Selma is a fascinating movie that demonstrates the reality of racism in the 60s and how that no matter how hard it is to accomplish racial equality one should have the strong desire to do so and not give up from the obstacles they face even if it would cost them their lives. The message of the fight for racial equality in the face of hatred is conveyed through the movie by the four elements atmosphere, conflict, setting, and symbolism using the techniques soundtrack, dialogue, set design, and costume design. The directors mainly establishes the atmosphere and the mood of the movie by their fascinating choice of the music and songs. At the very beginning of the movie, the audience see Martin Luther King’s Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech with his powerful words about dignity and rights for black people accompanied in the background by suspenseful and sad music. This type of background music help send the message to the audience that something unexpected is going to happen, which eventually is the church bombing and when it happened sad music appear so that it can get to the emotional side of the audience. Another scene that the use of music was significant to demonstrate the mood of the movie is when King’s nonviolent protest starts and we see them getting beaten by white police.
The most important scenes in the movie are the 3 marches, during the first march, when the huge numbers of protesters start the march where upbeat inspiring music starts and the audience see the protesters marching which gives the audience hope that this march might actually succeed and that they would get their rights, the music gets louder and louder when police officers start beating up innocent protesters really badly with sticks while accompanied with the song “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” as the protesters seen falling on the ground from the amount of violence against them, this song was one of the songs that were close to King’s heart, the amount of inspiration in this song is enormous it was sung inspire crowds to not give up on racial equality rights even in the face of hatred, as the scene continues, the song still continues we see people in their homes crying while watching the protesters getting beaten to death with the strong emotions from the song. This scene was followed by another scene where protesters were trying to pull themselves together after being badly beaten, they all had blood all over them from the numerous injuries they suffered from also accompanied by the song “walk with me” where everyone is trying to stand up on their feet again and not give up with the help of others, since that this scene is highly emotional, this song greatly affected the scene because it helped the message to the audience of how emotional it was. Moreover, The last 10 minutes of the movie were the most significant of all, huge numbers of Americans are seen walking down the bridge celebrating their victory and how after this hard journey they accomplished their goal while accompanied with the emotional song called “Yesterday was hard on all of us” during the song we see real footage of the march in black an white that says that no matter what happened yesterday one should never give up on their rights.A vital aspect of the movie is the dialogue, it helps demonstrate the message of the movie, and also helps the audience understand the conflict. Dialogues are an important part of Selma because it highly shows the way characters express their conflicting ideas. At the beginning part of the movie, the audience see Annie Cooper trying to register to vote, so she fills an application and her name gets called so she goes to the register, from their dialogue, the audience get the notion that it’s not her first time to try to register, they also get to see how racist he is and how no matter how qualified she is to vote he would still ask her questions that are impossible to answer, but she won’t give up. On the following scene we see president Johnson talking to his advisor Mr.
White , they were talking about how opposite to the civil rights movement and Selma march they are, but when King walks in, the president changes his attitude and becomes nicer so that he can take king on his side, but during their conversation, the president asks King to give him some time and wait for their right to vote, but then king lists many reasons why they can’t wait, their conversation was meant to solve the issue but it didn’t so it leads to selma which means he tried everything. Another important dialogue is when King goes to jail and he talks with his cellmate about how unfair life is for black people in America, they don’t get to learn, vote, they don’t have basic rights he gives him hope to not give up because they all need him. Therefore the dialogue intensifies the conflict and makes it more suspenseful. The setting is used in the movie through the technique set design to help establish the theme of the movie. The theme is developed through the movie since that the movie was done to resemble the 60s so the set design aimed to represent that decade fully even with the objects. Also the use of colour for instance, houses that belonged to black people had mainly dark and brown colours more bleak while on the other hand houses that belonged to white people had bright wall colours to help send the message to the audience the idea segregation.
The audience got to see the full experience of what really went on in Selma, because the movie greatly portrayed the marches from Selma to Montgomery since the filming took place on the actual bridge that the marches took place in real life on which gives the audience the true feeling of what actually happened and sends the true picture to the audience. To symbolize the difference between the races, the movie director used costume design to symbolize the idea of segregation. The use of costume was meant to help recreate reality since that this movie is a biography, the movie should resemble the real events in every possible way. The distinction between the colours of clothes shows the lack how there is no racial equality, On the first 2 marches or in the whole movie generally black people wore lightweight fabrics in dark pastel colours, they were always elegant and took pride in their appearance while on the last scene, the third march, they were all wearing casual clothes with light colours It’s like they were trying to prove that they belong and that they’re equal and that they are as good as white people and deserve same rights.