Thursday, 20 October 2011

Year 12 Textual Analysis - State of Play

AS Media Studies

Read through the sample analysis as evidence of good practice. You will notice that analysis is good, however there is a lack of attention on representation of race. This is an essential aspect of your analysis and you must ensure that you repeatedly reread the question to check the focus for your answer.

• Circle / highlight what you consider to be subject specific language – what proportion of this essay uses media language appropriately?
• Comment on the strengths of this analysis – to what extent is it really evaluative
• How could you further embed analysis on representation of ethnicity – remember your focus shouldn’t just be on the black youth BUT the other characters AND you can be brave enough to only select THE MOST relevant sections of the extract.
• TASK – redraft this essay making all the necessary improvements

Essay title:
How are representations of ethnicity established through the following technical codes: mise en scene, camera shot, angle, movement and position (cinematography), sound and editing.

In exploring the technical codes we can see that mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound and editing is used exhaustively throughout the sequence to immediately establish genre and attract immediate interest. In particular the use of costume, props, setting, and lighting reinforces the contrast of the three separate narratives (stories) that appear to be connected. As a result the opening sequence deliberately does not make sense so the audience is pulled into watching more.

In the first narrative we see through mise-en-scene of lighting and setting that the location for each narrative is daytime, innercity London. The opening shot features a tracking shot, possibly using steadycam, as the audience are positioned in the middle of a frantic chase between two unknown characters. The deliberate cinematography focusing only on their feet and legs immediately creates intrigue. Through a series of mid shots and close ups the main character is revealed to be a black youth who is dressed in a hoodie, jeans and he wears an earring; this is arguably a stereotypical representation of a black youth, particularly as he seems to be in trouble..He is being chased by an assassin who is dressed in dark, formal clothing, (arguably anti hero characters are often dressed using a dark palette), however this assassin is also smartly dressed which connotates he is a professional. The use of handheld camera and tracking shots places the audience in the centre of the action and a series of short cuts increases the pace of the editing to create excitement. At the point when the black youth is hiding from his assassin the pace of the editing slows dramatically as the audience waits on tenterhooks until the climax of the murder conveyed through a dramatic point of view shot. A combination of diegetic sound, for example heavy breathing from the youth to connotate a lengthy chase, and non diegetic sound through ambient music- (arguably tribal music is played during the chase sequence to further represent his black identity)- ensures the opening sequence makes full use of the technical codes to excite the audience.

In sharp contrast the second narrative introduces a dramatically different character: a white, male middle aged and of high social status. His clothing immediately symbolises his superior status as he wears a shirt, tie and expensive suit. With reference to props he is reading a Financial Times which is indicative that he has a professional occupation. Through the mise en scene of gesture he has a serious disposition and the dimmed lighting and surroundings indicate that he is on the tube, possibly on his way to work in the city. Most of the cinematography focussing on this character features a series of mid and long shots so that the audience can pick up clues through clothing and gestures.

The third narrative introduces another contrast; a young girl aged approximately twelve who is waiting in a café with an essential prop central to the narrative: a black plastic bag disguising a silver brief case. A mid shot pans down to a close up of the bag to reinforce the significance of this prop to the narrative. The director uses mise en scene to reflect the passage of time as we see within the frame that the girl has had time to consume three cans of coke. Through gesture and a series of returning mid shots and close ups, the girl is directed to appear nervous and anxious through body language and facial expression.

All three narratives combine to embed conventions of the thriller / conspiracy genrepresent the audience with a series of questions: why are these three disparate (different )characters connected? Why was the black youth assassinated? What is in the bag?

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