Collection Management - Museums

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Discuss an idea from the film studied and describe how the director used oral and visual techniques to help the viewer understand the theme

The film ‘Dead Poets’ Society’, directed by Peter Weir is set in 1959 at a private boys’ boarding school in New England. An important idea in this film is ‘Carpe Diem’ or ‘seize the day’ which was portrayed through visual and oral techniques. The visual techniques used are costume, camera shots, lighting, acting and the setting. The oral techniques used throughout the film are music, quotes and poetry. The idea ‘Carpe Diem’ is the catalyst for the action in the film.

The use of costume sets the film in a particular period, in the late 1950s. The director uses costume as a way of showing the idea 'carpe diem', as costumes are a visual technique used to help the viewer understand the setting and mood. In the opening scene the women are seen wearing hats and gloves to show the ceremony was a formal occasion. The boys were expected to wear traditional uniform as usual, which goes against the theme ‘Carpe Diem’ as the uniform does not allow the boys to express themselves and show individuality. During the film, when Knox goes to visit Chris, we get to see how the ordinary, public schools are like in contrast to the traditional boarding school. The public school is full of colour and originality as the students are able to express themselves through what they wear whereas at Welton, the boys are all expected to look the same and follow tradition which is included in the four banners of the school. The masters at the Welton boarding school all wear similar suits, however the new teacher, Mr Keating does not wear a tie. This shows that Keating and his teaching style are different from the other masters as he seems more relaxed and free-spirited. In the film we also get to see Neil Perry taking part in a play, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. In the play we see Neil differently as he is not wearing his usual, traditional uniform....
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