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paper 1 finish - Ahl 1 Tori Ahl Professor Casper/Kate...

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Ahl 1 Tori Ahl Professor Casper/Kate Fortmueller CTCS 190 October 9, 2008 The Visual Design of Heathers As Jason Dean states in the film Heathers (1989) “The extreme always seems to make an impression,” and Heathers does just that. Although the script is smart and dark, it is the dramatic visual design of Heathers that most effectively creates characterization, conveys the film’s themes, and sets the overall tone of the film. Visual aspects of Heathers , especially the strong use of color, incarnate the superficial, morbid and dreamlike world that its power hungry characters occupy. Crucial scenes highlight this pivotal role that visual design plays in the film. The visual design of the very first scene of Heathers introduces the themes of power and superficiality and characterizes the infamous trio themselves. The representational title design over the action of Heather Chandler’s hand with a red watch and red nail polish tying a red scrunchie in her hair immediately establishes two of Heathers’ important themes. First the color red, a color that permeates the entire film, is introduced. It will proceed to represent power and dominance. Secondly, the first shot of the film focuses on Heather’s hairstyle, alluding to the character’s preoccupation with superficiality and image. This preoccupation with the superficial and this need for power are both pivotal to understanding the motives of the Heathers, the title characters of the film. The scene continues to characterize the young girls. Following the title design, the camera dollies around the three Heathers who are sitting on white lawn furniture
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Ahl 2 surrounded by white statues. The quick movement of the camera around the girls conveys a sense that they are as much pieces of artwork to be examined as the statues they are sitting near: beautiful but with no depth. Each Heather is wearing a primary color, Heather Chandler in red, Heather Duke in green and Heather McNamara in yellow, which is emphasized when contrasted with the white lawn furniture. The colors of their individual costume are obviously important to understanding their character, which will be examined later. As the camera follows them to the croquet field, it is positioned behind trees and bushes, its perspective slightly obscured. These obstructions establish the sense that the three are important and powerful, and the audience is a mere outsider observing them. Finally the girls reach the croquet field, an important décor and set of props for the film’s visual design. The set itself, a croquet field, establishes a sense of game playing. The Heathers are cruel and dominant and play games with other characters in the film, including Veronica and the unfortunate Martha Dunnstock. They use red, green and yellow croquet balls that correspond to their costume and character. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that Heather Chandler’s red establishes her dominance over the other Heathers, Heather Duke’s green conveys her envy of Heather
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This note was uploaded on 03/04/2009 for the course CTCS 18000 taught by Professor Casper during the Fall '09 term at USC.

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paper 1 finish - Ahl 1 Tori Ahl Professor Casper/Kate...

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