The it starts off with Alvy at

The 1997 quirky, romantic
comedy ‘Annie Hall’ was directed by the award-winning Woody Allen. Not only did
he direct it and star as the main character in the film, he in fact co-wrote it
along-side Marshall Brickman (Wikipedia 2018). The film follows the life of Alvy Singer, a character who
is struggling to come to terms with the ending of a relationship between himself
and Annie. From early childhood Alvy is perceived to be insecure and impossible
but nevertheless full of knowledge, when he was only young he was old beyond
his years questioning his sexual desire while also processing his own existence
in the universe. Throughout the film his sexual frustration doesn’t stop there,
him and Annie’s relationship go from confessing their love to one another, to a
tense argumentative affair where Annie see’s making love as more of a burden. (IMDb, 2018) Although this film sounds like a stereotypical romance,
that’s where we are wrong, Woody Allen explored the main characters emotions
through different filming techniques such as interaction with the camera,
visual gags, use of contradicting subtitles and also the famous double exposed
scene. Elements like the following: – mise-en-scène, use of camera, editing and
sound all have a part to play in the film to create the unconventional effect of
the character’s feelings.

 

One scene that was really distinctive in the Annie Hall film
was one that used the split screen effect (45.49-47.50). This is where ‘A
technique is provided for simultaneously displaying juxtaposed pictures from
two independent image sources on a television screen.’ (Balopole
and Traynor, 1983). Setting the scene, it starts off with Alvy at an Easter dinner
with Annie and her pretentious family, and then the screen splits showing the
dinner that his uncivilised family are having.

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Starting
with looking at the use of mise-en-scene is this scene, this includes looking
at the setting created, lighting, costume and behaviour of the actors/
actresses within it.  ‘mise-en-scene’ includes those aspects of film
that overlap with the art of the theatre: setting, lighting, costume, and the
behaviour of the figures.” (Bordwell
&Thomson 1997 p.169).

 

They have
chosen to set the start of this scene at the Hall’s dinner table, it is very
spacious room with windows surrounding it which ties in well with the lighter
coloured walls. Even the dining set is light coloured resulting in making the
room seem brighter. The architecture as a whole is very modern. In most of the
film high-key lighting and natural lighting is used and in this scene, it was
no different. As there are many windows we are made to believe it is just the
use of natural lighting however there is use of artificial soft lighting to
create more subtle shadows on the characters faces, for examples Annie’s Dad
there is a shadow hitting the side of his face. In comparison when the scene progresses
onto the split screen effect it gives us the setting of where the Stinger
family is have dinner, it looks a more claustrophobic atmosphere, the walls are
darker and the curtains are brown. High lighting is used here this is where lighting
uses ‘fill and backlight to create low contrast
between brighter and darker areas’
(Bordwell &Thomson 1997
p.169) making the
room give off a more poorly lit effect. We don’t see where the lighting is
coming from in this room but we are made to believe it is coming from a lamp or
light source. The overall setting gives a sense of realism.

 

At the
beginning of the scene it shows, Alvy change costumes for a split second from
his shirt and blazer to a full Hasidic Jew attire. This attire is represented
off of the stereotypical Hasidic image of them with the back hat, beard, peyos
and caftan (desser,
d. and friedman, L.D., 2003). Woody Allen created this costume
change as it is iconic, since Alvy had just praised Annie’s grandmothers ham as
‘dynamite ham’ – even though it is against his morals to eat it, he accepts it
to fit in with the Halls (Chris, P., 2014.). There is good use of costumes in this scene to
portray the characters with Annie and her family wearing whites, cream and
brown which co-ordinates with the setting of their house which suggests
innocence, clean and upper-class. Even the way they have dressed Annies mother
with flashy jewlerry, a large necklace and eye drawing ring suggest their
wealthiness. In comparison to the Stinger family where they are wearing darker,
old fashioned clothing which again matches the setting of the dark walls, it
could also evoke how because the family are Jews they are more reserved with a
stricter dress code.

 

Moving on to look at the character’s behaviour during this
scene, one part that really sticks out is the facial expressions on Annies
families faces after he makes a comment on the ham. Directors are always
looking for facial expressions in characters for realism effect (Rhodie,S., 2015). By
the way the actors face’s appear with the raising of eyebrows and turning away,
it suggest their confusion and disgust of what Alvy has just said. Which compares
to the flustered behaviour of Alvy, as he looks from left to right a couple of
times awkwardly with his head tilted downwards and eyebrow’s raised conveys he
knows he has said something wrong. As a whole the Hall family behave is a
civilised way, giving everyone the opportunity to talk, sipping their drinks
elegantly and even the way they are sitting straight backed to the chair. Which
again compares to the split screen of the Stinger family where they are behaving
in a loud mannered, hectic way portraying the family to be rude and
poor-mannered. Woody Allen did this to show the differences in the families and
how out of place Alvy feels.

Sound wise in this
scene, it is mainly focussed around the differences and similarities of dialogue
between the two families. When it begins there is a calm conversation between
the family, very pleasant however there are a few seconds within that is just
silence, giving an awkward, less homely atmosphere. Also, there is background
noise of people eating and placing their glasses on the table to tie in with
the fact they are eating dinner this is called parallel sound when it ties in
with the mood. There is also a use of digestic sound, an example of this is
Alvy coughing (Johnson,Jennifer., 2016). Then switching
to showing both the families, where Alvys are loud and overbearing, all talking
at once, no one listening to what the other is saying, the use of clashing dialogue
here it to build the character plot of how different the families are.

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