is this still picture of the three police in search of Noodles which as we can see the light is on the police and the background is dark, again suggesting that chiaroscuro effect. This shows the chiaroscuro lighting to be a thriller signifier and shows danger and to cast a small sense of mystery.

Camera angles 
In his use of camera angles, Sergio Leone uses a large number of close ups in his films as an essential signifier for the genre of thriller films. This picture we can see here is the victim Eve, as she has been killed by the police as she refused to co-operate in their inquests. This image is such an important image due to the fact that from this we can get out a number of things.
Firstly we can see the rule of thirds being portrayed. This may not be as obvious as other examples but we can see the policemen on the right and the middle and Eve on the left; which in turns shows she is the main feature as she has been killed.
Secondly the close of Eve here helps to allow us as the
audience to identify the characters emotions; despite the fact she
is dead she shows a blank face to indicate the vulnerbility of her.
The pearls she is wearing also signifies 'tears' which is where
the 'Femme Fatale' comes in as well. This has all led to the tragic
death of her in this opening scene to this thriller.

In Once Upon a Time In America we have a classic opening to the film from the early nineteen hundreds as the credits at the beginning enlighting us on who is present in the film and the production of it, is met with a simple noir background. However the first example of sound which is used is around fifty seconds in where 'God Bless America' is being used; remembering also it is supposed to be suggesting a more loving America and also the end of prohibition. This then is supported by a soundbridge. This soundbridge is of the footsteps of our 'Femme Fatale' Eve. These footsteps help to anticipate the next scene of the film.

This is a still picture from the second scene of Once Upon a Time In America showing again the importance of close ups although this time shows the effect to police brutality. The sound which is used during this scene in Diegetic sound. This means that the sound being used is natural and from the environment and characters respectively. While also showing the 'Mise en Scene' as well.

Lastly, if we look at scene three as a final example, we can recall seeing Noodles for the first time as he is being cared for due to the fact he is unwell. Suddenly we hear a phone ring, and Noodles hears it too. However despite the fact he is able to hear it the sound which is used in non-ambient. This is because the ringing of the phone is inside his head which in turns ends up leading to a flashback. The use of non-ambient sound helps to create a sense of mystery in the scene.

In Thriller films, especially noir thrillers we have the location which can play a major part in making it a thriller or not.
 My example for this is in scene three where as you can see we have the classic shiny streets. This shows the utilisation of the noir lighting used by Leone. The rain and wet weather here are used to indicate nightmare on these shiny streets. And also we have the bodies on the floor which shows again the brutality of the police force and also sends out a sense of danger as well.

Lastly we have the costume in thriller films. This is used to help establish the character in the film.
This picture which can also come back to the lighting of Once Upon a Time In America having the chiaroscuro effect to back up the 'Femme Fatale' of her character.
However in the terms of costume we can establish instantly the pearls she has around her neck. These can help the 'Femme Fatale' aspect of her character but also symbolises tears. These peals can help to show the fact the symbolised tears can show that they are being held within the person and when the pearls break for instance they symbolise tears being shed, however in this case her death could also show the sadness ending.

The pearls can also show a sense of purity and innocence towards Eve. We can see this due to the fact she is killed at the beginning of the film which is supported through the idea of innocence because we don't know much about her so have to think the police murdered her for no reason.

1 comment:

  1. A detailed analysis where you satisfactorily analyse and interpret some generic aspects within the mise-en-scene.

    When you identify a specific generic convention it is important that you explain the purpose. You do this very well when discussing the symbolic importance of Eve's pearl neckless. Pearls can indicate tears/badluck and you discuss this well.

    Media terminology: Sound is either diegetic or non diegetic; lighting is either ambient or non ambient.

    Try to begin to be technically ambitious in your posts using slide shows, or prezis etc.

    Well done, keep up your hard work Robbie.