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Film Analysis Elephant by Gus Van Sant

  • Date Submitted: 05/12/2014 01:45 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.6 
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Film anlysis : Elephant by Gus Van Sant released in 2003
1h02-1h08
it's his 2nd film   others are Harvey Milk, Last Days successful with film critics
This film was inspired by the Columbine massacres committed on students in Columbine High school in Ohio by two pupils.


Gus Van Sant is an Independant film Director , this film won him an award at Cannes Film Festival
Is is considered to be an independant movie, financed by ind producers.

Why the title « elephant »:   it comes from the expression « there is an elephant in the room ». meaning something is going on here , we have a problem on our hands and nobody cares.

We can divide this scene into two parts
The opening scene to the massacre
This scene central to the story begins at the end of the movie.

The choice of characters : young teenagers, juvenile aspect, blond for John the main character , wears bright clothing looks like an angel. The victims all wear bright colors.
The viewer intantly recognizes the good guys from   the bad guys: the two teenage gunmen are in dark clothing, in kaki's miltitary atire for one of them, a guerilla warfare dress a for the other and are holding automatic machine guns. This can sum up   the major themes : youth and death

The viewer   realizes at once that we have two different worlds that meet:
Emphasized by cross-cutting editing we follow the good guy and then the bad guy when thy meet. In that split second the teenage gunmen expose their bad intentions.
An extreme close-up shot creates an intense mood and provides interaction between the viewer and the audience. Here, John expresses fear and aprehension. It announces the change in mood of the film.
Camera angles reveal the relationship between the characters Although they speak to them in passing a reverse angle shot emphasizes the lack of communication betwen them. As if they live in seperate worlds.

Diegetic sounds are present in this scene to emphasize reality of the outside world and the total different scene inside :...

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