Instructor Russell Evatt
March 24, 2014
Design Elements: Set it Off
From the beginning films have helped pinpoint different elements of design. Through these elements, both film critics and viewers have been able to identify with what the director is trying to convey. According to this week’s assignment, we are to choose a scene from movieclips.com and in a three to five page paper, analyze the mise-en-scène through the elements of design. This leads me to my chosen film, Set it Off. This movie is formed around an extreme bank robbery in which reveals the dwells upon the lives of four women. This film takes place the streets of Southern California and helps give inside as to how these women do any and everything just to get by and make it on their own. Because tragedy and poverty strikes the women’s’ lives, they matters into their own hands and turn to robbing banks to make an escape from the city and lifestyle they have been surrounded by for years.
The key actors in Set it Off are the following: Queen Latifah played as Cleopatra Sims (Cleo), Vivica Fox played as Francesca Sutton (Frankie), Jada Pinkett played as Lida Newsom (Stony), and Kimberly Elise played as Tisean Williams (T.T). These four childhood friends felt that the series of unfortunate events that have constantly occurred in their lives were just enough to push them over the edge and into the world of bank robbery (Polluck & Gray, 1996). This story is set to touch those who have been in these situations and give them the since that they are not alone. In the end we chose our fate and it is to us to choose the right path. “The moving picture, or film, is a powerful and complex form of visual communication that not only sets the agenda for what viewers think and talk about but also allows viewers to create and shape meaning based on what they have seen” (Ryan, 2012, p.37). Through this motion picture many elements are used to help capture each scene. In these elements of design, the direct focuses on reality and truth.
The Director’s role is to productively convert the movie's composed hand written scripts, into real life sounds and motion pictures. The director of this particular film is F. Gary Gray. In our text, “if the director is responsible for the film overall, in a general way, the cinematographer is specifically responsible for its look, in very specific, shot–by–shot terms” (Goodykoontz, 2011, p.85). This concludes that the director is accountable for the total turnout of the film. Pretty much the notion of the film is put into the hands of the director. Robb Wilson King (the production designer), Marc Reshovsky (the cinematographer), and John Marshall (the art director) of this film all helped equally throughout this film. They each helped give what exactly the director was wanting and that was an action, drama, and crime film. The film takes place in the streets of Southern California and helps give inside as to how these women do any and everything just to get by and make it on their own.
The scene I chose to analyze was when Cleopatra, played by actress Queen Latifah, was under a high-speed car chase with the police after the four women completed their bank robbery. Throughout the scene, Marc Reshovsky gives the scene everything it needs. “Dramatic scenes in films will vary the intensity and positions of the fill and back lights to suit the mood and/or to simulate the sources of light visible in the scene (table lamps, street lights, etc.)” (Goodykoontz, 2011, p.89). Through lighting and camera views, it helps give the viewers a dark feeling as if they are physically there at the law-breaking, high-speed scene pursuit. The scene takes place through an evening setting and the streetlights lights are used to highlight the entire scene. Another element was the spotlight from the helicopter shining on Cleopatra during the high pursuit chase, focusing on