Monday, 13 September 2010

American Beauty Homework

To Write 200-300 words analysing mise-en-scene, camera angles, sounds in the opening sequence of 'American Beauty'

American Beauty is a film directed by Sam Mendes made in 1999. The plot follows an American family living in the suburbs. It portrays the idea of the picture perfect family, but behind the pretend smiles, the movie tells the real story of this family. An angry daughter, a real estate mother and a father who gets attracted to his daughter's best friend.

The sequence opens up with one of the characters filming on a camcorder of the daughter. We also hear the tape of the camera re-winding which also let's the audience know that this is shot by an amateur. We see the daughter wearing simple bottoms and a vest top. By what she is wearing, the viewers start to see that she is comfortable with showing skin in front of the character she's talking to. This suggests that they may be involved or together.

We then move on to see the title of the movie, 'American Beauty' in red. The red could be foreshadowing the roses to come and the death of the father.

A long shot was then used to show the neighbourhood of the suburbs, we see nice houses with trees on the side of the roads and white picket fences in the front lawn.

As the camera moves further into the sequence, we have a high shot from the ceiling looking down at a father being woken up by his alarm in a king bed. On the other side of the bed, we see that there was someone else who was sleeping there. Which suggest that he's either married or seeing someone. Then we have a close up of his face, he held a tired expression, like he was tired with his life and waking up to another was a burden.

In conclusion, Sam Mendes has used different camera angles, sounds and mise-en-scene in the opening sequence to give the audience a glimpse in their mind of what is to come.

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