Tuesday 22 August 17
1) Scene 1: Assassination of General Aung San Rangoon 1947
What is taking place in the opening of this scene?
- driving into the gates of an official building with a decorated gate
- Two escorting guards entrust the job of watching the door to a military general
- close up on the back of aung son with light coming through
- Military members meet up
- Wrap scarves around their necks
- Men look around to see if anyone is looking
- Guard on the door walks away as he is approached
- General aung son keeps calm turns around to face the military rebels
What do you see? (visual techniques)
- Red star on the guards post when entering the building as a sign of communism Also symbol of star on the gate for the building
- close up on a man who is looking round to check if the halls are clear
- three men join forces “Coincidentally” in the hall
- Mid shot of three men dressing up with their communist red scarves
- Wide angle when general enters room t capture him greeting everyone, he walks in and takes off his hat to show that they are all equal and that he respects them as much as he wants them to respect him.
- Party are drinking tea together in red cups WHAT DOES THIS SYMBOLIZE
- Mid shot at general Showing the British/american flag in the background with the peacock to symbolize the two coming together.
- Generalsteps round and he is directly infront of the spears from the past worriors of burma WHAT DOES THIS SYMBOLIZE
- Closeup of everyone panicing except Aung san
- Mid shot of The general remaining calm as the gun is held on him
- Mid shot of the gun weilder looking angry walking shamelessly up to the General preparing to kill him (blinded by what he thinks is right)
- slow motion effects to allow for assessment of the scene and build up in tension
- eye of god view of the dead body’s (Symbolism of communism showing people giving blood for the good of society, this sacrifice had to be made for the good of the people)
- Man shoots General Aung San another 5 times just to show that he is superior and to execute his hatred for the general further.
- Rapid change in scene with every gunshot to display luc besson’s auteur style NAME STYLE
- the room is light with lots of sun
- the walls are green to show that the army is present
What do you hear? (verbal techniques)
- aery sound showing something is wrong
- music fades in from when The rogue military assassin begins walking and gets increasingly louder as he walks up the stairs and approaches the board room
- Whiplash is sounded among intense music so as to show how the communists still have control and will oppress those who do not follow them and their leader.
- Three shot of Men with different army uniforms meet up to perform the assassination suggesting that the corruption moves throughout the ranks.
- Pan flute is sounded just as the gun is pointed of General Aung than is gone as he is shot
- Non diegetic pan flute takes presense, No sound but the flute as the slow motion shot takes place
- Calm pan flute is sounded at the end of the scene to show that it is done and it can’t be changed WHAT DOES PAN SYMBOLIZE
- Long periods with no talking, just visual techniques and non diegetic sounds – This reflecting the luc besson auteur style
2) Scene 2: Aung San Suu Kyi is confronted by the military at an NLFD rally.
Luc Besson- Auteur’s style:
“The auteur theory…holds that the director, who oversees all audio and visual elements of the motion picture, is more to be considered the “author” of the movie than is the writer of the screenplay. In other words, such fundamental visual elements as camera placement, blocking, lighting, and scene length, rather than plot line, convey the message of the film. Supporters of the auteur theory further contend that the most successful cinematic films will bear the unmistakable personal stamp of the director.”
Cinéma du look was a French film movement of the 1980s. It classified, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Leos Carax as directors of “le look.” “These directors were said to favor style over substance, spectacle over narrative. It referred to films that had a slick, gorgeous visual style.”
Luc Besson’s Auteur style
Author and film critic, Stuart Fernie has identified the following characteristics across Luc Besson’s film-making.
- The principal/main characters in Luc Besson’s films often are “loners or outcasts from society.” Outsiders.
- They do not fit easily into the conformist (accepted or established way of doing things) society that is the experience of the majority of citizens
- Principal/main characters (in spite of appearances) often show “integrity” in their corrupt world.
- Actions of principal/main characters are extreme because they want to bring “greater clarity” to their environment.
- The principal/main character is a direct contrast to the dysfunctional authorities in their environment.
- The personal experience of principal/main characters and their growth in their environment is explored in depth.
- Those in authority are “portrayed as ruthless but dedicated to their task.” “They have complete blind faith in the sanctity of their mission
- Authorities are often dysfunctional and ineffective; go through the same motions every day “knowing that they make little real difference to society and its problems.”
