SAC 440 Paper 6 - Sasha Wang SAC 440 African Cinema Scott...

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Sasha Wang SAC 440 African Cinema Scott Edmondson 12/01/10 Shirley Adams Shirley Adams is a South African film about a woman who must cope with her son’s attempts at suicide after becoming paralyzed by a gang shooting on his way home from school. The manipulative visual style and cinematography enable the film to effectively obtain sympathy and empathy from its viewers who are easily able to relate to the characters, Shirley and her son, Donovan. These techniques and style include the use of a handheld camera, zoomed-in shots, long takes, a foreshadowing audio score, and a mise-en-scene that is far from extravagant. A handheld camera gives the film a documentary-like feel for the viewer, making the content seem more real and believable. At times, the shakiness of the camera makes the viewer more aware of the cinematographer, but the cinematographer’s handheld shots mediate a more personal relationship between the characters and viewers. For example, during the shot of Shirley sitting on the bus and getting woken up by Jeremy’s mother, the viewer sees the frame bouncing with the bumpy bus ride, and he feels like he is actually on the bus, observing Shirley as a nearby voyeur. Throughout the film, the cinematographer also limits what the audience is able to see by always having Shirley film up the frames of the shots. It is difficult to see what is surrounding Shirley, and this lack of freedom makes the viewer feel trapped. And this feeling of captivity perhaps reflects how Shirley feels trapped in her awful situation with
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SAC 440 Paper 6 - Sasha Wang SAC 440 African Cinema Scott...

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