Look Both Ways

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“The fragmented structure of ‘Look Both Ways’ makes identification with the characters difficult. Do you agree?”

The independent Australian film, “Look Both Ways”, is unlike most “Hollywood” films. Applying narrative techniques of the old film noir genre, this film is both unconventional and structurally unusual. The protagonists, Meryl, Nick, and Andy, are all complex personalities, making it difficult for the audience to relate. Director, Sarah Watt, employs many visual forms to assist the audience in this identification with her characters, resulting in an extremely fragmented structure.

For the audience, breaking into the inner psyche of the female protagonist, Meryl, is not difficult at all. Presented with her most private thoughts, audiences are able to understand and empathise with her, and perhaps even find a mutual view between themselves and the character on screen. Utilising her art form of painting into animation, Watt provides an extremely personal viewing of Meryl’s fears and paranoiac scenarios for all to see. These animations illustrate her personality, and show the audience exactly how she feels about certain events and things she says. Similar in result to soliloquies, though more effective in the sense that a soliloquy in this text would have been deemed inappropriate for the genre, Meryl’s animations are they key given to the audience to aid their identification with her character.

In the case of Nick, Watt offers the audience a different type of insight to his character. With the use of flashbacks of Nick’s father, Joe, the audience is provided with that particular period of his family life instead of only information about his present self. They are also made aware of his insecurity about the effect of death on all those around him, and his torment caused by the fact that he still cannot accept Joe’s death. Watt not only uses flashbacks to reveal Nick’s character, she also uses series of still images and photomontages for the...
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