We were assigned a four week, group based project – in which we are simply to come up with a foundation for a film and build upon it as a group to produce a final, five minute production.
As there is no set narrative or base for the film we had a very broad range of possibilities for our short film. In deciding what to produce we looked at successful short films, and personally preferred films. I am a big fan of the short film ‘Lovefield’ directed by Mathieu Ratthe, as was another member of the group. The use of synecdoche in the film intrigued us; we thought the idea of manipulating the generic codes and conventions of a particular genre, and then incorporating a denouement at the end to shock and engage the audience. ‘Lovefield’ achieve this by utilising typical horror conventions – the establishing shot consists of a high-angled, panning shot of an isolated, secluded field. It then cuts to a shot of a black crow, signifying a sinister ambience, and is a common way of foreshadowing death or danger. The film consistently uses horror conventions, through diegetic sounds of the crow, a woman screaming out in pain and non-diegetic music, building tension. The screams from the woman – whose face we do not see signify mystery, and utilises Barthes hermeneutic code (to shock the audience later). Object codes, such as the blood-covered knife also accentuate the theme of danger and lead the audience to presume that this woman is dead or seriously injured. The film carries on using this technique until the camera pans to the woman holding a baby and smiling, which is where the audience realises that the male “antagonist” was actually a protagonist.
This is a brilliant technique in engaging and shocking an audience, and we began pitching short ideas based on this technique. We thought about using a female character, and presenting her in a vulnerable state – such as drunk, on her own by a nightclub. We thought she may have been dropped off by her father, and planned to meet back in the same place later than night for her to be picked up; however when she gets into the car at the end we see that despite her getting in a similar car, shadows and lighting would eventually reveal him to be a stranger – we would then decide whether he was a good Samaritan, who would look after her, or attack her.
We then decided to move from this slightly, the idea of a good Samaritan appealed to us and a religious figure seemed perfect, we discussed using a priest, and a young, vulnerable female searching for comfort and solace in the church– she may have lost somebody close to her and be in the grieving process or look as though she had been out with her friends, and lost them or ended up alone – possibly having endured some unwanted, slightly rough male attention. We decided we could show the priest reaching out to this girl, comforting her, the girl would then leave and get attacked on her journey home, in the last few seconds we would reveal that her attacker was in fact the priest.