- At worst, the “authorities are often young, mindless, and over-confident” believing that they are doing good and “playing the part of the protectors of society.”
- Principal characters appear to develop and grow, the societies in which they evolve appear to deteriorate and decay (morally).
- Settings are extreme and outside the experience of most.
- The settings presented are often “dark and uncertain places where conventional views of what is right and wrong are challenged” and indeed principal characters (in spite of appearances) show any real “integrity”
- Settings are extreme
- The viewer is often led below the surface of society to see a more distasteful reality.
- Conflict between principal characters and the world in which they live.
- Doesn’t always provide answers
- Personal growth and development
- Love promotes personal growth and discovery of one’s true self
- Questions a society’s morality
- The nature and importance of freedom
- Existentialism (we choose who we want to become)
Scene Analysis 3.9 “The Lady”
The first scene is set in Rangoon 1947, the capital city of Burma. in this scene we witness the assassination of General Aung San and six of his cabinet members in the secretariat building, April 1947, his AFPFL party won 196 of 202 seats. Though communists had denounced him as a “tool of British imperialism,” he supported a resolution for Burmese independence outside the British Commonwealth, even though Burma was still under British rule at the time. On July 19, the prime minister General Aung San and the six colleagues, including his brother, were shot at point blank by three rouge communist rebels in the council chamber while the executive council was in session. it was not shown in the film but was later reported that his political rival U-saw (a communist running for General) was later executed for his part in the killings of these men. The assassination was planned and executed by the communist supporters of U-Saw and his party to try and eliminate the democratic and independent system that General Aung San was leading the country toward. The communists did not want to have Burma grow into a country that was open to the world and developed to take part in international trading or other international growth and so this scene perfectly displays how the corruption within a system can very easily become its downfall or specifically, How the radical actions of three men shaped the next 26 years (The rule of general U Ne Win, the dictator to take office after the death of Aung San) of Burma.
Luc Besson The director of “The Lady” is known for creating films by the Auteur style known as the “Cinema du look”. “Cinéma du look” was a French film movement of the 1980’s, first analysed by a French critic named Raphael Basson in which he classified Luc Besson, Jean Jacques Beineix and Leos Carax as directors of “Le look”. These directors were said to favor “style over substance” and “spectacle over narrative”. It referred to films that had a “slick, gorgeous visual style” and a focus on usually young, alienated characters. This is most definitely represented throughout “The Lady”, Luc Besson uses a range of many visual, oral and symbolical film techniques to provide deeper meanings to a particular scene or action then just what words and actions can provide alone.
One of the re occurring film techniques that was used throughout this scene was the use of various symbols to show how communism was the corruption standing within the system, The first time that we see Communism come forward in the form of a symbol is when the three assassins join forces in the hallway. This section of the scene can be described as a Three man mid shot, it includes the three men just after they have suspiciously came together and are approaching the council chamber at the top of the stairs. The three men can be seen simultaneously wrapping red scarves around their necks while they walk down the hall, The red scarf is a Neckerchief the likes of witch were worn by Young Pioneers of several countries during the socialist (“communist”) era. In the Soviet Union, in China, in Cuba, in Hungary of course in Burma and many other countries. Blue scarves were also used by children before coming of age to wear the red one, and are still seen in some countries today. Throughout Asia it is said that that the red of the scarf comes from the blood sacrificed by martyrs of the Revolution/ Push for communist rule, and that all members should therefore wear the scarf with reverence. This symbol is therefore incredibly traditional and shows us that not only are the men completely dedicated to the cause but it shows us that they themselves are more then happy to become “Martyrs of the cause” by carrying out the act of murder on someone simply for opposing their way of leadership. The symbol has a clear powerful meaning expressing their status and position as communists, It also justifies the stern look of pure determination to complete their mission regardless of what it is.
