The opening montage serves to establish the character of the neighbourhood, its getting and atmosphere as well as introducing self expressions and identity. The director’s choice to create the montage is to suggest that neighbourhood residents seek personal identity through self expression, conveyed mainly by outward appearance in contrast to the self expression of Forrester and Jamal who use their talents for communicating ideas as means of conveying individuality.
The pigeons appear as an aspect of the neighbourhood, as a subsequent shot. The pigeons also provide both a metaphor and symbolism for freedom and escape. In addition a bird motif also relates to the them of entrapment as opposed to freedom. This is effective as it forshadows that both the main characters will move from their own worlds into another.
The close up shot of Jamal’s books in his room. Conveys he has a liking towards books, and he has knowledge and intelligence. This affirms the stereotypes of a black athlete preoccupied with basketball. Jamal’s language, appeanace and choosing basketball and hanging with his mates over school works shows that he is doing that because of peer pressure. He hides his intelligence when he is with his friends. This is effective to the audience as one may be able to relate to Jamal’s position because sometimes it is hard to do what you really want, without being judged. Just like Rita, who gets her books burned form her husband Denny. These are obstacles that people face.
The invasion of Forrester’s apartment. Are the first of transition. The wide angle where he enters the building to see the baseball photos, a knife and books. He steals the knife and admires the books for a long time, which seem more riveting. This conveys that he doesn’t want to conform to the black stereotype, and wants to change. Suddenly when Forrester comes out of hiding, Jamal drops his books. The director’s purpose of this scene is so that maybe Forrester will read Jamal’s journals. This again is another step of transitioning.
After Forrester has thrown Jamal’s bag out the window, the extreme close up shot of Jamal reading Forrester’s edits in his journals, conveys that Forrester wants to help him also. This makes it effective to the reader, as they are able to understand how one is not always able to take the last few steps unless there is someone there along the way with them.
Jamal gets accepted into a private school, and more educated world. Where people are interested in sport as much as they are into their education. He meets a girl, named Claire who happens to be the only one to associate her self with him. In basketball practice Jamal; gets shoved over by one of the boys. This also supports Claire’s cynical view on the…