Google Center of Content : Casablanca: Screen Analysis

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Casablanca: Screen Analysis

DIRECTOR: Michael Curtiz 
YEAR OF PRODUCTION: 1942
COUNTRY: USA 
LANGUAGE: English


Casablanca can be classified in the genre of classical Hollywood narrative. The subject offered along with the cinematic technique was of that time phase. It is a romantic drama that portrays a complex love triangle. This effort is paralleled with the events adjoining the war. The filmmakers pay attention on the style and design in relation to the spectator. This unusual perception allocates the viewers to have a superior experience with the film even though it would not be what’s best for the character.

This means that editors paid particular consideration to telling a story that would convey viewers into a fresh world on the screen, with as little sign that the movie was man-made. In short, audience should not notice as cuts are made. For example, As a scene introduces the basic setting and characters, it commonly moves from a wide, or establishing, shot to a medium shot, and then to close-ups of the characters. This method is usually referred to as exposure. This technique of using a combination of close-ups and medium shots is particularly noticeable in Casablanca as the characters struggle with the puzzling and complicated relations with the interfering Nazis.

They required the cinematic technique to support in the narrative but not to be clear to the spectator. Over the shoulder shots are also a popular technique so the audience are directly involved in the dialogue. The camera also focuses on the expressions of the characters to build the spectator feel as if they are looking into the character’s eyes. This is frequently done in a close up or zoomed in shot. Casablanca also seemed to use a bunch of pans when following the character around the busy cafe. This set aside the watcher to take in the entire scenery of the film.

All through Casablanca and other classical Hollywood narrative, the characters and scenes are always balanced. This is pleasurable to the eye of the spectator and frames the shot. The lighting is also brighter around the faces of the characters particularly throughout emotional scenes. This highlights the features and adds drama to the scene. The characters eyes generally flicker with this lighting which is characteristic of classical Hollywood narrative. The ending of Casablanca can also be classified as Film Noir. The ending is dark and mysterious which is typical of this genre. There are dark shadows and low lighting that adds effect.

I also observe that Casablanca had a particular technique of casting light upon the characters, mainly Ilsa. The technique is known as three point lighting, and is characteristic of Classic Hollywood narrative. Three point lighting is when “A key light (the brightest light) is additional by a fill light, to one side, and a light in back. This allocates subjects in the frame to emerge as three dimensional. Otherwise, the subject might appear flat or unify in with the background. This technique alleviates and idealizes characters, and frequently lets for beauty shots, as was ideal by stars during the classical period. This would describe why Ilsa was always lit from all sides in her close ups.

Furthermore, the classic Hollywood movies had a specific detail in introducing characters. The opening of a film normally force us in medias res, to an instant perceptive of an individual character who is a causal driving force with a specific desire or objective. The sequence of action proceeds from this character’s ambition. This way of storytelling is perceptible in the introduction of Rick, a former military man making a living off of the sluggish yet sensational life in a Nazi-assault Casablanca. Rick is represent as an isolated businessman, never mingle with clients accept extremely compulsory.

In short, the glamorizing basics from lighting to character development, Hollywood movies have a unique attraction and capability to fascinate the viewers. Through a blend of visual elements, narrative style, and wary editing, classics like Casablanca assure to convey and motivate.

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