Million Dollar Baby: Visual Language Analysis

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When I turn on the television to watch a movie, I notice that I have a tendency to focus on the words of the characters, sometimes on the music in the background and how it relates to the overall scene, but as I watch what is in front of me I rarely tend to focus my attention to the colors, lines, textures or balance of the surroundings. Everything seems to be part of the big picture of the scene rather than visuals that stand out. Every day we are surrounded by visual elements, which are just as important as actual spoken words; sometimes even more important, as they force us as viewers to make beyond conscious predictions. Whether it is the flow of lines in a painting, the choice of costume texture in a live production or the silent dull remarks of a character in a film, visual language forces the viewers to get into the head of the artist, actor or character and take mental notes.

As I view the clip from Million Dollar Baby I can’t help but wonder how my perspective may vary from the next person’s perspective. After having viewed Rory Scanlon’s Visual Language presentation I realize that there are so many elements that play an important role in the way each viewer perceives a work of art. I may scan a scene from left to right or catch a focal point more or less quickly than someone else. I may distinguish the tones of gray to be less intense than that of the person sitting next to me and the forms of balance may seem more relevant to me than another viewer.

Scanning is a process that most of us use regularly. While driving, we are constantly scanning the cars ahead, we scan through books or magazines and then something pops out at us. Amongst all the cars on the road and all the words and photos in the pages, there is generally always a focal point that catches our eye. As I watched the clip from Million Dollar Baby, immediately my eyes began to scan. My attention starts at the bottom left corner where the scene is dark, but there is enough of an image...
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