Lighting and Themes in 127 Hours

Topics: Light, James Franco, Low-key lighting Pages: 3 (1060 words) Published: January 13, 2012
There are plenty of films based on a true story and various ways to use lighting as a part of Mise en Scéne to make all of those films seem more realistic or in sometimes unrealistic whichever is the director’s and cinematographer’s take on the story. Danny Boyle’s take on Aron Ralston’s true story of cutting his arm off to live has been to make it as realistic as it possibly can be. The film was shot on and off set, mostly in constructed set of the canyon where Aron Ralston, portrayed by James Franco, was trapped with his arm pinned between a large boulder and the canyon wall. The scene of which lighting and themes this essay will discuss about starts from the point where James Franco’s character has just freed himself and starts running through the canyon towards his freedom and climbs off the cliff. The themes of the film 127 Hours (2010) are entrapment, desperation, will to live and surviving. The lighting reflects on the themes and changes with them in the shots. For example when Franco’s character is trapped the lighting is shadowy and lights his face in a way that enhances the desperate mood of the shot or where the character feels hopeful of his survival he is looking towards the light which brightens the mood of the shot. Several emotions and themes are shown through the variations of the lighting. In the chosen scene the lighting is used in ways to make the story look and feel real, and also to draw viewer’s attention to the desperation of the situation in the dark canyon as well as embody character’s relief and enjoyment when he gets out of the canyon. The lighting in the scene is positioned off set while character remains down there in the canyon and it is directed downwards to give the contrasting effect to the viewer of light and dark which represents freedom and entrapment. For the first half of the scene the lighting technique used is low-key lighting. It creates stronger contrasts and sharper shadows (Bordwell 2010, p. 136). The low-key lighting...
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