The Graduate: Cinematic Elements Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

The film, The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols is an anti-establishment film that tells the story about the coming of age of a young man named Benjamin Braddock played by Dustin Hoffman. Ben who recently graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree is confused about his future. He is pulled in numerous directions by his parents, friends, and other acquaintances including Mrs. Robinson a married woman who is a close friend of the family. Mrs. Robinson played by Anne Bancroft initiates an affair with Ben. She wants to escape from her boredom and sees Ben as the perfect person to act out her fantasies with. As the story develops Ben comes to realize that he is in love with Elaine played by Katharine Ross, who is Mrs. Robinson's daughter. When Ben and Elaine start their relationship they are threatened by the malicious rage of Mrs. Robinson. She begins to hastily arrange Elaine's marriage with another boy named Carl (Dirkn20). Mike Nichols used several innovative cinematic elements such as the use of mise en scene, photography, sound, and editing in the production of this critically acclaimed film.Nichols has manipulated elements of the frame to suggest confusion and emptiness within the affair. Elements playing significant roles in the mise en scene of this sequence include the placement and staging of the characters in the frame, and the framing techniques. In many places throughout the movie, Benjamin is placed on the far right or the bottom of the frame. He is depicted as insignificant, small, and lost. In other shots, the camera captures him from behind an obstruction, framed, sometimes nearly obscured, by a piece of furniture or another character (Lorenc). In this short display of Benjamin's enjoying his leisure, his face with its blank expression is the dominant image, which draws the viewer's eye and fills the screen. Usually when a character is center, it is to draw attention to his impending actions or his power.Staging of the characters and props suggest a lack of human connection and intimacy. The proximity of Ben to other characters is constantly shifting. He floats in the pool, isolated-an island away from his parents. Then he climbs into bed, being touched by Mrs. Robinson, yet still mentally separated from the situation. Back to the pool and in bed alone, in a living room alone-no matter where he goes or what happens, he is constantly apart, psychologically. Throughout the movie, he closes doors to separate himself from people. The settings of the bare hotel room, the empty pool, and Ben's bedroom again suggest hollowness and yearning. And though this leaves a large area for characters to interact, they continue to remain in their own domains.Also, these bare spaces would suggest openness and freedom, except that they are framed tightly. Little space is left, especially at the top and bottom of the frame (Lorenc). This causes a claustrophobic effect and suggests the confinement and suffocation of the damaging relationship and of...

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