English – Chocolat movie
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1134
- Category: Tradition
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Tradition is strongly portrayed throughout my film, “Chocolat”. The theme of tradition is instantly explored in the opening scene through various techniques and devices I have employed. This scene immediately reveals the essence of the town and clearly expresses the strong tradition of Lansquenet as well as Vianne and Anouk’s, and how different they are to one another.
The opening scene reveals the atmosphere of the town as it begins with the presence of mist followed by an establishing shot of the village. The mist before the revealing of the town, is symbolic of having something to hide, evoking a sense of secrecy and mystery. The bird’s eye view also allows the audience to be able to see the small magnitude of the town, and it’s isolation and seclusion from other villages. The blue filter over the whole shot creates a dark, mysterious atmosphere, supporting the mist in suggesting that the town is not as it may seem, as well as the overall negativity each member of the town feels, as each has a hidden complication that cannot be openly discussed about.
This is due to the strict and private lives the townspeople lead, as a result of the fear of being rejected and disapproved by members of the village. Members of the town also strongly valued their reputation, so standing out and being different was a problematic issue. This traditional and conventional lifestyle of the townspeople being aware of their reputation is further expressed by Anouk’s voiceover when she explains that, “If you lived in this village you understood what was expected of you.” By adding these techniques and devices I have been able to contrast between the two; the people who live in Lansquenet and Vianne and Anouk.
In Lansquenet, attending church was a major tradition and it was expected of you to attend. The church bells at the very beginning of the film portray how traditional and old-fashioned the town is, as well as the importance of church and religion. There was a clear ay of acting and doing things, and the church was one of the strongest and most powerful traditions for all of the townspeople to follow a strict belief system. As the camera starts to show close-up images of various townspeople singing in the church, Anouk begins to explain that, “You knew your place in the scheme of things,” and that, “If you saw something you weren’t meant to see, you learnt to look the other way.” What Anouk says about the town from her perspective, is that even as an outsider one could already see the definite dominance, tradition and influence the church had over the whole town.
In the latter part of this scene, Vianne and Anouk can be seen arriving into Lansquenet. The sudden crescendo of the orchestral music as they arrive, indicates that they will be the source of a major complication in the film. The motif of the North Wind is symbolic of Vianne’s family’s mythological tradition of travelling from town to town, spreading the ancient remedy of cacao beans. The North Wind is constant throughout the film, and acts as the principle force that has drawn Vianne to the village. It could also be perceived as representing change and transformation, expressed in the strong imagery in the opening scene where the church doors are blown open by the North Wind. The opening of the doors symbolise the disturbance and disruption Vianne and Anouk cause to the town’s traditional, strict way of living, and as the authoritative Comte marches to the doors and abruptly closes them, it indicates the rejection and negativity towards the two. This is because they bring change, and new, free-spirited beliefs from their own tradition. They are a complete contrast to the town’s structure and routine.
This contrast is also shown in the costuming of Vianne and Anouk. The viewer has seen the dark blues, blacks and greys the town wears, and then sees the bright red cloaks that Vianne and Anouk wear as they enter the town. The juxtaposition between the dull and bright costume colouration not only throughout the scene but throughout the whole film, works to emphasise such difference in Vianne and the town’s way of living as well as the disruption their tradition creates to the tradition of the town of Lansquenet.
With the use of these techniques and devices in the opening scene of my film, it has created an idea and impression of the tradition and convention of the village to the audience. The drastic differences of Vianne and Anouk’s traditions in juxtaposition to Lansquenet, is also shown just by the arrival and the short image of them that are shown in this scene, representing the quick, rapid rejection they will experience from the town in the beginning. Tradition was one of the most vital themes in creating this film, as it was the source of the moral of this story; accepting others with differences can lead to greater happiness as change can be very positive.
Preparing for this speech has strongly contributed to a deeper understanding of the film, Chocolat, as it has enabled me to notice various visual and sound techniques that have been used to reinforce a point or perspective, which I had previously not even noticed or recognized. It has also allowed me to understand and recognize all the small but vital elements of the film, ultimately gaining a greater understanding of each character, what they represent, and the way their lifestyle contrasts and is different to the lifestyle and beliefs of others.
Preparing for this speech has also allowed me to understand that not only in Australia but in other countries, “Chocolat” can be interpreted in many different ways and can help others in accepting change that may be occurring to them whether is it in their personal and social life and may be taking place in their country, neighbourhood, at school, or their workplace, or motivate and inspire someone to stand up for what they believe in and to not let others affect them. This in turn, has helped me to understand and imagine the difficulty for Vianne and Anouk to try and fit into a town that did not want them there. However, the film also makes me happy and proud of them that they were able to remain strong and content with the difficult situation to ultimately lead the town to accept them.
Overall, I believe that a deeper understanding of this film has not only helped me understand the film better, but also has helped me to remember that change can be a positive thing and to never make assumptions or judgments based on someone’s differences, without getting to know them first.