Shotgun Stories: Funeral Scene
Jeff Nichols has mastered leveraging cinematography and mise en scene in his 2007 film, Shotgun Stories. The film in its entirety is very visually striking. The characters and sets are arranged in interesting and unique ways and each shot could translate to a powerful still image. The way in which the camera captures the dialogue between the characters emphasizes the duality that exists between the characters and within themselves. One scene that particularly emphasizes the themes expressed in this story is the funeral scene where Son condemns his late father for the other side of his family to witness. The scene opens by establishing the setting for the funeral. Nichols sets the mood for the scene with a cloudy sky set over a wide shot of the graveyard where the service is taking place. The scene is visually flat due to the grey tonality but there is still depth provided by the range in distance from the van at the front of the frame to the row of trees in the very back. Son, Kid and Boy arrive to the service late and underdressed. This sets the tone for the feelings, or lack thereof, they possess for their late father. They approach the service while the camera has positioned the father’s other family in the foreground and the three brothers are seen out-of-focus walking in from the background. This perhaps is to accentuate how the other family was always the focus to the father while Son, Kid and Boy were overshadowed. You can immediately identify that the two-sides of the family are handling the father’s death very differently. The mourning side of the family is arranged in a straight line, taking up the entire frame. They are all wearing similar sad faces and have a sense of unity. They actually seem like a family while the other three boys could be seen as a group of miscreants. The contrast between their alternating white and black attire adds a nice balance to an otherwise grey-toned frame. When Son and his two...
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