Friday, 4 December 2009

Touch of Evil Opening Scene Analysis

The opening scene of Touch of Evil directed by Orson Welles (1958)

1) Discuss how the cinematography contributes to the telling of the story and the build up of suspense

In the introduction of the scene, there is a immediate close up shot of the bomb device. Following this close up, the scene progresses, as the use of the crane shot seems to progress and follow the action in the particular frame of the scene. The cinematography seems to be varied in terms of camera movement and camera angles, giving the sense of suspense within the scene.

The use of a close up shot of a person setting the bomb could connote how something tragic is about to happen and gives an insight into the expectations of the narrative as a whole. After the activation, the use of a tracking shot is evident, as the camera seems to follow the assassin planting the bomb in the car boot, which could be an enigma code, as the audience could wonder why the assassin is planting the bomb and who he intends to assassinate.

Although he is the villain, the audience are encouraged to identify with him in the form of tracking shots, as we are seemingly following him and realise his motives and intentions, ie setting a bomb, planting it in a car boot. Shortly after this, a crane shot is used to show how the car is significant in the result of the scene.

Immediately, the scene cuts to an establishing shot of the town, the use of a high angle shot is used to show how other charters are unaware of what is about to happen, normality is conveyed here. By using these shots, we are encouraged to identify with the villian, as we are seemingly observing the plan in action.

The use of long shots and medium shots are used to show how the car is being positioned intentionally in a public place within the town, in order to target the people to which the bomb was intended for.

Interestingly, the use of the main subject matter of the car, seems to be left out of view and is zoomed out. To a certain extent, enigma is created, however the audience seem to AS Level Media Studies Blogacknowledge the fact that the car is going to be significant, and could know the consequences and result of the narrative, the car will explode, killing the targeted people and will create a spectacle.

2)Consider how the cinematography and the music and sound work together

The use of contrapuntal sound seems to be playing over the beginning scene, which seems to show the audience that the bomb is about to be set. The use of a close up shot is apparent, as the main focus is on the bomb which is iconic in the scene.Whats more, the use of a sound bridge , seems to move the scenes forward, as the scene moves to a different setting which is a busy, lively town, and use of a medium shot immediately cuts to a laughing couple .

At the beginning of the scene, there is use of non digetic sound and normal parallel sound of ticking noises coming from the bomb, excitedly the music seems to slowly rise in tempo, which could signifies how the assassin is joyfully anticipating destruction, to an extent the audience could identify with him, as we share the assassin's mood of sadistic violence, which could arouse certain pleasures from the audience.

However, there is a shift in music , when the couple get into the car, a more lively jazz music plays, this seems to pacify the scene and seems to cut the tension, from the more tense drum sounds. This music could connote a sense of irony, as the couple are unaware of the bomb in the car boot, and are not expecting a bomb to explode. The music could act as the disequilibrium, as it defecates the lively jazz music, and could connote trouble and tragedy.

The use of a crane shot follows the car as it leads away with the couple in the car. The use of digetic sounds of the crowd and police officers seems to distract the jazz music and action that is about to take place, cleverly, Welles seems to cut out the car out of the scene, in order to not capture the visual wreckage of the car, which could have harmful effects on the audience and could result in catharsis from the audience. To an extent, Welles also raises certian enigma codes from this, as the audience wonder whether the couple are still alive or not.

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