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Visual analysis - Essay Example

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Visual Analysis of a poster for Hitchcock’s film The Birds Figure 1 http://www.listal.com/viewimage/142059h This paper analyzes the poster in Figure 1 above which relates to the film by Alfred Hitchcock entitled The Birds (1963). In keeping with the tradition of film posters, it has a clear purpose of advertising the film by informing the viewer about its content in a way which persuades the viewer to buy a ticket for the film…
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Visual analysis
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Download file to see previous pages The following analysis examines these three aspects of the poster in turn: the representation of the dramatic content of the film, the adherence to film advertising conventions, and the contention that it is a classic film. At first sight, the most striking attribute of the poster is the complex image in the center. The face of a woman is shown with eyes closed and mouth open. This temporary blindness is one of the ways in which the film underlines female victimization (Diffrient 80). The red lipstick and open mouth convey a high level of arousal, which could be interpreted in several ways, including sexualized excitement, fear or shouting. The woman’s hands are in a rigid, fully stretched position which conveys extreme stress, as one hand protects her head and the other appears to reach out as if grasping for help. Images of birds are overlaid on the female face, in various shades of black and grey. The beaks of the birds all focus on the woman, giving the impression that she is under attack. There is an implicit appeal to the viewer of such an image to feel sympathy for the woman, who is clearly distressed and afraid of the birds. It is also advance notice that the genre of the film is horror, because of the fear that is visible in the female figure. In contrast to this dramatic image in the center of the poster, there is a small image of the same female actor in the right hand corner at the bottom. This feature recalls the proportions and style of a passport photograph, with few colors and a full-face angle showing Tippi Hedren’s clearly features. The caption “A Fascinating New Personality” is intended to add mystery to the image, but the main visual message is a very obvious likeness to the Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, who had died in tragic circumstances just a year before, in 1962 (Taraborrelli 470.). The iconic importance of Monroe in American culture of this period has been attributed to her status as “a contradiction in terms” (Rollyson 14), something between a victim and a goddess, or an innocent child and a knowing sex-symbol. The phrase “and introducing ‘Tippi’ Hedren” alongside the image adds to the impression that the poster is trying to persuade the viewer that this actress has emerged to take on the iconic role that Monroe’s death has left vacant. The format is portrait, and not landscape, which gives the poster the look of a book or page, rather than the widescreen shape of a movie. This format gives the poster an intellectual aura, and this is underlined further by the black and white portrait of the Alfred Hitchcock at the top of the poster, and the provision of a quotation from the director, along with a copy of his signature, in different typefaces. It is very unusual to see a movie poster with the director’s photograph on it, since most movies are more concerned with advertising the leading actors in the film, who are likely to draw in their fans. It is also unusual to see an endorsement for any artistic work from the creator himself or herself. The subtle argument being presented here is that this is an exceptional director whose work is of proven merit and whose opinion is worthy of attention. The director’s distinctive, rather heavy face, his dark suit and his somewhat arrogant side-ways look are indicators of a sense of superiority and formality. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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