TV drama: student response

Answer the question below, with detailed reference to specific examplesfrom the extract only.

Extract: Primeval Series 2 Episode 3, written by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle, dir. Jamie Payne

  1. Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of genderusing the following:
  • Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Mise-en-scene

 (50 marks)

The representation of gender in the clip given conveys interesting and thought provoking ideas and contrasts between characters.

The young women called Abbey, her character steers away from the stereotypical image of women, young women, she is portrayed as a strong and feisty female,this is evident in the shots where she is operating a mechanical machine, with much skill and efficiency also. A wide shot is used when we first see her to establish the scene and location (the woods and forest). The close ups also of the end of the digger fortifies the fact that Abbey is experienced in using such a machine again reinforcing her non stereotypicalportrayal, she is given the impression of a tomboy. The mis-en-scene used also fortifies this point, she has a short almost boyish hair cut and wears a leather jacket that makes us think of a character like Steve McQueen or perhaps “Greece”, mainly male, strong willed characters.

The fact that she also fights the Sabre-toothed Creature, saving the man’s life shows her tenacity. The shot that this portrayed through is a continuity edit. Also the wide shot of her running after the man being chased reinstates this point again, as the man, who stereotypically is supposed to be strong and courageous is in fact running and being chased, this is a contrast to the women who is running through the forest with a gun to help him for a second time! The dark shape of the gun in her hands, reiterates, power, as a gun, is in this extract, power.

The gentleman who is in a sky blue t-shirt is portrayed as more of an intelligent man, brain rather then brawn. When the sabre-tooth attacks there is a close-up of him in the hole cowering, this goes against the usual stereotypes of a man, a contrast between him and Abbey. Despite his cowering he does show an instance of courageousness, when he lures away the creature from Abbey. Despite this brave act he still is running away from the sabre tooth tiger, a continuity edit is present when he is running and also when he uses the zip wire, close ups show fear and exhaustion on his face. The fact that he also uses his belt on the zip wire again shows his brains over brawn. The mise-en-scene of his clothes convey a more stereotypical view of the man, they are neutral and earthy colours and are dirty and strained, this helps paint more of a picture of a mans man, or someone who is not afraid of getting their hands dirty.

The non-diegetic sound of the ambient sound-track helps convey the tension and fear and also helps make the pace of the action a whole lot faster, especially in the chase scene, a combination of this music and also the fast pace of the editing raises the tempo and tension. The blurring and wipes Xbetween each edit gives the action the impression that it is too fast to see and fortifies the fact that the creature is very fast. The music becomes slower, but is ramped up with tension as (sounds?) drove on through the scene with the man with the shotgun, creating a sense of dread and anticipation! This along with the wide shot and the man’s face, riddled with anger and malice, conveys a tension filled shot.

The man who is wearing pink attire is portrayed as more of a pretty boy, lover not a fighter, the pink colour is more common to girls, women therefore gives him an air of effeminacy. The rest of the cast wear mainly earthy colours or smart suits etc, whereas he wears feminine colours turning the stereotypical image of a man on its head. The fact that he also doesn’t have a gun and instead, quite comically pulls a spade out, whereas the other two people in the shot both have guns, one a man and the other a women, this gives the impression that the women is almost more reliable than the man wearing pink.

The wide shot showing the tree in the barn gives a very theatrical feel to it, almost tries to emulate a sense of bravado and coolness that other films use e.g. the opening shot of Reservoir Dogs. Also the fact that there are three of them may portray symbolic qualities, like the three musketeers etc.

The lady who is talking to the gentleman who breeds dogs is portrayed as a pristine, more of a stereotypical view of a lady. This is conveyed through the sequence “My Best Coat”! This provides a clear insight into her personality. She is strong whilst using words but when the man pulls out a gun a close up reveals her devastation and fear. Even the colour of the ladies “Best Coat” is white, which provides the thought of purity and pristine.

The over the shoulder shot and the cross cut editing reveals the rising anger of the gentleman breeding the dogs. He is weak when the pristine women threatens him but has much more power when he picks up the gun. The line “won’t be pushed around anymore” indicates his explosion of anger. The diegetic noise of the barking dogs also convey a sense of threat and hysteria. This shot conveys the power of a weapon and also the power of words and how gender can be powerful.

This extract turns a lot of ideas mostly stereotypical views of gender on its head, which therefore gives the viewer an interesting watch.

Level 4
Explanation/analysis/argument 20 20
Use of examples 20 17
Use of terminology 10 7
Total 50 44

 

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