Tuesday, 30 September 2014

7. Case Study - The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing is mainly an observational documentary, however it shows several aspects of reflexive and performative. It is observational because there is minimal communication between the filmmaker and the audience, also the way it is filmed fits in with the conventions of an observational documentary. The shots used are simple, close ups, extended length of a single shot and pans. All shot types bring the emotions of Anwar Congo to their most impactful potential. The use of a close up when he is crying makes the audience feel emotionally linked to the documentary. Extended shots are used to highlight the more important moments of the documentary, for instance, the filmmaker uses extended shots in the torture scenes to make them have a bigger impact on the audience. The documentary has sub-genres, one being reflexive. This is because the audience are made aware that there are representations of real events within the film. The filmmaker asked the subjects to re-create the actions they took in the years of 1965-66, and by doing this they made the documentary have a performative sub genre.

Anwar Congo (Right) dressing up ready to re enact the burning of a village. Notice his face coming across very happy, this is not something you would have expected after seeing what he has done in the past.

Joshua Oppenheimer was in Indonesia for 8 years and over that period of time he built up a relationship with the subject, Anwar Congo. You can tell this because at the beginning of the documentary Congo seemed very proud of all the horrific things he had done, showing extremely little remorse for the actions he took. Contrasting this, towards the end of the documentary he broke down in tears after visiting the place where he carried out the torture and killings. This clearly conveyed the difference in relationship between Joshua and Anwar, as he became more comfortable with his company he felt he could show how he truly felt. Another way in which their relationship evolved was with the way Anwar Congo and his accomplices referred to Joshua Oppenheimer. At first they called him by his full name "Joshua" and throughout the documentary they began calling him "Josh" which shows how the relationship was at first more of a work client, and then progressing into more of a friendship. This helped the documentary because the audience could see the progression of how Anwar Congo felt about the scenario before meeting Joshua Oppenheimer and after he had known him for 8 years.

The documentary was created to portray the events of the 1965-66 in Indonesia, to do this he asked the subjects to re-create the actions to make into a big "Hollywood" film. When they re-create the events they try to make it as near to real as possible, for example, when they wanted to film a scene of which they are burning down a small village that belongs to Chinese people, they actually used a real village and forced the residents to leave just for the purpose of the film. This makes the documentary look as though not much has actually changed since that time period, the "Gangsters" are still in power and still use force to get what they want.

The documentary was originally put together to sway the minds of those who worked for the government in that time, to make them realise that what they had done was horrific and wrong. One of the quotes from Joshua Oppenheimer was "You celebrate mass killing so you don't have to look yourself in the mirror." so he wanted the subjects to stop hiding the fact that what they did was wrong.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

7. 5x Ideas Mindmap

1st Idea:
The shot will open with a cowering child, alone in the cold and darkness of his abandoned mud hut. From the left side of the hut the word "Disease" floats in and starts attacking the child. To show that he is attacking the child he will have arms and he will be wielding a small dagger. As he swings for the child a stick figure will swoop in, with a pound coin as a shield and a rolled up bank note as a sword. He will slice the disease in half and it will fall on the floor. Then more words like "poverty" and "conflict" where they will attack the stick figure and he will strike them down with his sword. After they are all defeated he picks up the child and flies off and gets bigger and bigger until he fills the entire screen, then turns into the "Save the Children" logo. Due to the fact that we need the emotion to really hit the audience we will focus on using close ups of the child's face, and occassional long shots to get some of the setting in the animation.

2nd Idea:
For this idea we will be using a whiteboard. The shot will start with a plain whiteboard, a finger will enter from the bottom and draw a stick man and a hut that he is living in. The stick man will have nothing with him and he will be sad. All of a sudden, coins start falling from the roof of the hut, then bank notes and later food. The whole screen gets filled up with money and food and it gets swiped away and the stick man is in a new house with a family and a homely pet. After that the text "One Pound a Month can... Save the Children" then the logo will slide on from the left side. For this the camera angles will generally be straight on, and the shot types will vary from mid shot and wide shots, there are not really any main characters in this so the emotion will not need to be conveyed as thouroughly.

3rd Idea:
Our third idea starts with a boy cowering in fear with the words conflict, disease and poverty surrounding him. A five pound note suddenly swoops in and knocks the words to the floor. the boy jumps on to the magic carpet/five pound note and it flies him to the save the children headquarters. The shot follows them but ends up freezing and fading to black when the 'save the children' logo is in view. Within this we will be using lots of close ups, again to emphasise the emotion of the child and have maximum impact on the audience. Also there will be some longshots, to show the action of the combat between the heros and the villains.

4th Idea:

The setting is a desert, with a single cactus. Tumbleweed rolls by and bounces across the screen. Suddenly money falls from part of the sky, building a part of the land. First making a water tower, followed by numerous houses being built. Again, money falls from the sky on a different side of the screen and a school is built by the money. Finally, a Save the Children tent gets built right in the centre and people come in from either side looking happy with their new community. Slowly fades to black and the title and tag line appears. Due to the fact that there are no characters in this I will mainly use long and wide shots, this is because this is the only way we will be able to fit the town in the screen borders without cutting anything out. Occasionally we will have a closer shot of a single building falling, just to add a bit of variation, rather than having the same thing happening for 30 seconds.

5th Idea:
There will be a character who takes a journey to the well on a daily basis. The video will emphasise the fact that he travels an extremely long time to get to the well, so we will show several different locations, displaying the extremely long travel time. Some of these include, a mountain, desert, forest. Although you wouldn't find these locations in Africa, it really emphasises the length of the journey. Hopefully this will be successful in helping the audience understand the struggle children have to face in the troublesome world. We will try to keep the camera shots to a structure wide/long shot, as to enable the audience to see all of the terrain that the character has to tackle. We will also use close ups to emphasise the characters struggles of the harsh terrain, this will make the audience more emotionally attatched to the advert, hopefully persuading them to donate.