Scene analysis: General Aung San is assassinated
In this scene, the General Aung San of Burma was holding a meeting for democracy. However there were military rebels who do not want this to happen due to the previous leader Usaw. There military rebels wear red scarves that represent the communist leader. Three rebels walk into the drawing-room and shoot Aung San and the rest of his party dead. Aung San turns around and closes his eyes in a peaceful manner before he is shot dead and the rest of his party is murdered. The leader of the rebels then shoots the body of Aung San multiple times to show they have won and democracy is dead.
Luc Besson the director deliberately uses different lighting angles in the movie “The Lady” to emphasis the rebels walking up to the drawing-room to murder General Aung San, depicting how everything unfolded and the horror that occurred 19 July 1947. The scene begins in a slightly darkened backdrop to show foreboding and that something is about to happen. In the drawing-room all democracy people are unarmed and have no chance to fight against the rebels they are completely at their mercy and all perish. The lighting in the scene represents the good and evil as well in this situation. In the drawing-room where general Aung San and the rest of the members of his party are gathering to celebrate him coming to power, is brightly lit and full of happy smiling people, this illuminates the people’s faces and shows that they are not hiding anything emphasizing the democracy and freedom of speech, which is in contrast to that of. The rebel army are in low light setting where their faces are in semi darkness creating a ghostly effect and the individual takes on a haunting almost evil look, which sets up the atmosphere where they infiltrate the building and kill General Aung San. These lightning techniques are able to tell a story without the use of dialogue, the facial expressions used under different lights and shadows are more expressive as there faces are illuminated with shadows that create smooth and chiseled features manipulating how a person looks and creating atmospheres which can be recognized as good or evil. In this scene the different lighting depicts the two contrasting parties and how each have their own mindsets.
In the scene there is a close up shot of General Aung San, a moment before he is shot by the rebel army leader. This shot is used in this scene express emotions of characters faces, which communicates the characters feelings. It also shows close-ups of the eye which is the window to the soul and expresses all emotions that can be read by other people. In the scene the close up of General Aung San shows no expression in his face, his eyes appear peaceful in this moment, the scene shuts off all sound like that of a dream and in this there is only one emotion fear, as if he understands that he is in an unavoidable situation but he must go peacefully so that the belief of democracy remains strong and his people see that there are other ways of standing up to people besides violence. This few second shot emphasizes Luc Besson’s smooth auteur style, presenting that within this short time frame he is able to set this chilling scene. Besson uses both close up shot technique and the blockage of noise to express the horror that in a moment was to occur. General Aung San’s submission to the rebel army leader was not a sign of weakness, it was a sign of strength taking democracy with him and allowing people to see another way besides communism. This not only sets the tone for the character but also for the rest of the movie and makes us think as the viewer how symbolic this shot was.
Another technique I found fascinating in this scene was the contrast in costume between the democrats and the communist parties. The democratic parties were all wearing regular clothing with no means of defending themselves if something were to happen, this represented the democracy party in the film as they were peaceful and bought no harm to their people, their job was to protect without the means of weaponry or superimposing themselves over anyone else. The clothing also made them equal to everyone else, and made it seem as if they just “slipped” into society. In total contrast to that was the communist rebel army. They wore military uniform similar to that of the guards however they wore red scarfs to represent communism, and a cow-boy hat, different to that of what everyone else was wearing. Instantly putting suspicion into he scene as close up of all three rebel armies faces showed either no emotion or pure evil, they didn’t care that they were going to kill the General, to them he was just a body of flesh that could easily be replaced. This contrast in clothing has a clear symbolic approach to demonstrate how two different government officials have very different views on the value of life and the well-being of their people based on their actions. Luc Besson has done well with this scene involving both the parties to portray good and evil in the sense in that good is the democratic party and evil is the communist party.
The next scene that we analysis in the movie “The Lady” is when Aung San Suu Kyi is confronted by the military at the NLFD rally. The scene is set in remote part of Rangoon, in the back streets, with run down market places where common people meet. This area is very poverty-stricken however the minds of the people are open and encouraging towards Aung San Suu Kyi. Through this scene Aung San Suu kyi exhibits many symbolic behaviors that give hope and to the people and see her as a representative figure for their nation.