In relation to this scene we see two of the many film techniques used by luc besson, these techniques along with many more were analyzed by Film critic Stuart Fernie as being “Characteristics of Luc bessons Auteur style”. The first is in relation to the characters setting, it is said that in some settings “The viewer is often led below the surface of society to see a more distasteful reality”. and i feel this is exactly what this scene portrays to the viewers, the lead up to this scene has been peaceful and shows us how the nature of Democracy is growing in the country of Burma. The lighting through this scene is always bright to seem happy the non diegetic sounds have been peaceful and calm and even the instant before we meet the first assassin we see General Aung San walk into a room of colleagues and welcome them all with smiles and they begin to toast. The lead up to the scene shows direct contrast to the shot we are looking at, the lighting is dark and we can understand the symbolism of the neckerchief, on top of this we can also see by the facial expressions looking shifty and serious that these people mean business. in this case the scenes of General Aung San are the surface of society where everything originally appears functional but as is crafted by Luc Besson we are taken into the depths below the surface to literally watch the corruption grow and form to take on the system at hand. we are witnesses to the distasteful reality of the society in which these people live in the frames to come but can see the events unfolding as a result of this singular frame.
The second time we can see luc besson display the presence of communism is when we have the standoff between the assassin (whom seems to bee the leader) and general Aung San. The shot is a mid shot of the man holding a pistol up to the generals face, it captures him with a face of disgust and anger as he stares at the general shortly before the execution. The man holding the pistol in this scene becomes the symbol, this is so because in this case we can see his anger and his disgust, his disapproval and genuine hatred but what is it for? This man has no reason to hate the General other then the fact that he has been told to, From most likely a young age these men were indoctrinated and told that democracy was weakness and that communism was the only way to lead. As a result of the indoctrination and the one sided arguments these men grow to the point where they are no longer conscious individuals but they are puppets, a mere vessel standing as the living embodiment of Communism. They are fulled by nothing other then commands and blind support for their dictator whom as we can see in this scene after zombifying the men uses them to carry out his bidding. Behavior such as this shows how corruption spreads in the form of communism, the uniform our assassin wears for example suggests that he is a military member and even though he is on guard within the building earlier in the scene communism has clearly spread through the ranks of the security meaning that is it secure at all? corruption in the form of communism has broken up the ranks and managed to divide these people radically in the workplace to the point where they plot against their elected, innocent leader. the nature of communism is clear with every action, the gun to the generals face, the fact that he is so sure of himself even the fact that their is no choice involved no request for him to step down it is instantly taken to the extremes showing that the puppets will act as commanded always and that communism has them completely won over.
Luc besson has regularly occurring behavioral traits which can be seen in some of the characters throughout his films. two of these that apply to the frame analyzed above are the idea that those in authority are “portrayed as ruthless but dedicated to their task.” and “They have complete blind faith in the sanctity of their mission”. along with this we see the exact worst case where it is also seen the “authorities are often young, mindless, and over-confident” believing that they are doing good and “playing the part of the protectors of society.” The two of these character representations could not fit the description of this frame any better, at hand we have a young man holding a pistol to the forehead of the current standing (at the time) General of Burma, as was said in the review of this frame i believe this shows how he is acting as a vessel for communism to operate through, this relates perfectly to them being ruthless and having complete blind faith in the mission. Communists as i have said are more then prepared to become martyrs for the cause they represent and so of course they have complete blind faith, the most you can give to a cause is your life. On top of this, of course this man is portrayed as ruthless he looks angry determined and is not phased in any sense (That we can see) by the fact that he is about to murder not just a man but the leader of a system which represents equality among its people and ideally peace also. The man is a young leader of the group and i am sure that he is acting with the belief that he is doing what is best for society, communist leaders are extremely against change from the one path and can not take any irregular turns or they risk loosing the power they have over the people, this tells us that because the men have been ordered to do this it is U Saws best attempt to eliminate the growing threat to his system. Luc besson did an extremely good job at using this scene to show us how communists act out on radical ideas to keep themselves safe, The growth of communism is all a communist leader cares about maintaining power any way possible and suppressing people so those who threaten the system are quickly eliminated. Change as we can see is not accepted and there appears to be no second chances teaching us the importance of having level headed leaders and a supportive contemporary leadership style as opposed to the traditional way to lead.
