Intro to Film
The parking lot sequence in Spring Breakers is a study in editing’s ability to intensify tensions within a scene, even if they are events that have already been seen. The scene comes between the halfway and two-thirds mark of the film, towards the end of Faith’s screen time in the film. The scene is used to remind the audience about the intense violence that allowed the girls to take this spring break trip. It is put together using over twenty cuts in just 2:23, spending approximately seven seconds in each section. It opens with a stable shot of the girls singing and concludes with four girls running away, after Faith catches the other
The scenes begin with stability on the original shot of the girls singing together on the patio of the liquor store. This stability is broken with a jump cut to a new, standing view. This new view disorients and gives the impression of a POV shot, even though it may not be. After a few seconds, there is a shot of the girls dancing in the parking. Then, again, the camera pulls back and becomes more unsteady. The shot is from the patio, similar to the location from the first edit cut to after the steady singing scene. This repetition of shot composition and edit technique can be seen as a possible reminder that these girls are in public in these moments. The jumps unsettle our view of the action, reminding us of the uncomfortable reality that lurks behind the idyllic shots of the “spring break” experience. While the shots of the girls getting wasted and singing together might have some morality issues, the general tone of the original shots are more comfortable. These are just girls hanging out and having a good time. However, when the shots jump back to the new, “watcher” perspective, it takes on a more sinister tone. It is no longer just these friends hanging out, there is some unknown fifth character intruding into their fun.
There is a cut back from the “watcher” perspective to the more familiar, closer shot. After this cut, the scene transforms quickly into the reminder of the girls’ robbery of the café. This scene is where much of the intensification from the editing becomes apparent. The cut from the beginning to a continuing reproduction of the robbery shows visually that something in the scene has changed. In a visual sense, it flips the orientation of the characters on the screen. In its breaking of the 180-degree rule, the viewer is slightly disoriented by the quick change. This matches Faith’s own disorientation as the fun time with her friends soon turns into an aggressive recreation of a robbery.
Moving into the robbery flashback edits, the first edit never switches from the parking lot’s diegetic sound. The viewer is shown again the shots from the car of the robbery from outside the store. When we cut back to the parking lot scene, the orientation of the characters has changed again. This once again intensifies the feelings of...