M50_w4_send - Su (Susan Kim) Faceless Poverty In Killer of...

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Su (Susan Kim) Faceless Poverty In Killer of Sheep, Burnett employs cinematographic techniques to portray the horrific and mundane nuisances of racial and economic oppression. He avoids the melodrama, however, by creating a documentary-style presentation in which the visual style is supremely objective. The effect is a mosaic of snap shots that reproduces the day-to-day experience of poverty in the faceless environment that is the slums of downtown Los Angeles. Particular throughout Killer of Sheep is the presentation of children, seemingly unstylized sequences of kids at play. These sequences suggest that poverty impersonalizes individuals– rendering them faceless persons in a faceless environment. Their suffering blends together, numbing the vicious reality that is their life, and making their hardship easy to ignore within their own community and the larger community that observes from the outside. During the scene of the rock fight, a child is hurt. In the initial set of frames, the camera “hides” the boy from the audience through strategic camera positioning that conceal the boy’s face. A low-level camera shot reveals a boy on the ground. Although the camera is at the boy’s eye level, the frame is shot from behind the boy so that his lower body takes up most of his person in the frame, concealing his face. The camera remains on the boy, but other boys pass in front of the camera so that the audience’s view of the boy is interrupted and discontinuous. The second shot of the boy is taken from a higher angle, emphasizing his vulnerability and weakness. The camera is aimed at the boy’s back and his face is still concealed by another obstruction: the thighs and right knee of his helping friend who is facing directly away from the camera. The scene is framed so that for the entire length of his shot, the hurt boy is curled away from the
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M50_w4_send - Su (Susan Kim) Faceless Poverty In Killer of...

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