Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

This clip from Pride and Prejudice uses filming and editing techniques to beautifully relay the tension that exists between Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). Director Joe Wright, editor Paul Tothill, and cinematographer Roman Osin do a fantastic job of placing the camera and putting the scenes together in such a way that dialogue seems unnecessary; one feels that the emotional war that goes on in this scene could be told completely through camera placement and focus.  This is especially evident during the part where Mr. Darcy finally reveals his feelings for Elizabeth. In this scene, the camera does not focus on Darcy as he speaks, but rather on Elizabeth, allowing the audience to read her face and know what she is feeling and by doing so, adds to the emotional impact of the scene. However, when Elizabeth and Darcy begin to argue, the camera quickly switches back and forth between Elizabeth and Darcy; the fast paced movements give the audience the feeling that they are caught up in an argument themselves. However, despite this, the audience is never allowed to actually participate in the argument. Throughout this scene, when the camera focuses on either Elizabeth or Darcy, it is always situated behind the shoulder of the other character. This effect allows the audience to witness firsthand the argument, but, because the camera is behind the characters, the audience cannot to take the perspective of either character. Thus, the audience cannot side with either Elizabeth or Darcy, but instead can only witness the emotional pain that one character causes to the other. Eventually, when Elizabeth and Darcy’s argument slows down, the camera lingers on each character, allowing the audience to glimpse the extent of the pain and sadness that both characters feel but are afraid to admit to one another. The sadness and loneliness is cemented into place in the final scene, where a wide-angle shot shows Mr. Darcy walking away and leaving Elizabeth completely alone.

Link to my video annotations of the scene: Pride and Prejudice Annotations

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