Monday, 21 December 2015
Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of gender using the following: Camera shots, angles, movement and composition, Editing, Sound and Mise en scène
In this clip from the BBC show: 'Luther', gender is represented in such a way that women and men are definitely equal yet women do seem to be shown as the stronger, more dominant type which is usually associated with men. The woman in this clip completely dominates the narrative and ends up with all of the power by the end of the scene.
In terms of mise en scene, the men wear expensive looking shirts and suits which help to support the dominant ideology of men being smarter/dominant, more professional and successful. When the woman enters the scene, she is wearing makeup and has her hair styled in a fashionable way as well as wearing fashionable, smart looking clothes. Whilst she comes into the scene with a certain amount of presence and dominance which goes against the female stereotype, she also feels the need to look attractive through the conventional methods of makeup and hair styling. Her clothes also emphasize her figure and make it very clear to us that she is a feminine woman who can also be dominant in the presence of men. This subverts the stereotype of a dominant woman as they are typically stereotyped as being more of a 'tomboy' or an over-sexualised 'dominatrix' kind of character. The criminals clothing is more ragged and less tidy which tells the audience that he is of of a lower, less stable status.
The use of a low angle close/mid shot at the beginning of the clip shows Luther as the bigger, more dominant character as we are looking up at him from the criminals perspective which is shown from a high angle shot to emphasize the difference both in their physicality but in Luther's authority over the criminal. When using a shot/reverse shot editing technique to show the difference in impression of the two opposing characters (Luther and Ian - the criminal) their differences are emphasized yet they both have an equal amount of screen time. This could be because they are both male and therefore still hold a large amount of importance, no matter what their circumstances are, adhering to the dominant ideology of men being 'all-powerful' and dominant. When the woman enters the scene we first see her from a low angle shot which establishes her dominance but then we see her from a mid/long shot so that we can see her as equal to the men as well as her dominant body language when holding the gun and stern facial expression which supports her dominant nature. The continuity editing makes the action flow and seem fast paced and smooth, echoing her efficiency in their circumstances - a trait usually associated with men.
The non-diegetic sound of the music creates a tense, almost sad impression which is linked to the idea of emotional attachment which isn't common with the male stereotype, showing them as more emotional beings like women. Near the end of the clip a song begins to play which speaks of understanding and forgiveness, however it then goes on to talk about madness and violence. The overall tone of the song used is quite upbeat which makes it asynchronous as the action on screen is quite violent and dark, creating a clear contrast. The contrast between the music and the action could also be linked to the 'soft-hearted', 'gentle', 'emotional' stereotype of the woman being overcome by the dominant action of the woman on screen when she shoots a man without a second thought. She succeeded in completing a task that the men could not and eventually one of the men begs her to do it, hinting at a sense of role reversal.