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The main shot sizes of this scene in the movie are close-up shot and long shot. As this scene is about the emotional conflict between different characters, lots of close up shot size were frequently used to show the changes of characters’ facial expressions. This scene starts with a close up shot to show Mimi’s face which conveys the fact that he is extremely upset.
Above all, after he walks toward his wife, he is in the dilemma of upholding his honor. At this point, the close up shot which shows his facial expression changing from angry to crying is a definite example why close up shots were used in this quarrel scene. In addition, during the time when the characters are talking, this shot size is matched with shot reverse shot. Another main shot size is the long shot to show characters’ action.
During the quarrel, Mimi’s actions are vehement and drastic. Therefore, this kind of shot size is required to show all his assault and battery to his wife and her reaction.
Whereas shallow focus is used in close up shots to exaggerate the characters face, deep focus is used in long shot to provide wide and overall view of the action and surroundings. Besides the depth of field, the camera position or characters’ position is also important. When Mimi’s wife agrees with him saying that she has dishonored him and deserves to die, Mimi is standing and suffering from the dilemma between his affair and her affair.
As he is standing in front of the camera and the high angle is used, the audience can focus on Mimi’s action and facial expression more than his wife who is sitting down with her head hanging down.
On the other hand, camera angle is also important to make the narrative clearly and dramatically. Overall, when the camera shoots Mimi, the low angle is used to make him look stronger and dominant, but the reverse is true for his wife. Not only in this scene but also in the whole movie, Italian masculinity is an overriding atmosphere. In particular, when Mimi is trying to strangle and urge her to tell him the story, the camera shoots him through an extremely high angle. These different camera angles tell us the relationship of the upper and lower positions between Mimi and his wife, Rosalia. When they are talking about the story of Rosalia’s affair, the camera shoots reverse shot. However, when Mimi confesses his affair with Fiore to prove that he is not a fag and impotent, the camera shoots only Mimi’s face and does not show the wife’s reaction. This shot makes the knife strike and her anger unexpected and a surprise. As a consequence, the conflict becomes maximized at the next shot which Rosalia is trying to kill Mimi.
2. Sound track
The extract begins with the noise of people who try to make him stop. This noise stopped slowly when Mimi is walking toward Rosalia. After the noise stopped, there is no noise or background music. Only Rosalia’s weeping and Mimi’s snarling are able to be heard. In fact, the weeping crosses over to noise from the people. The noise is getting quieter, but the weeping is getting louder. The silence is broken by Mimi’s shout and the loud noise of an engineering tool being thrown. Interestingly, although the noise of the people can be heard while they are talking, this disappears after the door is closed and not able to be heard by the characters and audience as well until their conversation is finished and the action is shown. This kind of silence often appears because the following conversation is very serious and important to construct the narrative. Therefore, it is possible to say that this silence encourages the audience to concentrate on the character’s conversation.
Some digetic sounds are exaggerated thorough putting non- digetic sounds together. For example, when Mimi slaps Rosalia’s cheek, the supplementary non – digetic sound is added to the slapping sound. As a consequence, the sound of slapping becomes much louder and gives the audience more emotional effect. Above all, when the knife is flying through the air and sticks into the wood, the sound can not be heard in the real world. This is actually the non – digetic sound as well. However, interestingly, this is more realistic and actual sound than real sound. The change of the digetic sound to non – digetic sound via adding effective sound can emphasize the reaction which is followed by hearing the sound.
The most important sound in this extract is the orchestral background music which starts just after the knife strikes. Rosalia’s shout and holding a knife is shown with the music. This magnificent music is a bit fast and waved. That kind of tempo and atmosphere is quite enough to match with the fight of the last shot. The volume of music goes up and it is maximized when they fight violently. This is because the fight is the most berserk and the explosive climax of the conflict between Mimi and Rosalia. In other words, this climax of the extract is reinforced by the effect of the musical score and, as a consequence, the audience can be tense. This is a good example how the sound supplies the impact of the visual narrative.
The extract is finished when the noise of the people outside is appeared again little by little under the background music. That is, the extract is started and finished with the same noise which is digetic sound. It shows that not only the camera work or editing but also sound including music can provide consistency to the film.
The periodic background of this film is in the 1970’s when most Italian male workers move to the North of Italy from the South to get better income and workers’ rights. This pattern of industrial culture results in the tragedy in the family such as infidelity to the spouse because of the separation from the family. Not only this but also social disorganization, for example the violence of Mafia, is rose according to political conflicts between communism and capitalism or consumerism. The Trade Union was very strong at this stage in Italy and if somebody is not joined in Trade Union or a communist party, he or she can be alienated amongst workers.
In addition, the extension of women’s rights was increasing in this period. As most male workers moved to the north, there were many opportunities to get a job and earn money for women in the South. The worldwide tendency of women’s participation in social movement also influenced Italian women to change their thinking. Women in this period tried to discuss and solve the sensitive issues like abortion, sex or divorce. Therefore, in this movie, Rosalia is changed like other women. Rosalia obtained a job, changed her external shape such as hair style and learnt to drive. She is also dissatisfied with having sex with Mimi because he is impotent. These factors lead to her having the affair with Finocchiaro.
However, the interesting progress in this scene is that Rosalia confesses her affair and she says she is bad and he is right. Because of her saying, Mimi is caught in the dilemma of upholding his honor between him feeling guilty about the affair with Fiore and the fury because of Rosalia’s affair. Even though Rosalia is changed physically, she is still a house wife in a patriarchal society and beaten by her husband. It is possible to say that this situation represents the anomie of traditional value versus changing attitudes in modern Italy. (At the beginning of this film, the scene which she washed the legs of her husband shows us how Italy was a serious patriarchal society). Through the quarrel, Mimi can look back at his life and realize the sense of futility and the fact that working in the North was not the way. This depicts the modern society as a destructive period of essential humanity and depersonalization.
He meets many people in the movie and there are many relationships with him. However, as can be seen at the end of the film, he is alone and foreign to others. The modernization encourages the disintegration and makes people individualistic. After all, Mimi is a lonely and an alienated victim of the modern society.