Friday, March 6, 2020

Shakespeare in love Analysis Essays

Shakespeare in love Analysis Essays Shakespeare in love Analysis Paper Shakespeare in love Analysis Paper Essay Topic: Film Twelfth Night In this media assignment, I will be looking at and interpreting the film Shakespeare in Love. Although at first the film looks to be fairly normal, there are subtle things, which generally make it more appealing to us. The director needed to add these subtle things to make the film look and feel realistic, so that the audience would think the film was believable. I am going to write about what these subtle things are, and what their impact is on the audience as well as giving my thoughts on each. With nearly every point I make, you have to consider the film is intending to take us back in time to the 1590s, the time Elizabeth I was the queen. A lot of my points will refer to the time period, because it will be very important to the director to make the film believable. Because Shakespeare is such a famous person, most people who see the film will know he died a long time ago (in 1616 to be precise), which would mean that the audience would expect the film to be set in a different time period to match the time he lived in (that is, unless it has been purposely modernised, which in this case it hasnt). Tied into this, I think the opening sequence was discreetly meant to look old. Something that I noticed was that the opening credits (telling us the cast names etc.) were in black and white. I would associate black and white with the past, because in the earlier years of the 20th century, films used to be in black and white, before colour was introduced later on. This was as well as the font of the writing being in the font that we would associate with old England. Because the director did this, we get the impression that the film is set in the 16th century even before the film has begun. Its important to set the mood for a film in its first scenes, because it would be harder to persuade an audience to enjoy a film if they werent immediately drawn into it. The phrase: you dont get a second first impression suits my point because as with just about anything, most people will presume that all the film will follow the patterns of what we see in its first few minutes. There was only one thing that I thought was wrong with the opening sequence. Nothing else was happening when the opening credits were on, never mind any decent on screen action! Anything that was happening would have given us a taste of what was to come later on. Because there wasnt any action, it felt as if the director didnt care about giving us a taster and therefore didnt care that the only thing we could do during the credits was to get bored. However, I dont think that a good first impression would be good enough for an audience. I think this was why music seemed to be extremely important to the director as well. Not only was it frequently played, the instruments played suited the period Shakespeare in Love was set in. I dont recall hearing anything but string instruments which are associated with classical music. Also, the tempo, pitch, and loudness of the music are all very important. Whenever an important part of the film is on screen, we hear completely different types of music, even though the same instruments are used. For example, when Thomas Kemp was auditioning for the part of Romeo, background music gradually got louder. This was building up to the end of his audition, when the music seemed to explode so that it dominated all the films sound. The pitch also seemed to get higher. These combined create music that feels victorious and happy probably how Shakespeare felt at the time it was happening. It is hard to describe why the music felt this way, but the music seems to uplift our feelings, just as the pitch and volume got higher. I think the on screen action also reflects how we feel, because we can usually see the emotion being portrayed as the music is being played. This was also done in many other places, such as the scene where Shakespeare was running down the street with the first scene in his hand, and also when Thomas Kemp listens to Shakespeare reads a sonnet on stage realising (I think) that she wanted to be the part of Romeo in his play. This type of music was almost certainly used intentionally because of the numerous places it turned up in. Not only was there happy music, but also dramatic music. The tempo increased dramatically, and the pitch of the music was dropped slightly to get this feeling. This wasnt played in as many areas as with the happy music, but was still used quite frequently. The best example of this music was when Shakespeare was chasing Thomas Kemp through the streets, after their audition. However important this is to the director, the camera angles need to be just as good. We saw that on several occasions the level of the camera reflected the class system old England had. We could see this clearly at the very end of the film, when Romeo and Juliet was being performed because the common audience were at the bottom of the stage, whereas the royal box was overlooking the stage and directly above the 3rd class people. This showed us that the higher-class people were in the position that resembled their status higher up. We also saw something similar at the beginning of the film, when Henslowe was being tortured. We saw that the camera was looking up to Fennyman (the torturer), and down at Henslowe. I think this was because Fennyman was the person in control of his peers. This meant that Henslowe was (metaphorically speaking) looking up to Fennyman to try to gain his forgiveness as did the camera whenever Fennyman spoke. The techniques used with the camera were also fairly basic which isnt typical of a film at all! No advanced techniques were used in the film (such as zoom or fading), which I think was a fairly discreet thing to do, yet very effective for the people who notice it. I think the lack of modern techniques used represented the lack of technology that the people had in the 16th century. I