Film Studies 1800
For The Graduate I chose the sequence from where Ben's father announces him coming out to the pool until the end of the scene where he is at the bottom of the pool. (Chapter 5 [all of it]: 20:53–24:25).
In The Graduate the cinematic styles were portrayed in this sequence of the film. Mis-en-scene was represented right away from the scenery or background of the sequence. The background was of Ben’s pool with many family friends around. The pool was used for Ben’s dad’s experiment of the scuba suit. With the people around watching it resembles how his father is attempting to show off through the use of Ben. The grill, pool, lawn chairs, and plants were used as props to convey the natural sense of a typical backyard scene. This allows the audience to feel as if they are at the pool party with the characters. The scuba gear and the snorkel are used as a costume and instrumental props because when Ben is in the water the snorkel creates bubbles so that it is naturally being used.
Within the sequence cinematography played an important role in understanding Ben’s personality. Through Ben’s bodily movement when he was about to get into the pool you can see how embarrassed and ashamed he is that he has to do this for his father. There is a long, medium, and close-up shot of Ben walking in his costume from the kitchen to the outside. His walk coming closer to the screen was stern and slow. It represents the embarrassment that he is about to feel which shows how he does not like doing what people say, but enjoys making his own decisions. The audience is taken inside Ben’s scuba mask and is used as a close-up as the viewers are to feel as if they are actually in the costume. This close-up also occurs when Ben looks up from the water and his dad pushes his face back into the water. This is important because it gives us a sense of feel within the costume and it shows how his father is pushing Ben to continue testing out his scuba gear. Ending this sequence is a long shot that shows Ben fading away in the water. You see Ben standing still with no movement resembling his awkwardness and humiliation of listening to his dad.
The sound plays a key role in understanding the sequence. This sequence is more focused on listening than watching. When Ben jumps into the water right away the sounds are of Ben swimming and the waves of the water flowing around him. This gives the audience a sense that they are experiencing the dive with Ben. There is also a sound of Ben breathing through his snorkel. As he breathes there is a sound from the bubbles that are rising to the surface from the snorkel. This is important because it is a steady and slow breathes of Ben showing his relaxation and awkwardness that is going on. While Ben is walking towards the pool there is a silent noise where you can see his parents and others cheering and talking to him, but you cannot hear what they are saying. This is showing how Ben is shutting them out because he is already annoyed and embarrassed that he has to do his fathers task.
The mis-en-scene style was illustrated in this sequence to describe what the purpose of the scuba gear was and that he was celebrating his 21st birthday party. This helped the audience understand what the purpose was for that day. In the cinematography the movement described his personality, which is important to understanding Ben and his feelings towards his family. The sound played an effective role because it brought the audience into the movie letting them feel as if they were in Ben’s costume. The water effects portrayed his attitude and the purpose of the scuba gear.
Through the narrative elements this sequence shows us the character development of Ben and his attitude and personality that changes from one thing to the next. It also shows how his father uses Ben into making him experiment with his work. The thematic elements are seen through the use of Ben’s dad’s power he...
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