Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs - Elizabeth Pirinis Silence of the...

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Elizabeth Pirinis Silence of the Lambs In the film Silence of the Lambs directed by Jonathan Demme, the implicit meanings are conveyed in the narration and editing which serve to emphasize important details in the film. The significance of gender roles in society produces principal meaning as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is a woman who is trying to succeed in a traditionally male dominated career. The narration makes use of perceptual and mental subjectivity to allow the audience to understand the situation that Clarice’s is in by physically seeing what she sees and brining us back to her past. The idea of appearances being deceiving holds crucial meaning in the film as the two ferocious killers, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) appear to be like everyone else on the surface. Underneath their physical masks however, they are psychologically unsound. Through the unrestricted range of narration we are better equipped to understand the characters’ true identities as they perform unspeakable acts that we are able to witness. The depth and range of narration in the film facilitates the audiences’ understanding of the characters and their goals. The film’s range of narration shifts from unrestricted to restricted depending on the scene. Generally the film is unrestricted as we know Buffalo Bill’s identity and anticipate his capture. We see scenes occurring in different locations and therefore find out information before Clarice and the rest of the police force do. We are able to see Buffalo Bill abduct Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) before the police discover that this has occurred. More precisely we see through perceptual subjectivity Buffalo Bill looking at Catherine with his night vision goggles in the parking lot. This gives the audience insight into his intentions to kidnap her. A critical scene in which the range of narration is unrestricted is when Clarice is in Buffalo Bill’s underground lair. The lights have been turned off and through perceptual subjectivity the audience is able to see Buffalo Bill watching Clarice (again with his night vision goggles). While the audience is aware that Buffalo Bill is in the room, Clarice is temporarily unaware of the predicament she is in. Through the unrestricted range of narration we are able to discover more about characters’ personalities and predict their future actions. We see Hannibal take Dr. Frederick Chilton’s (Anthony Heald) pen when he enters his cell. Chilton is not aware
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that it is missing until Hannibal speaks to Senator Ruth Martin (Diane Baker) and he starts digging inside his suit pockets to find it without success. By means of this scene, the audience is warned that Hannibal will probably escape at some time in the future. The audience is also made aware of Hannibal’s immediate plan to escape from the cell in Memphis as we see the pin in his hand, we see him pick the lock and then proceed to kill the guards. Through being able to see this, the audience gets a better sense of Hannibal’s
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This note was uploaded on 11/21/2011 for the course FILM 270S taught by Professor Matthewbernstein during the Fall '08 term at Emory.

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Silence of the Lambs - Elizabeth Pirinis Silence of the...

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