How two Hollywood films establish genre and narrative in the opening sequences

Topic: ArtConcerts
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Last updated: April 1, 2019

The opening scenes of a film are very important as they establish the genre and narrative in a way that would interest and catch people’s attention, making them want to carry on watching it until the end.

Films have to use many techniques to be able to do this. ‘Moulin Rouge’, directed by Baz Lehrmann, published in 2001 and ‘The Mummy’, directed by Stephan Sommers, published in 1999 are both completely different films from each other, but they are both Hollywood films which establish the codes and conventions, of the genres and aspects of the storyline right from the start.Moulin Rouge’ stars Ewan McGregor as the hero ‘Christian’ and Nicole Kidman as the tragic heroine ‘Satine’. The film is musical, comedy, tragic love story. All of these elements of genre and narrative are shown within the first few minutes of the films introduction.

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As the film begins the mise en scene is set in a theatre, with a traditional red curtain. The digetic sound is a playing orchestra tuning up. As the music for the 20th Century Fox is heard when the curtains open and we see the conductor waving his baton around wildly, from this we immediately see that it is a comedy.The next song overture is ‘The Hills Are Alive’ from ‘The Sound of Music’; this establishes the musical genre of the film as the ‘Sound Of Music’ is the most popular musical of all time.

After that the Can Can Dance music is played, and then the screen zooms in so you can not see the curtains any more and it tells as that the film is set in Paris 1900 in black and white. The camera zooms into Paris to the town where the film is set extremely fast, this camera shot Is computer generated, the camera passes many people that look very bad and low class.When the Hero’s room is reached we can see a big red L’amore sign in front of his window, the sign is in the Coca Cola type font, the sign means love in French. Inside the Hero’s room it is very dark and blue lit by the moon, this colour represents sadness. The whole room is dirty and Christian looks as if he has been very ill, as he had a beard and didn’t look very well.

There were many extreme close up shots of the hero and of his type writer which kept repeating, and then finally he manages to start typing in slow motion.While he types a man dressed up in a clown suit, sitting in front of a windmill sings what Christian was typing, the song was very sad and slow. While he types the camera zooms back out of Paris as if it is taking as back into the past, and then zooms back in and this time, it passes the same people but the don’t look bad and low class, they looked happy and joyful, and everything is now in colour and blurred as he is remembering everything in the past as people were laughing and dancing with coloured dresses and costumes.There is a variety of characters in this film, but most of them had the ability to sing as it is a musical, other characters are funny and comic as they play the part of actors. The film of ‘The Mummy’ stars Brendan Fraser as the hero ‘Richard’ and the High Priest of Pharaoh ‘Imhotep’ who becomes the mummy as the villain. The film is an action, fantasy, comedy, thriller and horror film.

As soon as the film begins we can tell that it is set in ancient Egypt as there are many slaves and Pyramids just being built, the Sphynx is also being built.There is lots of sand and from this we know that we are in the desert. After this the mise en scene is in the pharaoh’s palace and Anck Su Namun, Pharaohs’ wife is having an affair with Imhotep (the pharaoh’s high priest and the keeper of the dead) even though no other man is allowed to touch her, they risk their lives for love. Imhotep is first introduced to the audience with his back to the audience in a mid camera shot, which makes them think that he is the villain straight away.They get caught by Pharaoh and they killed him, so the pharaoh’s body guards were coming and Anck Su Namun told Imhotep to run away because if the body guards kill her Imhotep would be able to bring her back to life. Anck Su Namun gets killed and Imhotep tries to bring her back to life but before he could pharaoh’s body guards caught him and punished him by cutting his tongue off and mummified him alive, with bugs that eat your flesh.

Imhotep was but underneath a sphinx and slowly the sphinx becomes worn away and older and older signifying that time has gone by, and it also shows as where Imhotep already gone, he is sanding where the sphinx is over Imhotep’s body and suddenly the ground begins to shake and a face (obviously Imhotep’s) appears in the sand (computer body is. The film then takes straight into a battle that is taking place near to where Imhotep’s body lies. When we see Richard we know that he is the hero straight away as he is differently dressed to everyone else and.There are people on horses and people with guns and they kill each other, there are many fast cuts and the sound is non-digestic. The hero doesn’t get killed in the battle as they usually don’t, when he is just about to be killed he closes his eyes and when he opens them they have run away as a face made of sand appears, it was computer generated. During the battle in the film, the camera makes very fast movements and it follows the characters (tracking).

The music is non-digetic, very fast and loud music is played.Most of the characters look very strong, and very fit (health wise) as it is an action film with lots of movement and fighting, so overall the characters do have to be fit and strong. Both of the films manage to establish the genre and narrative very effectively at the very beginning.

Even though both of the films are very different but they both use the very effective techniques that interests and catches the audience’s attention. In my opinion both of the films are really interesting and capture a variety of audiences from teenagers to older adults.

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