Soft music, played in a minor key is used in the opening shots of segment 3: “tragedy, despair, grief and art”, paired with the wide shot of the pigeons flocking collectively together silhouetted against the evening sky. They help to set the scene. The emphasised tonal qualities of the fluttering birds suggest the temporary nature of our society. The splitting of the bird flock as a result of the powerlines and pylon is symbolic in this scene. It serves to illustrate the fractured nature of modern society and the overwhelming events persistent in the contemporary world. It also functions to expose the varying aspects of human life, through the introduction of the main characters.
The first lyrical stanza, “if I stepped into the light” figuratively collocates with the despondent mood being exemplified by Nick. The mise en scene depicts how he is emotionally and physically disorientated by his diagnosis of testicular cancer and is lost for time to grief. There is a palpable sense that his world is tumbling down around him, as he surrounds himself in images of death. His very controlled, restrained and compartmentalised life style is seen in his apartment setting, where he works on the kitchen table in a quite methodical manner. This scene serves to highlight his work obsession.
His loneliness is portrayed through the composition of the scene. Nick sits in front of his “Apple” laptop, forced to “reflect” on his life. The side lighting and contrived computer reflections sculpt Nick’s distressed facial expressions. His flushed red face and anxious physical actions (such as rubbing his face) portray a severe state of fear.
The juxtaposition and magnification of the “test results” further highlights Nick’s predicament. To try and escape his reality, he walks out of shot to the kitchen. The defused camera shot extends the meaning of the lyric “left my reflection”, insinuating that his “reflection” on life is also blurred. As he walks back to his seat he corresponds with the lyric “and not look behind”, pouring his drink and focusing on his computer screen. The focused close up shots of the whisky and emphasised sounds of the ice cubes enhance a feeling of emotional pain.
As Nick scrolls through the images of the train accident there are sounds of the train included outside the frame, creating the illusion of space and setting the context of the images. When clicking through the images of Julia there are “shadows and tones” present in the images as well as his face, emphasising the grave nature of death.
The last shots of Nick are of him researching “testicular cancer” on the internet search engine “Google”. The verse “crashing to the end’ is repeated as the images taken by Nick are closely focused on. Images of crucifixes, gravestones, poverty, bush fires, dead animals, and starving people highlight the intense psychological strain that “cancer” has had on Nick.
The next few shots explore the grief stricken life of Julia. As Nick decides on which photo to email to his editor, Phil, the image of Julia is shown on the screen of his computer. The still image of Julia focuses on her paralysed state of mind, overwhelmed by shock of the accident. Her distressed face and fractured...