Thursday, 1 December 2011

'Let The Right One In' study notes.

'Let The Right One In' study notes.1.  I enjoy horror movies to a great extent because they have a significant affect on me, and I find them interesting - so yes, I would indeed consider myself a horror fan
This identity does not guarantee equal access to various other films around the world,  as subtitles can limit comfort and connection with the film, and the characters presented in them. Personally, I watch films (of any genre) to escape from reality (Blumler & Katz Theory; Diversion) - stress, and all other complications; furthermore, having to read subtitles constantly can suppress this feeling of freedom, as I'm still under some sort of pressure to read the script, and keep up. Secondly, as the audience is of another language/culture/ethnicity to those represented in the film, they cant fully grasp the emotion and tone of their voice when saying specific words with emphasis - as we're only reading passive words. This can jeopardise the emotional connection between the audience and the characters.

2. The trailer that I watched encouraged me as an audience member to watch the film in a cinema, as, on a whole, it came across in a chilling tone. This infers that the movie itself requires a fixed amount of focus and emotional input in order to grasp the movie's full potential - therefore condoning that seeing it in the cinema (a highly closed in/tight atmospheric environment) will ensure this.
Also,  on the a scale of general interest - 'Let The Right One In' represents vampires in a completely different sighting, as opposed to the traditional representation that the audience is already aware of. For example, vampires are supposedly all-evil creatures that cling to life, metaphorically; in that they want to live again. And physically; in that they feed on human blood. This is clearly shown throughout the trailer, but in a more sensitive and prevailed way (she doesn't seem all-evil - she expresses an in depth admiration for the human boy, which separates her from the traditional theory.) Thirdly, the trailer contains elements of other genres, but mixed with a dark signature tone; for example, romance is presented but with a dark and complex twist. All of these features encourage the audience to see it in the cinema, as there is a lot to take on board throughout the film and watching it at home (on DVD/video) wont be as fulfilling/entertaining/grasping/moving as it would in the cinema.

3. The horror conventions that I'm familiar with, consist of -
Shadowy, dark settings - often that juxtapose the initial ending, (example, location/setting - graveyard; connotes death and misery)
Trademark killing/tool used for killing clearly identified, (example, cause of death; strangled, stabbed, cut throat e.c.t. - tool used for killing/maiming; claw, hook, knife e.c.t.) somewhat signiture killing (sense of identity)
Use of dark/black colour schemes, gothic, (example, dark clothing/scenery/lighting e.c.t.)
Victims often background people, not of high importance but still are exposed with a sense of innocence and neutrality.
Blood, vulgar scenes, gory.
A perversion of innocence, whether that be an object, saying, lifestyle, clothing... (for example, a teddy bear, keys, jewelry e.c.t)
Reasonable sense of good and evil, allows the audience to build an idea of the structure and plot of the film - also it leads them to question the characters and their alignment.
Throughout the film, a few of my idea's on the horror convention were shown, however, obviously, through various methods to suit the plot/structure of the film.
For example, the idea of a trademark killing or method of killing was shown - this being that the vampire girl (Eli) leaves all of her victims with the same signiture bite mark on their neck (after she's drunk their blood). Thisseperates her from reality, as any other regular human, would kill with more manifactured tools, such as a knife/gun.
Also, throughout the film, the use of dark, or black saturated colour schemes were frequently used, as Eli could only come out at night as not to risk exposure of the sun (results in horiffic death) - therefore, mainly, the film is frequently enshrouded in darkness (night).
The use of the Rubix Cube, could relate to my idea of perversion of innocence as its a symbol of reality and childish interests - which brings us back to fact that the main characters are children (children infer innocence, life and neutrality) but given their contrasting circumstances, that innocence is shadowed. This is generated by two situations, the first; the innocence of children isn't shown through act's of bullying that Oskar tolerates. The second, mainly, being that Eli, a young child herself, is playing the role of a vampire (evil).
Different approaches are shown in the film, such as the uncertainty of good and evil - this was perhaps purposeful as to lead the audience through twists and turns of the plot. Also, it could be for the audience tomake their own assumptions of the characters; this allows them to make their own judgement on the structure, which engages the audience to take part.

