Doctor Zhivago Funeral Scene Analysis (C+)

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Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago is a film from 1965 based on the novel “Doctor Zhivago (1957) directed by David Lean.

This scene is from Yuri, a little boy's perspective of his mothers funeral. Many of the shots are from the same height as Yuri.

The first scene is an extreme long shot and shows us an open landscape with huge mountains in the background. The mountains seems very powerful, and is the first thing you notice, but then your eyes are dragged down to a large group of people wandering across the fields towards the camera. There is also a russian orthodox cross in the foreground in the lower left corner indicating the graveyard. The cinemascope format is a great format to use when showing the opening shot of the mountains, it sets the scene and shows that the movie is going to be epic. After some seconds, sad non-diegetic music fades in. Then in the next shot the focus is on a little boy walking amongst adults carrying flowers. It makes us understand that it is probably a close relative of the boy's funeral, maybe his mother or father.

The little boy is neither sad or angry. He looks very confused. In the next shot we are put in the boy's pov. The camera angle is low angled looking up, as if it was the small boy's pov. The boy is looking up at an open coffin carried by grown men. This is how he is used to see his mother, above him with authority and power. The next shot is a medium close up and his facial expressions gives the impression that he is very confused. Nobody is really around to comfort Yuri or help him in any way.

When they are arriving at the graveyard, the camera follow the group of people by pan when they enter the graveyard. There is another medium close up of Yuri, and then from Yuris pov we see the hole in the ground. Next we see that Yuri is looking up, and then the camera shifts to Yuris pov and we see the coffin being lowered down to Yuris height and then below. His mother is now the only person that is below his eye...
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