Language and Gender - Elizabeth (1998)

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Kapur’s 1998 film Elizabeth gives evidence to how composers use language to construct and perform masculine and feminine aspects of identity, investigating its contextual foundations by creating voices and characters to challenge language and gender codes. Language used in Elizabeth with double entendre and metaphor, combined with the language constraints of the films context, allows for the subtle challenging of established gender roles as a part of identity. Kapur also plays with film devices in a manner as to give depth to a scene and draw focus on constructed aspects of identity fuelled by the concept of gender in order to investigate it. His portrayal of the early life of Queen Elizabeth I manipulates the contextual language structure in establishing views on gender as a part of identity by presenting the established contextual view and then challenging it. He balances this with use of visual symbology to give significance and to investigate other aspects of identity that are constructed. Kapur’s Elizabeth thereby demonstrates how composers play with textual forms and features of language and gender to challenge, investigate and construct aspects of identity. Kapur’s film Elizabeth uses language through the spoken word to as well as visual cinema technique in order to investigate aspects gender in forming identity. Kapur’s film design is referred to by William Simon as “hyper-stylised baroque style” using dramatic shot angles constructed via cameras on cranes. This technique with a high angle shot, allows a scene in the opening of the film to establish the highly patriarchal society following through to Norfolk’s interaction with Isobel who underlines this by demonstrating how in this society the loyalties of women are tied to men to ensure security. Early in Elizabeth Queen Mary’s hysterical performance following on where she cries, “My sister was born of that whore Anne Boleyn! She was born a bastard! She will never rule England!” establishes the...
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