What Makes a Successful Romantic Tragedy?

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What makes a successful romantic tragedy?

Romantic tragedy can be a very successful genre to work with for film directors although, in some cases, the making of the film goes haywire somewhere along the line and ends up being a rather catastrophic rendition of a romantic tragedy. When I pursued a study of this genre, I found that there are several factors which can make or break a film, depending on how well these factors are used and to what extent they are thought through and developed. These areas, I discovered, are generally cinematography, special effects and the soundtrack, the plot and narrative drive, the characters and acting, the cultural discourse/s used. Discourses are particularly pertinent to this genre as the subject matter, events and characterisations are largely historical, and therefore, they automatically need to be viewed as cultural artefacts, revealing different attitudes and values to those of the modern viewer. Thus, the director of this genre must work doubly hard in order to encourage viewers to suspend their disbelief and become caught up in the drama unfolding before them. This ‘suspense’ of the viewer is often referred to as verisimilitude, or the illusion of reality. Creating verisimilitude is the one thing that all movie producers strive for and it is fascinating just how they make us believe what we see is real. In this journal I will discuss and compare these elements within two films to decipher how each of the elements should be used in order to make a successful romantic tragedy. The two films that I watched are Wuthering Heights and Tristan & Isolde and these will be compared. My journal will inevitably show that creating a film requires a substantial amount of thought and effort.

When watching these two films, I observed that one of the main criteria of a high-quality film is cinematography, regardless of genre or storyline. However, I think it’s important to match appropriate shots and angles to a genre for example, wider shots in an action film and more close-ups to show emotion in romantic movies. This is indeed the case with Tristan & Isolde and Wuthering Heights. I found Tristan & Isolde to be an excellent representation of the way shots and angles can be used to further enhance the story in romantic tragedy. This is because it uses an appropriate quantity of close-ups to portray the amount of emotion that is intended originally by the producers and directors. It also uses angles in a very efficient way to create both verisimilitude and emotion. I found this very obvious in the love scenes between Tristan and Isolde as it is an important thing to portray that extremely obvious emotion between two seemingly ‘in love’ individuals. On the other hand, I think that Wuthering Heights could definitely have benefited from the presence of some more useful and emotional shots and angles. I believe that Wuthering Heights was not successful with portraying emotion because of the substantial amount of long, scenic shots that are used in the film. So in the end, I come to the resolution that makers of Wuthering Heights could possibly have taken a few pointers in this cinematic area when creating their film. The emotion in movies is very meaningful and important to the storyline and narrative drive in the film which brings me to my second factor that is important when creating a film, the storyline. This is perhaps the one factor that is completely essential to a successful film. Without a believable and workable storyline a film will almost definitely lose all hope of creating verisimilitude. Luckily for the film makers of T & I, I quite easily ‘lost myself’ in the film which indicates that the storyline was well thought through and well developed. However, when viewing Wuthering Heights, I constantly found myself distracted and unable to concentrate enough to really enjoy or even understand the story unfolding in front of me. The storyline, whilst obviously...
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