In this analysis I looked at the lunch scene in the middle of raising the barn in Peter Weir’s “Witness” made in 1985. I mainly look at dialogue and mise-en-scene.
The whole film is about an Amish boy and his mother, Rachel, who witness a murder and a policeman, John, who goes into hiding as protection until the trial. The scene itself is one where the community is brought together to build a barn in a day for a newlywed couple of the town. The setting is very specific because it’s focused on an Amish colony, therefore the audience has a hard time relating to a lot of things but this brings out John’s feelings much more because he doesn’t understand much about the Amish either. This particular scene had no dialogue spoken because all the messages were said in expression. The people of the community were looking down on Rachel and John’s relationship because the people all believed there were things going on between them.
The scene starts with an extreme long shot showing the progress already made on the barn and ends with a close up. The shots go from extreme long shot, to a long shot, to a medium shot. The shots seem to signify the community views and how they’re focused on Rachel. This is shown without camera movement towards Rachel but the scene sets its focus on her because it goes from very far, to very close, within three shots. Also, the majority of the shots are close-ups because it’s the thoughts that people are having that are pushing the scene to grow.
Because there is little camera movement in this scene, Rachel is the main object/person. She’s the only one that the camera moves for. There’s a tracking shot that begins when she starts moving. The camera only follows her because everyone is thinking about her and watching her, it’s as if the camera is one of the people of the community and they can’t take their eyes off her.
However, because they’re thinking about her relationship with John, they are also... [continues]
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