Friday, January 12, 2007

In The Cut

In The Cut (2003) directed by Jane Campion is an incredible film both for its cinematography and its use of eyes. Campion uses both as tools to embellish the film’s plot. One of the most intense and graphic films I have ever seen, In The Cut is literally a piece of art. The way the camera shoots the actors, the facial expressions of the actors, and even the lighting in the film add to its overall success.
Campion makes many strong decisions in the film that make watching it difficult but looking away impossible. Her use of natural light, harsh light, allows her to play with the mood of her film. Pauline’s (Jennifer Jason Lee) apartment, Frannie’s (Meg Ryan) apartment, the Bars, the streets, and even the police station are all lit with this incredible light that both washes the characters out as well as giving them an air of mystery like everything is happening in the shadows. This use of light helps to establish the dingy, sweltering, unforgiving atmosphere of New York City in the summer. This atmosphere in turn provides the perfect setting for Campion’s film. It is hot, it is dangerous, and it is impersonal. It also highlights the desperation of Ryan’s character. Like a time bomb her situation is ready to explode, the audience knows this, they can see it in the shaky movements and quick cuts of the camera, they can hear it in the heightened sound of the film, and they are simply waiting at the edges of their seats for that horrible moment to come.
Campion uses tactics like these took keep her audience guessing. In this film nothing is for sure until the credits start to roll. She keeps her audience guessing, and they never quite know who to trust. This aspect of her film posses a powerful statement on modern society. Even in a culture where men and women are supposedly equals their exists a strong misogynistic undertone that is violent and manipulative.


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