History & Memory - the Queen

Topics: Tony Blair, The Queen, Kurt Cobain Pages: 8 (2832 words) Published: May 26, 2012
Advanced English - Essay

Explore How 'The Queen' & Two Other Related Texts Of Your Own Choosing Represent History & Memory In Unique & Evocative Ways

History consists of what is known, remembered and recorded about the past in as objective a way as possible. Memory can be a fragmented yet still valid perspective on the past which enables History to fill in the gaps. The concepts of History & Memory are featured in the texts, 'The Queen', a film directed by Stephen Frears, 'Kurt Cobain's Suicide Letter' and the documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' by Michael Moore in a unique and evocative style. All texts are representations or constructs of events which present a point of view containing bias and subjectivity. 'The Queen' released in 2006 uses both simulated and archival footage to engage and effect audiences in a unique fashion while also using film techniques such as music, sound design, mise-en-scene and various high-angled panning shots. 'Kurt Cobain's Suicide Letter' published in 1994 uses techniques such as emotive language, rhetorical question and repetition in an evocative way to reveal his character and point of view. 'Fahrenheit 9/11' released in 2004 uses techniques such as montage, voice-over and symbolism to reinforce historical and personal viewpoints in a unique style. All texts, through the use of the aforementioned techniques, present us with the concepts of History & Memory which then position the audience to understand the viewpoint presented while also enabling the composer to create new understandings of said events and people.

Simulated footage allows audiences to gain a new perspective of an historical event. In 'The Queen', director Stephen Frears uses simulated footage of the car crash leading up to Princess Diana's death using actors and actual locations to reawaken audience's memories. In the car crash segment, Frears uses film techniques such as montage, intense music and sound effects to emphasise the media's frenzied pursuit of Diana who is the main focus of this segment. The fast-paced editing of images showing the paparazzi, the scooters, the black Mercedes and the tunnel all create a sense of doom. Sound effects such as the aggressive acceleration of the scooters and the rapid clicking of cameras all add to the feeling of urgency as tension rises. The music which begins as an insistent piano beat rises to a crescendo, ending in a dramatic silence which symbolises tragedy. The use of simulated footage, which includes images of Diana at numerous functions and holidays, effectively engages the audience as we are able to witness the relentless pursuit of the paparazzi and Diana's vulnerability. This 'recreation' makes audiences relive their own history and memories while also positioning them to empathise with Diana which in turn heightens the emotional experience in an evocative way.

The idea of recreating a moment in the past to position audiences and enhance their emotional experience is also shown in 'Kurt Cobain's Suicide Letter'. In the letter Cobain uses the technique of emotive language to create a sad tone, especially in the line "I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music at all along with reading and writing it for too many years now" to challenge the readers memories and show the gap between his image and the reality of the person (as the public did not perceive him as being depressed and detached which is the way he is presented in this letter) which positions the audience to accept Cobain's state of mind while also making a significant impact. This text, similar to 'The Queen' is a representation of grief, and Cobain's letter is a personal representation of his despair while also challenging audiences memories and offering a unique perspective on his life.

Archival footage allows composer’s to bring the audience’s memories back to the forefront of their mind. Frears' use of archival footage in 'The Queen' which shows Diana at various times is...
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