really liked the techniques used, because they show us that the director seems to have really tried to make the film believable yet used a variety of different ways. These techniques may appeal to a more observant audience because they will get that little extra for the money they pay, whereas people who are less observant will probably be happy with the on-screen scenery and props; which only make the film look (and not feel) old. However, making the films set look old is still fairly important. This ties in with a previous point I made at the bottom of page one, regarding getting a first impression. If the audience were expecting a realistic film (which in this case they would be), they would not be impressed by a modern looking set in the first few minutes, as they should know that Shakespeare lived hundreds of years ago. The audience would then probably notice more of the modern things put into the film, rather than any old things (visible or otherwise). This would therefore lower peoples opinions of the film, before the main plots have even begun to unfold. Such obvious background features included the use of lighted candles to light an area, instead of electric light bulbs, particularly in pubic buildings. Also, rats were occasionally seen on screen with the most memorable time for me being when the young boy speaking to Shakespeare picked one up by its tail. These are fairly obvious examples, but are only used in the background. One physical feature that stood out were the characters clothes because they were always on screen and also because they were often unusual, making them stand out a lot of the time. However, the clothes didnt vary enough for my liking. Although they suited the time, they seemed to lack originality. The clothes of commoners were often dirty and generally looked old and worn, whereas the higher-class people wore the most bizarre outfits Ive ever seen particularly queen Elizabeth 1st with her top, which seemed to have grown wings! This wasnt enough for me because any director could have made actors in the mise-en-scene wear these types of clothes for an effect, so therefore the directors intentions for clothing lacked originality. Perhaps the director could have advised the clothing department to rip parts of the commoners clothes, and then sew them back together with a different coloured thread, that had no contrast at all, to emphasise how poor these people were. Also, the director could have distinguished Shakespeare to be in a particular class. This is because Shakespeare tended to fall in between class structures as far as his clothing was concerned as his clothes were neither old or worn, denoting a poor person, nor bizarre and extravagant, denoting a rich person. The only thing that impressed me with the clothing was that they usually made the important characters stand out. This was because Shakespeares clothes (among others) were a different colour to most other people. This was particularly effective in scenes where the mise-en-scene was similar to the main action. For example, in scenes where the mise-en-scene involved dancing, the unimportant dancers tended to wear burgundy and brownish colours, which were similar colours to the background, whereas Shakespeare wore a vibrant green shirt and hat. Although there was barely any change in the style of clothes, Shakespeare always stood out of the crowd. This was an excellent idea. This follows my earlier point in saying that the same classes wore similar clothes, which would potentially have been a big problem. This is because if it wasnt for the colour schemes, then there would have been no way Shakespeare could have stood out by wearing almost identical clothes. We can now see that colours may have had more of an effect than some people may think. This is because not only were the colours important in making important characters stand out, but they also discreetly helped the director make the film a love story The colours in the background tended to be shades of red. The colour is associated with love and passion which is probably why it seemed to me as if there was more of the colour red in passionate scenes. For example, in the close up scene of Shakespeare and Lady Viola undressing each other on the bed, the only thing we saw in the background were the closed curtains which were red. The other obvious place to me was in the dancing scenes (as Ive mentioned before). Everyone else who was dancing were mainly wearing red and burgundy colours which may have reflected the passion the people in the background had for their partners, as well as with Shakespeare and Viola. I think the colour use is very ambiguous. On one hand, we have the colour representation (red meaning love and passion, for example), whereas the on the other hand we have the use with making the main characters unique. I personally think that this is a good quality of a film, because it kills two birds with one stone. Then again, I can see why the ambiguity could be a bad thing as people may think that truly great directors could make characters unique, without making them physically different. This would mean ambiguity with the colours wouldnt be needed. On the other hand, colour would be less important to the director, compared with him showing that he could make a realistic film because I people world prefer a film that was to their taste, rather than to the tastes of a 16th century audience (after all, fashions do change with time). Because people back then would expect different things from the entertainment industry, the director would have to modernise the film to an extent, to make it more appealing for our generations, but without ruining the historical background from which it came from, to make the film believable. I have already mentioned about how the director had kept an old theme (e.g. with candles and basic camera-angles); but he had to change some things, such as the language used, so that we could understand what was being said on-screen. This is because people who find it hard to decipher text would find it difficult