Recap of Friday

This is a little of what we talked about on Friday that relates to Children of Men.

1) Auteur – as we have discussed Alfonso Cuaron may be a relative newcomer but he is fast establishing his own distinct style. Examples of this can be seen in Children Of Men, most notably in the documentary-style lengthy shots.

2) Cinema Verite – The lengthy shots used in the film undoubtedly incorporate a cinema verite style technique, at times making the film look almost like a documentary. Cinema verite (“truth cinema”) came from a French film movement of the 1960s that showed people in everyday situations with authentic dialogue and naturalness of action. Rather than following the usual technique of shooting sound and pictures together, the film maker first tapes actual conversations, interviews, and opinions. After selecting the best material, he films the visual material to fit the sound, often using a hand-held camera.

3) Patriarchal Society – We discussed that the societies in the dystopias in the texts we studied were patriarchal. Children of Men is set in 2027 and a patriarchal society still seems to exist. Note that the protagonist and hero of the film is a male on a mission to bring a female to safety.

4) Realism – This film isn’t classic sci-fi and certainly differs from Blade Runner. The film doesn’t rely on advanced technology or special effects to hook its audience. No robots, no aliens, no super humans – just a lot of humans at conflict with each other in the future. It is very real!

5) Mise-en-scene – The film is filmed in realistic and harsh settings and conditions. Environmental destruction is nearly always visible in the settings used throughout the film. One of the only places in which we experience peace (at least for a time) is Jasper’s house, set in an isolated wood.

6) Costumes – The clothes worn by the characters are very simple and lack glamour. The clothes give a working class feel to Theo. Despite being set in 2027, fashion does not seem to have changed from the present day. In the camps, the clothes worn by the people are ragged, layered and stress they are poor which adds to the dystopian effect.
7) Lighting – Throughout the film low key lighting is often used, particularly in the the camps. Again, this is to add to the dystopian effect.

8) Ideology – A reoccurring theme of the film is that ‘the future is a thing of the past’. The ideology put across in this statement is that if the societies of the present fail to deal with the problems and issues we are facing now, this will have both disastrous and fatal consequences in the future.

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