a final example of how communism was seen in the form of a symbol is the final shot in the scene. The shot can be described as a Birds eye view, wide angle shot over the room after the three assassins had slaughtered the general and other council members. the three men at this stage had left the room and captured in the image was the scene of the murder showing each of the dead bodies lying on the floor together, there is blood exposed from the gunshot wounds and also the room is a mess as a result of panic and impact damage from the automatic rifles. This image relates to the first symbol discussed showing us a physical example for the representation of the Asian philosophy behind the Red neckerchief, the red neckerchief as said earlier symbolizes how the sacrifice of the few was for the good of the many, they were an expendable and admirable step toward a better future in the system of communism. rather then just having the scarves to represent this idea we witness it happen first hand we see the men be executed for the good of communism and so it became their lives that was the blood of the people and were sacrificed to make the country “Better”. this frame within the scene is extended in the film to allow the viewers to sit and think about what has just happened, about how the communists have taken measures to the extreme committing treason and executing their general and his cabinet simply because it looks like at the time that would be a worthy sacrifice of the cause. The death of the democratic leaders in Burma meant that the communists had secured the growth of their system in the country and that communism would go on so even if the assassins and U Saw were killed for their crimes they did not care, to them some day other men would stand wearing a Neckerchief in reverence of them being martyrs of the cause.
The second scene is set at the venue of a political rally as Aung San Suu Kyi is traveling around and talking to the villages people in order to try gain their support for an upcoming election. in the upcoming election the prime minister or General roll would be awarded to someone. through the scene wee witness Aung San Suu Kyi approaching the venue with her party of supporters ready to hear her speak while at the same time the military vehicles turn up and begin to strip down the setup venue, this happens as per the ban on public gatherings set forward by the general U Ne Win as an attempt to eliminate Aung San Suu Kyi’s ability to campaign and get her voice heard. Over the course of this scene we see the nature of communism come forward, we are able to see through specific film techniques as displayed by luc bessons style how the communist system and its people act and respond to situations at hand. throughout history communist president figures (Effectively dictators) have been known for their ability to win people over, Generally they are great tacticians and have exceptional speaking skills so it becomes extremely easy to manipulate people while sitting in the background trying to physically avoid the mess (as U-Saw did when getting general Aung San executed). it is a fact that for these people their friends or allies should be those who are dependent on their leader for their rewards, while enemies are cut off. Provide supporters with just enough resources to keep them dependent on you, but not enough so they can build up their own resources to turn on you.
The first time that we can see luc besson show the nature of communism is when The Generals have arrived at the venue, we can describe one frame of this scene as a Medium shot of the commander and his troops lining up in formation in preparation to fire on the incoming party (including Aung San Suu Kyi). The party at the time is walking and is tanking no aggressive approach but on the other hand right from spotting the party approaching the venue General Ne-Wins commander orders the troops to line up and prepare to fire. Along with this we never hear him at any stage simply speak to the men every word is yelled and they are all orders and commands not requests. The aggressive approach is a tell tale sign of communism, we see the commander jumps straight to radical decisions when so far all that has happened is a group of political supporters has walked to a venue (unarmed and not aggressive) with Aung San Suu Kyi. the commander in this scene is the one calling all the shots and we see the formation of the men symbolizing communism as even though he is not the general he is in charge on site, he stands in the middle and his troops fill out the space around him coming across as if he were to say “look at my army that i control stay back or i will strike”. The circle around the commander shows how the men are willing to do anything to protect the general as is symbolized by the Neckerchief they will become martyrs for the cause or commit unjustified murder as the assassins did in the first scene.
This part of the scene is made purposefully noticeable to the audience by Luc besson as it follows his auteur style perfectly portraying communism in relation to his style. One of the characteristics that Author and film critic, Stuart Fernie analyzed from Luc Besson’s film-making that we can see in this scene is in the nature of a character. The analysis says that in some of his films Those in authority are “portrayed as ruthless but dedicated to their task.” They have complete blind faith in the sanctity of their mission, and here we see exactly that this commander has a large number of soldiers all with automatic weapons pointing at the passive approaching party. The commander is very serious looking and is willing to execute Aung San Suu Kyi and her entire party if there were no intervention from his partner showing us how truly blunt, ruthless and dedicated the leaders can be if they believe they are doing the right thing. Luc besson emphasized this in the scene because it shows the viewers how communists will act out on the smallest of things, how they jump the gun right to extremes and are not afraid to make very serious decisions on the spot. The death of Aung San Suu Kyi would have been an extreme event causing riots and protesting all throughout Burma and so the fact that these men can still feel faith and sanctity for the mission when the result is so extreme tells us a lot about how mentally and morally unstable the communist government actually is