Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bi-Monthly Frame: April (#2)


Movie: Monty Python's Life of Brian
Director: Terry Jones 
Shot type: Full Shot (low angle)

Synopsis: [Spoilers] Brian(off camera), the main character, in an attempt to escape the Romans, poses as prophet. What Brian doesn't suspect is that people actually start believing in him. With his now found popularity Brian is again attracting attention and now must escape a crowd of devoted followers as well as the Romans. While awkwardly running away, Brian loses a sandal and his sheep like admirers take the sandal to be sacred.

Why I like it: This sequence in Life of Brian sums up the irrational tendencies of man caused by religion and the eagerness of the weak minded to follow whatever leader presents answers that appeal to them, while wrapping it all nicely in a comedic ballet of artful composition. The most important piece of the sequence, the shoe, is centered and anchors the focus of the frame. While the shoe commands the power in the shot, the followers' faces are also in focus so as to show the expressions of wonderment, bewilderment, and mindless devotion to something sacred to them, but utterly ridiculous to the audience. The actors are also placed to give a sense of depth in the crowd, furthering the feeling of a sheep like collective. While Michael Palin's character is in the front, it feels as if he and the rest of the followers are almost connected to each other like one mindless creature. Higher comedy is achieved in this shot because, while incredibly outlandish and comical, this shot also satirizes the extremes of society in modern times. A strong social comment, combined with excellently crafted comedic situation, displayed with a pure visually appealing cinematic composition, set this shot on a highly intellectual level and at the same time make people laugh.   

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