Witness: Amish World

Topics: Amish, Close-up, Film techniques Pages: 3 (858 words) Published: May 17, 2013
The thriller film ‘Witness’, directed by Peter Weir in 1985, tells about cultural conflicts between the Amish of Western Pennsylvania and Modern American corruption and violence. Philadelphia Police officer, John Book was obligated to hide from the three brutally and corrupt police officers as they were looking for a little Amish boy, Samuel Lapp. The boy witnessed the brutal killings and identified the killer as the three police officers. The ‘Witness’ strongly displayed many images of people and incorporated several techniques and images in various scenes to portray the contrast between two different worlds.

The scene depicts the peaceful and calm surroundings of the Amish. This is most apparent in the scene where a slow panning shot is used to portray the wheat as being of a soft silky appearance as it was blown in the wind, which highlights the world of harmony of the Amish. Contrasting of the two worlds is achieved by comparing the community in the Amish world with the individualism in the modern world. This is shown through camera techniques and costumes. In the opening scene, a long shot shows a group of Amish people walking together. The group, dressed in similar black costumes, supports the idea of a unified community. This clearly shows how the Amish communities are peaceful and isolated from the modern world; and the contrast between the two different worlds of the slow paced and peaceful life style of the Amish and the fast paced and hectic lifestyle of the modern westernised society. The barn raising scene helps to show how comfortable the Amish are with their old-fashioned and community-minded ways. The techniques were used of the long shots of the whole Amish town coming together to build a barn for a newlywed couple, and it emphasised by their smiling faces and enthusiasm that they feel happy and privileged to work. Weir emphasise by adding the beautiful and clear sky, which made the day look more joyous and highlighting the Amish...
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