The film V for Vendetta, is a dystopian film directed by James McTeigue, convincing the idea of chaos and darkness, using various visual and sound techniques to display such themes within government power over a society. V for Vendetta is a dystopian film, defined as ‘an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.’ This film showcases the cruelty of the government through the use of dark colour grading, and the loss of power of the citizens by using high camera angles over the citizens of dystopian London. The slightly darker tint used throughout the ‘Domino’ scene, and the ‘Final fight’ scene showcases the government power over the citizens, as they have lost their freedom; a human right. Another film technique showcased throughout the film to represent an idea is symbolism. Symbolism is used through props, dialogue, and setting. One example of symbolism used in this film is the Guy Fawkes Mask. This is used to represent anarchy, and hope, which parallels the idea of darkness, or loss of hope.

In this film, darkness represents fear. One scene which accurately displays such darkness is the ‘Domino’ scene. Each of the politicians speaking on the television has a matte black background behind them as they speak about the future of their metropolis. Thie black background not only brings the focus only towards the Politician but represents that there is no other option for this city, other than the darkness given from the corrupt government. Under lighting is also used in this scene, which not only coincides with, yet enhances the use of the black background. The reasoning for this is within horror films, under lighting is used to discourage any form of interaction with this character, as it diminishes, or hides the first facial features which the human usually notices first. Taking away such features and putting them into hiding causes a mystery within this character, and provokes the idea of darkness within this character towards the viewer. This brings up the idea that colour and lighting in this film can effectively create a scene and define the genre point within each shot. The use of dark lighting has allowed for V for Vendetta to become one of the most influential thriller films of our time. Audio transitions are also an effective film technique used in the film to showcase the chaos created by the government. After V knocks over one domino, the audio recording of the dominoes falling turns from diegetic sound, into non-diegetic sound when the sound continues and is used to transition between scenes. The sound of dominoes falling grows louder throughout the montage, where the clatter of each domino falling is used to represent a person from the town of dystopian London falling during riots. The reason for the director using this is to symbolise that the effect of one domino, or action, can create chaos from something so small. The use of audio transitions in this scene creates an effective montage, cutting from dominoes falling, to riots in the town of dystopian London. This links to the real world today, where politicians, such as Kim Jong Un, of North Korea, has taken control over his country and created masses of restrictions in a dictatorship. An example of this is the North Koreans are not allowed to leave their country or even visit their South Korean counterparts. This links back to the film, as the dystopian government has also laid masses of laws over their citizenship, leading to an uprising having to be made in the conclusion of the film.

Another film technique used in this film to create an effective scene which showcases the theme of chaos and loss of power is colour grading. Colour grading is a post-production editing technique, which alters, and enhances the colour of a scene, to create an effect, or to showcase the genre more effectively to the vanilla scene. In the ‘final fight’ scene, a blue tint has been added over this scene. The effect of this is the overall scene becomes much darker, and suspense is created due to the audience being unable to see the full scene in the light. This darker tint in the previous scenes of the film was used to showcase government power and the loss of power that each citizen of dystopian London. The colour grading within the final fight scene is used for an opposing theme, such as the theme of faith, and uprising. These reason for the producer using such a colour tint during this scene is to show the hidden evil, and power within V, behind his mask. As the mask is used as a symbol of protest throughout the film, the colour effects within this scene effectively showcase this idea of protesting, and V finally overcomes the government rule. After this scene, the colour grade develops into a much more warm tint, which proves to the audience that V has officially won, and faith has been given. In the real world today, this guy Fawkes mask has been symbolised as a symbol of protest. For example, the computer hacking group under the name of Anonymous have adopted the Guy Fawkes mask as their symbol, based on the theme of protest. Symbolism is used effectively throughout this film, where each symbol has developed to not only symbolise something within the film, yet something in real life also. Through the use of film conventions, such as symbolism and colour grading, an effect can be created to notate a story, or theme, such as the theme of protesting and uprising. The development of colour grading throughout the film has effectively set the mood for each scene, where varying colours have adapted, or changed the tone of the scene to allow the viewer to effectively visualise the development of the overarching themes and ideas within this film.

In conclusion, McTeigue, through the use of film conventions such as colour grading, lighting, sound techniques, such as diegetic and non-diegetic sound, and editing, has created various overarching themes which provide the audience with the development of themes and ideas, such as the loss of power which further develops into the themes of uprising and faith. Underlighting has been used in various scenes to discourage the audience from identifying with any of the government officials and to provide the audience with the theme of loss of hope. Through this dark lighting, the overarching theme of loss of power has been effectively created, and other film techniques, such as colour grading has contributed to this theme as a blue tint has been added into each scene before V defeats the government, implying that when the government are in power, there will be no hope for the people living in dystopian London. Overall, the development of each of these conventions throughout this film has effectively showcased the differentiation, and adaptation between themes within each scene, where after the uprising over the government, the overall mood of the film lifts, as the colour grade turns from a blue tint to a yellow tint, and the lighting becomes much more full.

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  1. Remember to describe the effect on the viewer of each cinematography technique used, and how the techniques work together to create an effective scene.


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