In the second scene there are many techniques occurring that the producer Luc Besson has seamlessly sewed into the scene. During the scene we see the military infiltrating during a democratic talk to the people of Rangoon with Aung San Suu Kyi. The military are standing on her stage removing banners and signage as well as blocking her path resisting her the freedom to stand on the podium and talk to the people. A wide-angle shot shows military officials lined up blocking her path with their guns pointed directly at Aung San Suu Kyi and her party. In the middle is the rebel leader wearing green military uniform and his red scarf as a symbol of communism. Interestingly in this scene Aung San Suu Kyi decides to continue on saying “let me go first”, a close up of her face shows how stubborn and determined she is to continue with this decision, which to some people may be seen as arrogant, and in this case I would agree. There is too much at risk for Aung San Suu Kyi to be doing this however it ended up working in her favor. As she continues to walk peacefully forwards a wide-angle lens of Aung San Suu Kyi shows her walking through the military wall of men pointing guns directly at her, but she has no fear, or it could be her ignorance to the situation she continues to walk through. The camera angle changes smoothly to a wide shot of the military commander yelling and flailing his arms, spit flying everywhere trying to gain control of the situation, the line up military are all pointing their guns but look scared everyone looking at the floor not wanting to come to terms with what many very shortly happen. This rule of fear emphasizes that not one of the military line up wanted to be responsible for killing an innocent women but the power the general had over them was suffering, ruled by fear they knew that by disobeying they faced the death penalty as well but this was not an option for them. These actions may also symbolize the outside world, where people are constantly put under pressure and strain to impress their superiors. This is an unhealthy way of living, and in the case of the movie “The Lady” it appears that the military for the majority are in the position they would much rather not be involved in.
Luc Besson has put an interesting twist in this scene with a close up of Aung San Suu kyi closing her eyes as a gun is pointed at her head, exactly as her father had done at the beginning of the movie. This shot represented that she was not going to portray violence and is a peace with her decision to leave the world without the need to bring violence to the situation. As it is a close up of her we can see that the expression in her eyes is calm and tranquil, which is ironic as this is the same expression as her father had a second before he was brutally shot. This brings clarity to the picture of how these very two different parties view there surroundings. The rebel solider acts on impulse and doesn’t give a second thought for what he is going to do. He has been brain washed by his leader most likely since a young age. This indoctrination of the rebel soldiers has bought them to believe that this is the only way of life, and if someone is to disobey they are to die. Since they are being ruled by fear, they believe that this is the only way. So they will automatically use fear on others as a mechanism of control and rule over others. In contrast Aung San Suu Kyi and her party have a much different approach to how the situation is to be dealt with. They think about what they are going to do even if it means jeopardizing themselves in the process. They have been taught how to make decisions for themselves and to find middle ground between disagreements instead of bringing violence into the situation. These differences between the two parties communism and democracy influence this scene and shows us the major differences between them. Luc Besson has done a good job with this scene. This duplicate scene of General Aung San and Aung San Suu Kyi show us how similar they are with their actions.
The third thing that I have noticed in this scene is the sound effects used. The music Luc Besson uses in this scene is very drum and deep based with tinny noise symbolizing that is putting pressure on the situation and is creating a lot of tension and strain on the situation in a knowing way. It produces an intimidating buildup for what is about to take place. As the scene continues to intensify more instruments are incorporated into the scene to enhance the climax of the scene. The music abruptly stops when Aung San Suu Kyi closes her eyes to the rebel military leader as he points a gun to her forehead, and goes back to reality with normal sounds resuming such as the military vans and civilians voicing their concerns for Aung San Suu Kyi. Luc Besson has had a deep understanding of how people think in situations such as these. Aung San Suu Kyi was obviously scared and her body had gone into fight or flight mode. This caused her body to focus on nothing other than the gun pointed at her face. The music has been clever in that everything has been based on this moment, and Luc Besson’s detail for the scene has been immaculate down to all the finer details.
Luc Besson’s auteurs style shows that he as the director has overseen all the visual and audio elements which have taken place throughout the movie “The Lady”. His distinctive film making style is associated with the Cinema du look, which is very visual orientated. The significant visual techniques he has used throughout the two scenes has been very visually and sound pleasing to the viewer. All the techniques he has used have all flowed seamlessly together to create a effortless snap shot of what happened in the past and helped us understand the events that took place in Aung San Suu Kyi’s fight to stand for democracy. We as an audience respect general Aung San and Aung San Suu Kyi who are both fighting for what they believe in. During the first scene we were all shocked by how General Aung San stood peacefully in he face of death, but this stand of peace showed us that there are other alternatives to violence and this was very touching to the viewers because we get a glimpse into how he lived his life. In the second scene we respect Aung San Suu Kyi because she is a strong independent women, who is able to stand up for herself and stand up for what she believes is right. By standing up to the military she brings hope to those who do not have a voice or are too scared to stand up for what is right in the fear of losing the freedom in their lives.
In conclusion, we got the opportunity to analyse two scenes from the movie the lady, and got to understand the democratic and communism relationship between the two parties. We see how Aung San Suu Kyi is striving to fight for her country and bring democracy through the use of camera angles and camera techniques to bring the ideas to light. I know have a better understanding of the film and what Luc Besson was portraying within each scene and how they are linked together.