Sarah Watt’s “Look Both Ways” shows us that death is a normal part of our lives, and if we are unable to accept it, then it can hold us back from living our lives to its fullest. Using a variety of filming techniques, Watts effectively displays and accentuates the pain and grief of her characters, especially Nick and Meryl who “have been seeing death everywhere”, in order to demonstrate how fears of death can restrict our ability to live, in terms of anything from relationships and being social, to taking risks and just being happy. Each character has their problems conveyed through different techniques in accordance with their lifestyles and careers. For example, Meryl is a painter and her fears are portrayed using animations, and Nick who is a photographer has his thoughts presented through photomontages. Other film methods employed such as the careful construction of mise en scene, flash backs, dialogue, camera positioning, music, symbolism, and repeated motifs help to explore the finer details of the various underlying themes in the film, and to convey Watt’s point of view that death is all around us, everyone has to face it at some point in their lives, but the true test is how we manage our emotions and cope with the loss, and whether or not we allow our own lives to progress.
Meryl provides an excellent example of someone who has been traumatised by her experiences with death, preventing her from moving on. Her father’s death left her confused and disorientated, such that her own view of life and death became distorted and fatalistic. Combined with the impact of witnessing a man get run over by a train, her mental health has severely been damaged, made evident by her paintings that signify her thoughts which are manifested by fear and anxiety, backed by morbid animated scenes of her own death played out in countless different scenarios, some that showed fear of unexpected death, some which involved water, which represents her fear of loneliness and...
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