Elephant

Elephant has to be one of the slowest paced movies I’ve ever watched. There is little dialogue and much of the film is just following of the characters. It is somewhat random to a first viewer and hard to understand. In the midst of all this though, elephant presents a rather realistic story of a gun shooting in an American high school and what brings these sort of people to do so.

A lot of the camera time is focused on the characters, leaving everything but the main character in the shot out of focus or blurry. The composition is fairly good but in the sense of the rule of thirds most of the time the character is in the middle of the shot but usually eyes or other parts lie on the four points.

The light and colour in the film seems to be grainier or dull adding to the theme of the movie. Bright lighting and colours would probably not work with this film. At the school when they are shooting in the hall ways and corridors you get that nice beaming white light at the end of the hallway as the actor is walking to it and the light drifts down towards the actor giving a nice artistic shot. You can see though that they have basically used what lighting that was already available using natural light etc. It does not seem to have much artificial light.

The soundtrack of the money of what little there is adds to the feel and emotional side of the film with that soft drum and flute (it’s that eerie sound) when they walk through the corridors. Also when the main shooter is at home he plays the piano and this music describes the way he feels about the people and world around him suggesting sadness, sorrow and anger.

On top of this, a lot of the dialogue and background noise included in the movie not only comes from what you see on screen but off-screen as well. Most of the time, you can hear other conversations, outdoor noises, machinery in the kitchen and a variety of other types of sounds. For this to happen they would probably using boom microphones for main dialogue and then adding extra sounds recorded off screen to the finished movie. The Foley work in the film as well is quite good because they help to push the movie along with sounds of objects and actors walking through hallways.

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