Mississippi Burning - Opening Sequence Essay

Words: 1091
Pages: 5

Describe the beginning of your visual text. Explain how visual and/or verbal features make the beginning effective.

“Hatred isn’t something you’re born with, it gets taught.” In the visual text Mississippi Burning these powerful words are reflected in the opening sequence. The opening sequence is made up of three key scenes, the drinking fountain scene, the burning church scene and the chase scene. These three scenes are effective because it establishes the central theme of the film. The director, Alan Parker, uses visual and verbal techniques such as symbolism, lighting and music to portray the idea of man’s inhumanity to man.

Mississippi Burning is set in Mississippi in 1964 when there was a lot of racial tension. This small town
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This represents the loss of peace and hope in the black community. This scene is effective because it relates to the main idea, what is wrong with Mississippi, man’s inhumanity to man.

The chase scene is the final part of the opening sequence. It is effective because it introduces us to the KKK and also the main theme in this film. For the first time we see the KKK in action and their twisted views of different cultures. The scene starts with an extreme long shot of a single car on a deserted road and the only sound being crickets. This gives us a sense that the car is vulnerable as it is on its own. We are then introduced to a convoy of 3 cars and dramatic music kicks in. This music disturbs the peace like something bad is about to happen. As the convoy approaches the car the driver dismisses the group and says, “what are these jokers playing at”. He is unaware of what is going on. The black man in the back however knows exactly what’s going on and says, “Oh they ain’t playin’, you better believe it”. The black man has experienced this or heard about it before. This shows that the KKK has terrorized the black community so that they all know and fear the clan. When the KKK members step out of the car their torches shine straight into the faces of the civil right activists. This intimidates the workers and also hides the faces of the KKK. Because we don’t know whom the people getting out of the cars