4. The sense of Eli and Oskar being 'outsiders' visually is shown through a scene where the audience is looking through both Eli's bedroom window and Oskar's (split scene intention, but windows are close enough to get in the same shot.) In this scene, the windows could be visual metaphors for their lives, and how they feel closed in and somewhat iscolated from everyone else, also - it can make the audience feel like they're looking past the fake image that society enforces on them, and focuses on who they really are as individuals. Eli's window is blurred out, and she is heard arguing with her father, darks shadows infer movement behind the window. The fact that Eli's window is blurred could connote her secret is a blurring factor which makes you see her in a different way to anyone else, also - it could suggest that she, as a character, is undefined and confused. Oskar's window however is clear, which could represent his innocence and purity, secondly it could suggest that he (compared to Eli) is a less complex charactor with no extreme secrets that would change the way you see him. Oskar is listening to Eli and her father arguing on the other side of the wall, which suggests his genuine interest in Eli and her personal life. However, the wall beween them could represent how their contrasting fates can seperate them. Mise-en-scene also contributes to their label 'outsiders' as they both wear generally dark clothing, and at times are seen with barely any clothing - this gives them an animalistic approach.
Another thing that seperates them from society, would be the way that they communicate; with Oskar creating a new language for them to use (knocking on the wall - code) this is a strange way of communication, especially in this day and age - and it definiely seperates them from society. I think this was Oskar's intention (being different) because he knows full well himself that they, even as individuals are 'outsiders' - and that they couldcreate a whole new world of their own to escape to.
Also, I picked up on the fact that Eli and Oskar reguarly meet in the courtyard at night to talk and hang around together. The buildings/houses surrounding the courtyard could represent who they should be, their expectations of society and the fake identities that they make to conform to it. The courtyard, being particularly set in the centre of the buildings could symbolise their inner feelings (heart/centre) which gives an irony to the film, that the situation involves a lot of blood; and the visual metaphor being a heart (centre) is a muscle in the body that pumps blood.

5. My response of the characters in 'Let The Right One In' is different for each one, because the elements of their personality/charactoristic/profile all say different things. I find Eli quite a disappointment to watch, because I couldnt really fully understand her or what she was feeling. Perhaps this was the intention of the director, to extend the iscolation of Eli and how she is of another kind that we (even as a human audience) cant understand. I feel that even in intense situations, she lacks even the simple emotions of empathy, this could be part of her characteristic, or her nature as a vampire.
Nevertheless, it brings a fresh perspective the updated representation of vampires, as she faces modern reality like a normal human, but with the pressure of being a vampire weighing up on her.
Another charactor, one that I felt a strong connection with, was Oskar, and this was mainly because hisemotional seperation with his family; and I'm sure the majority of the audience can relate to. Also, the elements of his bullying are of such an extremity - that his tolerance with his surroundings, and the emotional neglect from his family (not realising something was wrong with him) was easy to deal with. His insecurities result in an anti-social behaviour, we see him stabbing a tree with a knife, pretending it was someone. This is obviously his way of satisfying his revenge mentally - but his desire to fight back physically is foreshadowed in the film, and with the help and encouragement of Eli - he seems at a level, to be quite dangerous because he has so much anger built inside him - that morality wouldnt phase him. I think, even as a horror movie - it educates the audience into believing that violence isnt always the answer and having a close friend to open up to is key. This is a very sensitive subject to touch upon, and I think the movie does it quite well; and as a result the audience feels a sense of reliability with the characters in the film (overall, better audience feedback.)

6. One particular aspect of the narrative would be how we, as a generation are represented in this piece of media. For example, in a movie where the main source of evil was originally meant to be generated by the fact that Eli was a vampire who killed innocent people; society is reflected back to us - and the audacity that we have to critisise other evils, when we're generating evil ourself. For example, an extremity of bullying that could easily lead to other distasters, like suicide as a result. I think the director was careful to chose what environment Eli and Oskar would be shown in, because if he chose a completely good and safe society, then the evil that he created himself (vampire) would look even worse, but to then blend her in with the reality of society; would then give Eli a less judgemental view.
Also, another evil would be the way that the background families treat eachother, for example, when the woman goes to comfort her husband on the death of his bestfriend, she is neglected and cast away from him. This gives the audience a clear pointer of who in society is the most dominating, and according to this aspect; themen are the more dominant.
Taking away the fact that Eli is a vampire, without her, Oskar would most likely be either seriously hurt/tormented or dead. When the main ringleader of the bullying cult persuades his older and more ferocious brother to intervene - Oskar (without Eli's aid) would be drowned and dead. This source of evil is reflected from society, and how we seem to overlook serious issues that occur even today. The media seems to mirror this image, and shows it to us; perhaps to inform us, or remind us of the evil that surrounds us even today.

7. Eli and Oskar's relationship does seem unusual, especially in such a complex situation - yet I can see how the relationship could still remain even if Eli was human. One of my versions would be that in the society of mainly German people, a Jewish family (Eli and her father) moved into the area, and were being suspected of crimes that they didnt commit. This would cause a strain on Eli and Oskar's relationship as Eli would be cast out of society because of her religion/faith.
Another idea of mine, would have to change the date of the movie by a considerable amount, as Eli and Oskar's realtionship could be an unusual one if they were at war, and the women (in general) wernt as dominant as men, therefore their opinions/feelings were cast out and ignored. This would mean that Eli's attention for Oskar (and his attention in return) would be an unusual one, given the circumstances - and instead of Eli being physically strong, and Oskar being weak - it could all be shifted into a mental state. So, Eli is mentally stronger than Oskar who is less intelligent.

8. Personally, I feel that the director grasped the concept that vampires remain very domestic, and used it to the advantage of the film, for example, when Eli and Oskar create their own language through knocking on the wall between them (in code)

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