Duality In The Characters In Film

3755 words - 16 pages

Duality is an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something. Duality can also be represented by two separate entities, or people for that matter, who provide contrast for one another. “Duality in people exists as qualities that seemingly in opposition of each other.” (Dualism in Film) The definition of duality can be seen in many ways, in modern cinema however, the meaning of duality is more specific, although its definition does not vary too much from what the common definition is. In film, duality is the contrast of two people or entities. These two entities however, can be portrayed in several ways. The duality can be a conflict within one’s self, as seen in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) and David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), a dual personality or change in character, as seen in the Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and George Lucas’s Star Wars saga, or duality can be portrayed as one character and his or her personality versus another character and his or her personality, as seen in Black Swan, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and The Star Wars Saga. Since a director cannot bluntly say in the film, without ruining the illusion of the world they have created, that one character represents another, or that these two entities represent one another and are dual, there are various techniques a filmmaker can use in order to plant this idea or theme of dualism into the viewers mind. My goal is to find out how the theme of duality is portrayed through the principal characters in The Star Wars Saga, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Fight Club, and Black Swan.
Duality in characters is expressed it many ways and when in pre-production, production and post-production, the director must see to it that every aspect of the film, or at least during the portions of the film that he wants to portray the theme of duality, portrays these two entities as dual. One way character duality in film is expressed is through the mise en scène of the movie or the individual shots. This includes all aspects of mise en scène such as what the dominant figure in the image is, framing, color values, depth, character placement, key lighting, angles, composition, and density of the shot. One example of this is in The Dark Knight (2008) in the interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker. The Joker says to Batman “You let five people die. Then, you let Dent take your place. Even for a guy like me that’s cold… You know, for a second there I thought you really were Dent. The way you threw yourself at her!” (Nolan, dir.) During parts of the Joker’s lines, the scene cuts to a reverse angle, over the shoulder shot of the Joker to show a close-up on Batman’s face. In this shot, you can see that the lighting is a lot darker and the colors less bright than that of the shot of the Joker, symbolizing that Batman isn’t Harvey Dent and has another identity that he secretly hides in the shadows. The key light is on the Joker portraying his dominance in...

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