Question: Analyse how a sense of hope or despair was developed for a particular purpose in the visual or oral text(s).
In the film “The Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont there was a strong sense of hope developed for the characters in two specific scenes, the rooftop scene and the music scene. In The Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufresne is the main character and he is sentenced with two consecutive life terms in prison for murdering his wife and her lover, however Andy was not the man who committed this crime. In the rooftop and the music scene we are able to see the men discover a sense of hope, the sense of hope was reinforced by the three cinematographic techniques, lighting, sound, and voice narration. The purpose of hope was developed so that us as an audience were able to see that the smallest sense of hope can be restored even when you are institutionalised.
The cinematographic technique lighting was used in the music and the rooftop scene to develop a sense of hope for the characters. The directors purpose of this scene was to help educate us as an audience that even when you are locked behind bars and institutionalised your are able to experience the slightest sense of hope. Both scenes begun with no clouds in the sky and a sudden increase of bright tones and colour definition of the inmates faces, this was an unusual way to open up the scene because previously we have only ever seen the lighting to be dark and gloomy. This automatically put the audience in a positive mood because we were able to see the prisoners in a different light which helped us see there hope increasing. Usually we associate clear skies and bright tones to represent clarity and a clean slate, this was the directors idea when shooting this scene to relate it back to the audience opinions and visions so we were clearly able to understand the purpose of hope. Specifically in the rooftop scene we are slowly able to see the bleak and unbreakable walls of shawshank dissolve away, as the prisoners get a glance of a life with freedom and purpose which helps them hold hope for the day they are free.Lighting was effectively used to help us see the prisoners enjoying a taste of freedom as they bathed in the sun drinking a cold beer at the end of a hard day of work, the inmates faces were lit up by golden sun rays, we were able to see every curve and wrinkle on their faces due to the intense lighting directed on their faces, this was uplifting for the inmates as they were able to feel free and have a sense of hope that one day they will be able to do this more often. In the music scene when Andy is granted with approval for his library his face begins to glow with light focused on him whilst the background is dark and blurred. The significance of this lighting helps us comprehend that Andy is granted with a sense of achievement which ultimately helps restore his hope for eventual freedom. From feeling these small senses of hope we are able to see as an audience the characters building in confidence and hope to one day find freedom and that although they are in-prisoned they are still able to experience the slightest sense of hope. The directors idea was to help imply the purpose in both scenes to help educate us that it is not impossible to experience a sense of hope in the most institutionalised setting.
The cinematographic technique sound was used in both the music and the rooftop scene to establish a sense of hope for the characters. The directors purpose was to help expand our knowledge and visions of being institutionalised and still being able to experience a sense of hope. The director uses music strongly to help us see this idea. For example when Andy was left in the wardens office alone he decided to play the vinyl over the loud speaker so that not only he could experience this sense of hope but every man in Shawshank could. As soon as the music begun to play every man in Shawshank froze as the soothing sounds of “the marriage of figaro” soared further then the compound and further than any man in shawshank could imagine. The song was an Italian opera sung by two women, the song was able to stop every man in Shawshank from what they were doing, including the guards. This represents that it was not only able to work as an escape from reality for the inmates but also the guards as they are in a way still trapped in the unbreakable walls of Shawshank.The director successfully used music as an escape for the prisoners because music is known to have an inspirative power to take over ones mind to help them escape the reality they are facing. Ultimately this was a very successful method to help us as an audience see clearly that playing this music was able to give the prisoners a sense of hope. A lot of us do this to help take are mind off reality and stress we are facing in our own lives, therefore we were able to relate things back to ourselves so that as an audience we understood the characters. The rooftop scene begun with a harmonica as the background song, by opening with this we straight away had hope as an audience that the prisoners were gonna have some sense of hope and freedom in the upcoming shots. This was because we had already had many shots before this scene with Andy playing his harmonica to help him feel the slightest tastes of freedom. By opening the seen with this the director was implying that the prisoners were going to experience a sense of hope and freedom in the upcoming shots. As the scene continues the men freely bathe in the sun drinking their beer after a hard day of work in the rooftop scene the background music being played was a soothing slow song that helped enlighten the mood of the prisoners as they experience an unreal sense of hope and freedom. By combining music to this scene it only guided us to believe that it is possible to feel a sense of hope no matter how institutionalised you may be and that music is an advisable technique for an escape from reality.
The cinematographic technique voice narration was used in both the rooftop scene and the music scene to help us as an audience recognise the authors purpose of being able to feel a sense of hope in the most institutionalised setting thinkable. For example in the music scene as Andy plays the music for all the men in Shawshank over the loud speaker, they all stood in awe as they were able to escape from reality for a second and finally feel a sense of hope and freedom. We were able to understand this by Reds non-diegetic narration “for the briefest of moments every last man in shawshank felt free”. By Red narrating this dialogue it represented that not only all the men in Shawshank but Red the one with the least urgency for hope and freedom felt free in this moment. This was uplifting for us as an audience to see as we were able to establish the men embracing every sense of freedom and hope they could get. It was clear the directors purpose in this scene was to help educate us and show us that although these men are in-prisoned they are able to feel a sense of hope for the slightest of moments to help them get through it. In the rooftop scene we were able to hear Red non-diegetic narrate once again as the men are drinking a cold beer at the end of hard day of work, he quoted “we sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men, hell we could have been tarring the roof on one of our own houses”. Ultimately this quote has shown us that the men have an even stronger sense of hope in this scene and were able to experience drinking a cold beer in the sun after a hard day of work, this is a huge moment for the men because this is usually a tradition only free men partake in. Red related it back to “tarring the roof on one of there own houses”, we are able to see by this narration that Red and the men felt so free that its almost like they are working on there own home. However they are in a sense because the prison is there home for many years, the inmates are almost beginning to use the smallest of opportunities that they are given to feel the slightest satisfaction in feeling a sense of hope and freedom. The reason the director has done this is to help us understand that no matter how institutionalised you are you can still feel the slightest sense of help to get you through it, this has been reinforced by the cinematographic technique voice narration in both scenes.
In conclusion the film “The Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont, this film presents a fresh insight into the idea of being institutionalised (in this case in-prisoned) a person can be they are still able to feel the slightest sense of hope and experience moments of freedom. The directors purpose was reinforced by the three main cinematographic techniques lighting, sound, and voice narration. These techniques were a major roll in helping us as an audience understanding the directors purpose that no matter how institutionalised your are you can always escape from reality and feel a sense of hope and freedom. This film has left a lasting impression on me because it has shown me that no matter how trapped i may feel there are ways to feel a sense of hope and freedom. It is inspiring that these men were in prison but by the smallest moments of freedom they were able to restore their hope until they were released. Overall the directors purpose throughout these two scenes was very interesting and educating to us as an audience and we were able to learn a lot about hope and freedom by the key cinematographic techniques reinforcing Frank’s purpose.