Film Techniques Used in Great Debators

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  • Topic: Debate, Debating, Film
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  • Published : April 24, 2013
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Film Techniques Used in the Great Debaters
Racism is the belief in the superiority of a particular race (Canadian Oxford High School Dictionary). From hundreds of years ago till present day, racism has and always will be an injustice in society. Back in mainly the 1900’s, racism was very dominant in communities, specifically in the Southern States of the US. For example, the film The Great Debaters focusses on a black debate team in Marshall, Texas in 1930. The team starts off debating other black debate teams but working up to a large debate against Harvard, and seeing many injustices along the way, such as lynching and sharecropping. Though the main theme of the film is the abuse of power, there are many underlying themes supporting that throughout the movie. The Winning Streak scene for instance emphasizes the overcoming of barriers through hard work and dedication. This is presented through the upbeat joyful music, the point of view being from an old home video camera, and the repetition of images showing the accomplishments achieved because of the hard work done. The happy, upbeat, and joyful music in this scene gives a sense of success and overcoming. When watching the scene originally, the viewer can see happy images and videos, and combined with an upbeat tempo, gives a “can’t be beat” feeling. When actually listening to the lyrics, they talk about doors. Like a fence, as seen in the Pig Farmer scene, a door is a symbol. Unlike a fence though, a door is a symbol of opportunity with new beginnings on the other side rather than a stop. The music alone represents their accomplishments and shows even though there are many barriers, there are ways to overcome them. After breaking down the barriers they have to deal with every day, such as systemic racism, sharecropping, and unfairness, it offers them many new opportunities. The point of view of this scene contrasts with the rest of the movie with having the video clip being from a home video camera,...
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