How to analysis scenes in films?

In lesson, we have watched two short clips of two films, ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Last Samurai’ and we have talked about what we think about the scenes before watching the whole film and how to analyse a film or a scene. On below are the questions that we need to consider when analyzing a film.

  • What is this scene about?
  • After watching this scene, what do I understand about the characters thoughts and emotions?
  • How did the scene makes me feel?

After you understand what information and mood the scene conveyed, you can then try to figure out how cinematic tools and techniques were used to communicate and explain the meanings of the scene. You may watch the scene several times as you may not get the meanings of the scene in the first time you watch it. There are questions on below which helps to analysis the scene/ film more precisely. 

  • Be aware that you may be blind to a movie’s political, cultural and ideological meaning, especially if the meaning strengthen the ideas and values you already hold.
  • The more you awareness of your own belief system and those you share with your culture in general, the easier you can recognise and interpret a movie’s reserved meaning. 
  • Does your expectations shaped your reactions to this movie? Had you watched the movie before? watched the trailer? Heard of the movie before from others or read about it in the media?
  • Did you previous experience of the Director or star’s style of making films which inform what you will expect from the film?
  • Did you understand the meaning of the movie? Did the movie fulfill, disappoint or confound your expectations?
The movie title:

The movie title may sometimes hints to you what the movie is about and so it is very important to consider and pay attention on the title of the movie as well. Before and after you see a movie, you can think about if the title gives you direct meaning and influence to the movie. Is it specific to something, or is it a metaphor for other things?

On below are two analyses of two films, ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Last Samurai’. I haven’t watched the films before and by watching one of the scenes from each film in lesson, I have written what I think about the scene and also what I think the scene is about. 

Blade runner

After watching this scene from ‘Blade Runner’, I understand it is about a tryst between two lovers. The colors of the lighting constructs with cool tones like the colour of greyish, neutral tones. The female character’s style is a 1940’s pinup look and she was dressing in grey color. I think the color of the costume matches the tones and the lighting of the scenes. Her costume also has broad shoulder cutting and tight in the waist which maybe shows more the curve of her body and helps to show her character being sexy and feminine. The background music is created by saxophone and piano and it creates a mysterious mood. At the beginning, the slow jazz music creates a gloomy mood while the female character look confuse when she is looking at some old photos. The old photo that she was looking at is taken from post Victorian era as you can see the style of the photographs, but I am not sure when the timing of this scene was set as it could be anytime because of the way the characters are dressing. Then, she starts to play the piano and it sounds soft and high pitched. The jazz music didn’t stopped when she was playing the piano and I think it is a bit strange with the combination. This maybe a reason the director wants to show us that the female character not sure about a decision or maybe is her feelings towards the male character in the scene as after the piano, the scene is focusing on the male character. The scene is shot in close up when the female character take her styled hair down and the hairstyle turn into a 80’s curly hairstyle. It makes the hair look a bit messy which maybe used to show her inner feelings that she was confused or show the feminine side of her character. Also I think the red nails also want to present the idea of her being feminine as well. 

When the two characters was talking to each other, the female character was unsure that if she could play the piano, but she was playing the piano in the earlier scene. This maybe used to symbolise something must has happened to her character for example lost her memories, etc. But later on in the clip, she said to the male character that she is not sure if the memories of playing the piano belongs to her or not or is someone else memories which makes the scene more clear.

When the male character tried to kiss her on the lips, she turned around and walked away and tried to leave the room, but the male character stopped her from letting her go. When he pushes her against the wall, the music changes and it started to get louder. This method maybe used by the director to show tension within the scene. As the scene goes on, the lighting become more sharper than before and I think it is a way of showing and supporting the climax of the scene. Back to the scene, when the male character kissed her on the lips, the music changes back to normal. Also, this time she didn’t reject him for kissing her so I think the female character also loves him but maybe something happened to both characters and she just don’t know what to do. But at the end, she said ‘I want you’ which means that she has confirmed her feeling towards the male character and she is not fear anymore to love him. I particularly like the scene where there are lights coming through the slatted blinds and it gives a mystery effects and also I think is a contrast scene compare to the beginning of the clip (how the plot changes). The way and the tone that the male character speaks is a bit hoarsed which maybe shows mysteries effect. The costume of the male character is just a simple shirt which I’m not sure when the film is set through looking at his costume. 

The Last Samurai

After we have talked about the film ‘Blade Runner’, we then move on to analyse another clip which is a short clip from ‘The Last Samurai’ in 2003. The scene is shown in soft tones and colors in lighting and it helps to create the atmosphere, shows emotions and romantic feeling within the film. The background music is created by flutes and string instruments and it creates a romantic, gentle but also a bit sad as well. The music also links to the female character as she looks sad and maybe is because she was worried and afraid to lose the male character as in this scene, she was helping him to dress the traditional Japanese war robes, so I think she afraid to lose him in the battle. During this scene, she sometimes avoid eye contact with him and maybe is because the class division between them or an amendable behavior because he might be in high status in the battle. The male character looks calm from the beginning till the end and I think is because maybe the director wants to focus on more the emotional feelings on the female character in this scene. They kiss each other once in the scene and it shows the romantic feeling in a gentle and innocent way. 

Compare with ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘Blade Runner’ ‘s love scene is more aggressively affectionate. 

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