to translate what was being said into everyday English, never mind do it so that they could keep up with the plot at the same time! This is probably why the only character in the first few scenes that spoke old English frequently, was Shakespeare, who in the film was called Will. This was another way in which the film was modernised by making the name, William, relate to its modern equivalent. Although I say this, the director needs to keep some older English in the film, not only to make the film believable, but to also make Shakespeares sonnets feel in place when recited. We frequently saw Shakespeare recite sonnets, particularly if he and Viola were together. For example, Shakespeare recited the world-famous Oh Romeo, Oh Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo? scene with Viola (NOT Juliet) during the film. This wouldnt have looked in place if the scene were acted out in modern English, because such sonnets are renowned for having old English dialogue in them. For example, we dont recite the Oh Romeo scene in modern English, by saying something upon the lines of: Oi, Romeo, where are you? I think the modernisation was needed to suit a general audience, but I would have welcomed more old spoken English. For viewers in countries outside the UK, the lack of old spoken English makes the film a bad example of how our country used to speak. Alternatively, small details were used to make the film look realistic. Sometimes they were barely noticeable, yet they made a difference. They gave us a little extra information, which allowed the actors and scenery to look realistic. Some of these details included: Lighted candles; the use of a quill and ink instead of a pen, with ink stains surrounding the pots and paper; and the use of swords to fight, instead of guns. However, I saw even smaller details that (if noticed by the audience) would give a decent impact as well. These included: People with dirty fingernails, which shows how dirty Elizabethan England affected the population; the words Bought in Stratford-upon-Avon on Shakespeares cup; and the cock-a-doodle-doo sounds made by chickens, which woke up the town (instead of alarm clocks). These small details were good to include, but I cant help feeling that some were too hard to notice, unless you were looking specifically for them (like I was). I think the director shouldnt have included as many small details, and concentrated more on noticeable areas of the film, such as making the film believable by improving props and scenery, so they look like they were from the Elizabethan times not that they didnt look good enough in the film as we saw it. So my point is, perhaps the director should have cut out these smaller details, and concentrate harder on making more noticeable features, which would probably have made for a better film. The details of the film were accurate despite the plot being fictional. The film is allowing us to watch a possible way in which Romeo and Juliet could have been written but not what actually happened. The plot was constructed to resemble the plot in Romeo and Juliet with their feuding families, two star-crossed lovers, and the struggle they had to keep their relationship going. The plots were so similar we even saw cut scenes between the play being acted out, and the real-life plot developing together; possibly the only advanced technique used in the film. This happened mainly when Viola and Shakespeare were together and were passionate, reciting sonnets from Romeo and Juliet. The other place this happened was at the very end of the film, when Shakespeare was still very upset about Viola leaving the country with her husband-to-be. So much so, he wrote his next play, Twelfth night straight after she went. He made Viola the main character in the play, who ironically dresses up as a man, although this time it was her brother, Sebastian. The idea of having a muse for Shakespeare was a good idea, because it shows that Shakespeare also needs inspiration to write his extraordinary plays which would be uplifting for all budding writers, who hope to be able to write as well as him in the future. The ending didnt only do this, but also resembled the beginning of the play. In both, Shakespeare began to write the plays in completely different ways. At the start, Shakespeare didnt have his muse, but at the end he did and the differences between how he wrote them were huge. I remember that at the start, he was practising writing his signature, and that he also pointed to his head a lot (usually saying that he knew what he was going to write). I think that this was because he didnt know exactly who he was, and what his purpose in life was. He is trying to figure out in his head who he was, yet he wasnt definite enough to write it down and know he was right. The signatures probably show this as well; because they all seemed to be different, possibly portraying all the different people he was; trying to choose which one he wanted to live as. When he had discovered who he was, he wrote Twelfth night straight away showing us that his muse (Viola) was essential to the film. To conclude, I will give my overall opinion of the film. I think the film wasnt impeccable, yet it had all the qualities of a good film. It showed us that we dont have to look at physical details to pick every detail up, yet also gives us a variety of ways we can praise the film for its physical appearance. However, I would like to have seen a better link between the Shakespeare/Viola love story, and the Fennyman/Henslowe money problems to create more conflict. I would also liked to have seen more advanced techniques used even if it resembled the period the film was set in, the camera angles seemed to get repetitive after a while. For example, fading could have been used when flicking from a scene in the acted play, and the real-life goings on away from the theatre. This would have made the links between them more obvious, and it would also have told us when these links were intended to stop happening.

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