Essay about Micro-Analysis of Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity' - Opening sequence

Submitted By JakLongstaff
Words: 1765
Pages: 8

Micro-Analysis of Alfonso Cuarón’s ’Gravity’ – Opening Scene
In this micro analysis I will be looking at the film ‘Gravity’ (2013) directed by Alfonso Cuarón, met with universal acclaim from critics who praised the acting (especially Sandra Bullock's performance), direction, screenplay, cinematography, visual effects, production design, the use of 3D, and Steven Price's musical score. Gravity won seven nominations at the 86th Academy Awards: for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Alfonso Cuarón won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, and the film was also nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Actress - Drama for Bullock and Best Original Score.
The scene I am analysing is the first scene in the film, lasting just over 12 minutes, after the brief titles conclude. I will be focusing on Cinematography and Sound. Two huge factors that make up films and are vitally important to their success. As the film begins, the first image we are presented with is fully black. With only text displayed telling the audience facts about space. These include; the height above the planet (600km) and the temperature (fluctuates between 258 and -148 degrees Fahrenheit). Before transitioning to the next image by fading to black then back from black. Giving the audience a real sense of darkness in space itself.
The next image we are presented with is also black, with more facts appearing on screen one by one. The non-diegetic sound in the background is gradually increasing in volume as the time progresses. There is a deep bass to the music with an eerie tone to it. This represents the danger of the facts being shown. After 22 seconds of the film, the sound is already very loud and with every passing second a high pitched tone is growing ever louder as this shot finally reads: . ‘THERE IS NOTHING TO CARRY SOUND . NO AIR PRESSURE . NO OXYGEN’ Fading into and out of black, in the next shot there is one line of text shown, reading ‘LIFE IN SPACE IS IMPOSSIBE’. The music is now very loud with a clearly present screeching growing extremely loud to reveal the title of the film in very large typography positioned in the centre of the screen; GRAVITY. At this point, audio is at maximum percentage with the audience struggling to hear anything but the film, creating masses of tension and gripping viewers before the film has even properly started.
And then, all at once, the music comes to an immediate halt. Leaving audiences motionless and silent – paralleling the senses of space. This quick dynamic change in sound from extremely sound to completely silent, grasps audience’s attention and creates a great sense of tension. The establishing shot of the film is of Earth. Using the rule of thirds, Cuarón envisages the very bright planet taking up two thirds of the screen, leaving one third for the darkness of space. This lasts for ten seconds before we start to vaguely hear our first diegetic sounds.
Still very quiet, we begin to hear very light noises of what seem to be related to spacecraft’s, and more prominently, Houston contacting the astronauts. This audio continues to increase on volume, until we realise that the spacecraft orbiting Earth is coming into frame by an extreme long shot growing, eventually into a medium shot. The now prominent spacecraft slowly growing ever bigger is now…