My ninety-nine- Columbine High School killings were something

My responses to Gus Van Sant’s Elephant with close reference to post-screening discussion in
mind is elaborated in the following essay presented below:-

I believe in our contemporary society the duration and length of cuts and camera angles of any
medium has become so fast paced that we need a movie like Gus Van Sant’s Elephant to remind
us of the beauty and elegance of languid and mundane filmmaking. Films of today have become
so structured and predictable that we need a jolt to this structuralized pattern of filmmaking which
this movie delivers through its ability to foster inquiry in the audience’s mind without making the
“question” so obvious.

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My response to the movie in the first ten minutes was the thought that I’m watching an
experimental art film regarding a regular day in the life of a few high school kids. Initially, the indie
teen romantic drama theme felt was very prominent which can be based on the few archetypes we
are introduced which are showcased in such films such as the creative teen archetype ( Elias )
with his photography, attractive and popular guy archetype (Nathan ) with his popularity with girls
and athletic inclination, introverted teen archetype ( Michelle ) Etc . As time progressed I realised
this is not ‘Film ‘ with a conventional arch or even a protagonist with the intention to entertain rather
something more.

What transformed the film for me was when at twenty-fore minutes and forty-two seconds the films
reveal the two boys and their brief warning to John McFarland took me back because in that
moment I realised what the film was about. The nineteen ninety-nine- Columbine High School
killings were something I had studied and had prior knowledge but I had no idea that this film was
based or even connected to it. From that moment onwards I was entranced for the entire remaining
duration of the film as there is nothing more attractive to my attention than impending danger.

A few seconds after this revelation I realised why the titles name is elephant as it refers to the
metaphorical idiom of apparent problem or danger that no one desires to address. everyone would
have or should have had some knowledge that something was severely not right with those two
kids. That someone should have spoken or done something prior to the incident that caused them
to become that way and do the things they did. After the credits finished rolling my response to the
very common question which is asked after not only this but any great tragedy that takes

place ,that of ” how or why such a tragedy can be allowed to happen ” is that there was always the
“elephant in the room ” yet the choice to remain silent on the issue is the only response anyone
gave .

The film after analysing and understanding it. I have realised that it has a lot of subtexts involved in
it such as suppression of homosexuality, bullying, violent video games, absentee parenting, gun
laws, etc As well as symbolism such as the clouds, the Hitler documentary, the video game gun
comparison shot etc. This for me made the movie an immersing experience which drew me into
there world.

The film ends with a dark and sinister final few minutes of the film which are some of the most
memorial moments of the film with me wanting more even after knowing the fate of the shooters
and the victims.
I would like to end by stating that the movie for me personally was not emotional like a drama
based film nor it imbibed a sense of fear like any horror films. the film leaves me with a sense of

and dazed after watching it. Any film with the intent to make you feel a certain emotion even after
the film ends is a film I feel can be classified as a brilliant film and this film certainly does so. 


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