Fernando MerazFilm 100ProfessorPersley7 December 2017Compare & Contrast Essay Directed by Mike Nichols, The Graduate, and the film beingreleased on 1967, Nichols won the Academy Award for Best Director for that film(IMDb).
Using the zoom out as a perfect lead in to Ben’s home from college. Theopening shot is a close-up on Ben’s face, taking up the entire screen he looksworried, thoughtful would be a good word for that scene. The zoom out thenshows that he’s just one of many sitting on a plane, but with the close-up heis the center of attention, then with the zoom out he appears small in relationto the world. The elements of the zoom technique, the zoom magnifies andwithdraws are a perfect parallel to Ben’s struggles. In combination with theclose-up the zoom heightens the sense of Ben in the beginning scenes.
Hedoesn’t move and neither does the camera it is only the zoom of the lens thatmakes him appear larger and closer. Nichols conventional passing of timetechniques used in this films, blurring Ben’s summer activities from home tohotel room, surprising audiences and also showing that the director knows whathe is doing. In his roomwith the fish tank and by the swimming pool of his parent’s suburban home, wesee a “small world” of Ben’s experience in relationship to his parents andhome. The fish tank in Ben’s bedroom and the swimming pool in the next scenesfunction in combination with the zoom.
They compound the sense we have of Ben’semotional turmoil and his sense of helplessness, both exemplified by the waterand enclosures that give a sense of entrapment. A close up of Ben’s facestraight on with a fish tank clearly visible behind his head, has us face Ben’shead on suggesting that he is like “a fish out of water.” He has no idea why hehas returned home and wants to hide in his room while his parents have a party.The use of weather comes into play in pool scene, having a point of view shotof which his parents are highly overexposed. When observing from Ben’s perspectivethe sun is obstructing the shot this bright light makes the viewer not see thescene perfectly. This sense of discomfort is effective because it helps theaudience feel the extreme discomfort that Ben is feeling at this moment andonce again justify Ben’s decision in the next scene to call Mrs. Robinson. Thefilm has an aspect ratio of 2.
35:1 and a format of 35mm (IMDb). The pace of thefilm would be sometimes rapid because Ben is out of sorts having come back fromcollege and he doesn’t really know what he should with is life. Yet Ben wishesthat the moments he were with Mrs. Robinson would be slowed down so he can takein the moment. The whole entire film is a realization of what college graduatescome home to realize that it can take time to find a job and have to stragglethrough the slow days to find that one opportunity. With the combination of rockrecording, The Graduate, takes awaythe diegetic sounds from the soundtrack, making the silence surrounds therecording.
It also allows for diegetic sounds to overlap the filming, makingthe audience’s perception of the song be interfered. Nichols leave moments ofsilence around the film and at other moments the films diegetic sounds overlapseach other. An example of this would be a woman at Ben’s graduation partyyells, “Quiet Please”, as she prepares to read out Ben’s college yearbookaccolades. No other voice besides hers was talking at the moment only thewhispering and small talk that were going around her.
The viewer is brought upagainst the idea that there are things; even the sounds going on in the film,which she must of, imagined since they weren’t in the frame of the picture. When”Sounds of Silence” is going on in the opening credits, male voices announcethe airport procedures, Nichols overlaps the first recording he uses with themovie’s voice track in a way to describe the nature of the film. A completeoverlapping of diegetic sound by rock music occurs when Ben and Elaine go to adrive in to talk. In that moment a existing song is playing in the background,playing so loud that the characters have a hard time hearing each other and forus to hear them talking. The couple solution is to put up the cars rooftop andtalk more in private, and sound out any other on going conversation going on atthe drive-in. The song “The Sounds of Silence” formed an explicit link betweenmusic and alienation of Ben. It represents how Ben’s moods contrast aconventional style that indicates the aggressively upbeat behavior of Ben’sparents’ generation. Each time the song is played something follows by and thena moment of silence.
The opening scene of the film contains no music but onlythe sound of the engine, followed by the slow beginning of the song. Anotherexample would be when Ben is sitting by the fish tank, were his own breathingtakes over the sound of the scene. Sound overlaps occur in the film the levelof actor’s voices, especially at moments when there is stress on Ben in hisassumption of a male role in his life. There are also several instances ofdialogue spoken at once. Do the Right Thing, produced,written, and directed by Spike Lee is a day in the life of a Brooklynneighborhood with racial tensions contained within in year 1989 (IMDb).
