- How did the script introduce the narrative (story), setting, time period, the characters and the genre?
Using a superimpose caption, the writers introduce the year as 1815, after the French revolution as Napoleon has fallen and France is ruled by a new king. The next part gives us very rich insight into where the film is set, it tells us of the port in Toulon and how the naval war ships are fighting against nature. This gives us a depressing sort of atmosphere, which suits the next part of the script. The weather plays a big part in introducing the character called Jean Valjean, it tells of how he just stands there as he is up to his waist in water, walking in rhythm with everyone else but he is resilient to the lashing rain. They call him a ‘great brute of a man’ which proves his resilience to the weather. The singing then comes in and clearly sets the genre as only musicals really have parts in films that are like this, the singing also sets the narrative as it links heavily to and is sung by the prisoners that are under the command of Javert.
- How did it engage you?
Firstly, it engages me by giving me a very detailed and good description of the weather and the location of the place. It gives me a good indication of the poor conditions that the prisoners are enduring; it gave me a sense of empathy and put me in the prisoners’ position. As the script moves on, it reaches a climax of tension where we are given a deep description of this brute of a man, doing his job and completely ignoring the weather, this engages me with the harshness of some of these men as they are some real hardcore prisoners. The sheer presence of Jean Valjean was enough to engage me because of the way he acts, for example ‘Valjean stares back for a beat, defying him. Then he drops down into the seething water and re-emerges with the great mast in his hands. You can picture in your head this big man lugging this huge ships mast from the water.
- How did the film clip introduce the narrative (story), setting, time period, the characters and the genre?
The film clip follows the script almost exactly, the biggest introduction to the time period and setting, it uses text that is quite big and in the middle of the screen which reads ‘1815 26 years after the start of the French revolution A king is once again on the throne of France’ Another good indication of the time period is the way the prisoner are linked with heavy chains and are forced to pull in a warship that uses a sail, this is a good indication that it is pre-industrial revolution. It firstly sets the narrative, I believe, with the camera slowly but surely zooming in on Jean and watching him endure the weather with great power, and as he starts singing we get an even deeper view on the narrative because it is confirmed that he is a prisoner. The characters are introduced in ways that have been used in movies for years, when Jean is introduced to us; the camera gives us a quick look and then swoops away as he gets battered by the waves which show how he isn’t very powerful at all at this moment in time. Contrasting with that, Javert is introduced with this slow zoom from below him which suggests status and power and the light that is behind him seems to be breaking up the storm which suggests he is kind of omnipotent. With the camera being very much focused on these two, the narrative gets clearer because we know that there is something between these two.
- How did it engage you?
Firstly, it engaged my by the strong orchestral music that plays as the text rolls off of the screen, this music is very powerful and brings my thoughts right to the man in the next few shots. The music is very tense and creates a good strong atmosphere that does Jean justice of his size and stature. The music also fits the lyrics that come in because they describe the hard life of a prisoner. The way the weather doesn’t affect the prisoners engages me very well because I know that it would definitely affect me but I still empathise with them and imagine how I would do. The shot types are also very engaging because they provide a wide variety of perceptions of the scene in front of us, it puts us in the shoes of different people and this means we get to see what is going on from many different angles and it produces many different views and feelings, purely because of the shot types. The fact that it is musical in itself is very engaging because you can join in with the songs and sometimes it is a lot easier to portray emotions and scenes through music and lyrics.