Witness: Amish and Happy Valley Scene

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How does peter weir portrayal of the relationship between book and his world move us to a deeper understanding of power?

The romantic, mystery filed movie witness was directed by peter weir in 1985. The movie is based around a young Amish boy Samuel who witnesses the brutal murder of a police officer and a police officer John Book who heads the murder investigation. In the film the responder is exposed to, two parallel plots that of forbidden love with Rachel and of course the murder plot. It is through an array of cinematic techniques that weir successfully portrays John’s world and positions the responder to understand how influential power is within this society. This evident through influential scenes through the film such as; the opening sequence, the dancing in the barn scene and also the happy valley scene

The opening sequence begins with a shot of the grass with the sky behind it ethereal music is used to show the simplicity of the Amish society, and how they strive to live peaceful lives. An extreme longshot of the horse pulled cart being followed by a semi-trailer is a distinct juxtaposition of how simple and peaceful Amish life is compared to the modern world which is heavily reliant on the use of power in everyday living. This is driven home at the traffic lights when everything is busily in motion around the cart, while it is stopped at the traffic lights. The responder is exposed to johns world and how important power is to his society, even just for everyday commuting.

The Happy Valley scene begins with a longshot of Rachel and Samuel sitting in the back of the police car, diegetic sound of the radio, the car and the rain add to the ever evident differences in johns powerful world and the Amish peaceful ways of living. “we want nothing to do with your laws” this successfully shows how powerful the police are in society as they are keepers of the law, and how this is not needed in the Amish world as there deep religious conviction means...
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