Thisfilm highlights the dynamics of a modern urban neighborhood through a castof distinct personalities within the film. The Graduate is a 1967American comedy and drama film directed by Mike Nichols. Ben hasrecently graduated from college, with his parents now expecting great thingsfrom him. Two similarities between the films are the use of songs throughoutthe film to pace the rhythm and have a symbolic meaning of each film. In Do the Right Thing, the opening scenewith the women dancing aggressively using unique outfits while “Fight thePower” is playing sets a violent and intense tone.
As for The Graduate, meeting Ben to the song of,”The Sounds of Silence,” and then throughout much of the filmBenjamin remains unclear and isolated from the world. Many scenes in themovie especially in the first half hour or so Ben’s feelings of withdrawal andsolitude are shown. Benjamin feels cut off from the world, unable tocommunicate or talk about what is wrong. Radio Raheem directly contrasts thepersonality of Mister Senor Love Daddy with his never-ending stream of”Fight the Power” out of his boom box. His boss presence isclearly felt and even the camera angles make him appear larger.
Raheemtells a story with his brass knuckles love and hate in which the conflictbetween the two is intense but in the end love comes out victorious. Differencesin both films are the use of montage, in film is often used to depict thesetting of a particular scene. In one scene, to display the heat of the summerthat the Brooklyn residents were enduring, Spike Lee uses a montage of thedifferent methods residents used to try and cool off. This montage also portraysthe heat as harsh and weak in the regard that people are having a hard timegoing through their daily routines. We can see a shot of one person taking coldshowers cutting to another person sticking their face in ice-cold water-filledsinks to another person sticking their head in their freezer, men downing beerin an attempt to cool off, a person sticks their face directly in front of afan, and lastly we see the camera cut to newspaper headlines entitled, “AScorcher”, “Record Heat Wave Hits City”, “2 Hot 4 U?” and “Oh Boy,Baked Apple.” Nichols use of mysterious tone during the film with his use oflighting, camera angles, and some shadows. Ben’s unsure feelings can be seen fromthe start as he stands on the moving sidewalk at the airport, positioning himat the right hand side of the screen moving forward. I think the director choosethis technique for the opening credits to symbolize how this graduate isarriving at a new destination having much uncertainty.
As for the use of darkrooms; the director shows Ben’s room as dark and shadowy to parallel hispersonality, which throughout the film he grows more confidence in expressinghis emotions to Elaine (IMDb). Throughout the film, Lee uses tilted frames, dollyshots, tight close ups, high and low angles, parallelism (Moose). Themis-en-scene that Lee uses something as simple as a character’s choice in ashirt to signify the racial difference, the white character who stepped on Buggin’Out’s sneaker is wearing a Larry Bird jersey, who was a well-known whitebasketball player at the time.
Buggin Out’s friend has on a Magic Johnsonjersey, a well-known African American basketball player. The tension betweenMother Sister and the Mayor was shown through a tilted frame. While the shotwent back and forth between the two, the frame was tilted.
Mother Sister is madwith Mayor’s daily use of alcohol. The tilted frame shows how Mother Sisterthinks she is above Mayor while the camera shoots her from a lower angle whileshe sits on her porch. Some symbolism that Nichols introduces us to the patternof black-and-white stripes, they first appear as the vertically stripedwallpaper in Ben’s room, resembling jail bars of his parents’ black and whiteexistence.
Next, we see that the Robinsons have a black and white striped awning.Then, we see that Ben’s own parents have a black and white striped overhang; thisis all in contrast to Ben’s colorful, diagonally striped tie. Nichols used thecamera in an innovative way with this film, and told the story in visually andnarratively creative ways.
Nichols’ camera work revealed the emotionalsubstance of the story and its characters, so that the viewer always feels alignedwith the story. Tightly close ups align us with the characters and clue us into the emotional delicacy of their states of mind. Claustrophobic and tightshots illustrate the claustrophobia and confinement that Ben feels in hissituation. Another notable element of Nichols’ direction is his freedom withtone, switching rapidly between dramatic and comedic. The Graduate cementedhis place at the table and the beginnings of an incredible career as an artistand storyteller. Do The Right Thingis a visually and politically expressive African-American film, which retainsthe power to entertain, shock and provoke thought in equal measure (Moose).
Itis also shows how costume design can dramatically influence the look and feelof a film, and serve to bring us closer to its characters like if we wereseeing a film from our on neighborhood.Works Cited”Do the Right Thing(1989).” IMDb, IMDb.
com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0097216/?ref_=nv_sr_1. “The Graduate(1967).
” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0061722/?ref_=ttspec_spec_tt. “The Graduate(1967).” The Film Spectrum, thefilmspectrum.com/?p=4713.
Moose. “FilmAnalysis.” Do the Right Thing, 1 Jan. 1970,csfilmanalysis.blogspot.