Text response on how the film ‘Remember The Titans’
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Remember The Titans is a film text, centred by the issue of race and how it is triumphantly overcome. It is an uplifting story how an American town, Alexandria, conquered overwhelming resentment, friction and disharmony brought on by racial discrimination and mistrust. The town is further thrown into chaos, as protests rage over the killing of an African-American youth and then the integration of the major local High school; T.C. Williams. The integration lead to the demotion of a much loved and highly successful head coach of the school state football team by the name of Bill Yoast, the job’s new occupancy went to an African-American, Herman Boone. What follows is a rousing movie that shows how this disunity and racism can be overcome, in this case through the ultra popular sport of NFL. The team and coaches couldn’t be more different, which makes for an enlightening journey of change, where many contrasting images arise, although an overpowering sense of camaraderie succeeds in the end as the team win the state final.
DISCUSS THE WAY THE TEXT REPRESENTS CHANGE
Remember The Titans represents change very optimistically, showing it as something with difficulties that eventually are beaten. Once the discomfort is gone change is fantastically beneficial, where it contributes to better attitudes, a more open-mind, a more accepting society and something that can unify.
Change seen by the responder can be interpreted as something that should be embraced otherwise you will not experience its benefits [e.g. the characters who do not accept the new moral standard are outcaste and unhappy].
Captured by this text is the core aspect of change, which are the process and the consequence of the process. The process in this text is the community learning to understand, accept, respect and trust citizens of a different racial heritage. A further case study of this and the most prominent example within this text is the team. The team is symbolic of the community’s attitudes, pride and morale level.
Change is embodied by the contradictory images, of the community’s initially judgemental and unwelcoming attitude in contrast with the praise that is received by the Titans football team in the latter half of the text. Contrasting also is the original sceptic view Yoast had of Boone, and then later on they establish mutual respect and admiration as friends.
Change can be viewed as represented by the cohesion and co-operation amongst the team; they played together in anarchy selfishly to begin with, but later their team play and co-operation improved into a champion side.
COMMENT ON HOW THE COMPOSER USES LANGUAGE AND OTHER TECHNIQUES TO SHAPE MEANING:
The techniques that are prevalent in Remember The Titans are specific camera shots (esp. medium shot and zoom), contrasting images (often in juxtaposition), the accompaniment of appropriate music and slow-motioned shots (esp. during action shots).
Whenever a character is realising something for the first time, we can see its significance in the way the camera steadies, zooms closer to the person at medium shot range, the contrast between the character and their surrounding increases and the music changes to a lively or inspiring tune. As the characters’ body language changes – pausing, looking at nothing particular and twitching at the mouth to give a wry smile – we can discern that this focal point means that the character has just realised something that incurs temporary disillusion. This happened often [the use of reaction shot] as many characters discovered things that contradicted their prejudice.
Contrast used between scenes show the difference that certain factors have had to create change. For example the social and political environments before and after the football season show the impact of Herman Boone; it began as a divided, racist and hostile society that progressed to a more unified and peaceful one. Thus it is visible the impact one change, Herman Boone’s arrival, has lead to a far greater degree of change.
There are other examples of juxtaposing scenes or images, such as the scene where there is a confrontation between Coach Boone and Coach Yoast and the scene later on where they relax and chat as mates.
Music is used throughout to alter and set the mood of the scenes, as negative events occur, there is foreboding and suspenseful music. Whereas when a profound occurrence happens the music is more uplifting and when there is a joyous scene there is popular music with a beat and catchy tune.
During confrontational moments in the movie, where there might friction between two characters, the camera is at close-up range to make the focal point the face, where facial expressions will give insight to thoughts.
The violent images of protest and public uproar give the essential divisive tone that gives us the socio-political context of the text, the camera has notably been used to pan the crowd to emphasise the size of the crowd.
The subjective shot was used in a scene where the Boone family is just moving in, and the neighbours glanced out the windows and murmured prejudice comments, to capture this the camera is directed just behind and above the neighbours’ shoulders and facing out the window towards the family.
In scenes of tragedy, eg a star player getting paralysed and crunching tackling, the film is slowed down so the viewer can take in the rapid movement that leads to meaningful detriment and to experience the action slower so as to take it in more fully.
HOW DOES THIS TEXT CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUE OF CHANGE?
This text reveals to me [the responder] many sides of change, particularly those in relation to the complex issue of race in a racist society and the difficulty in changing people’s prejudice opinions
Shown in the film are the difficulties of overcoming the racial views in a racist community and how problematic it is to change perspectives on the subject, especially when done in a radical manner. It shows the complicated process of accepting and adopting new ideas once existing ones have been used for such a long time. Characters like Yoast’s assistant coach, one of the team members, the Hall Of Fame Board directors and the majority of the town found this change seriously discomforting.
It Self change is prominent in this film, as all the team members except one deal with this change, and experience a positive outcome. Change occurring within us was exhibited within many of the characters; the team went from detestation to friendship, the coaches ended up as friends, whom comparatively respected each other highly. The responder was shown the levels of self-change, in the areas of perspective, morals, trust, respect and obedience.
The responder is made aware of the change that can happen to the world, or in this case the surrounding environment of the community. The aspect of a change to the world contributed here is the ‘chain-reaction’ affect that can occur (the team’s change of attitude affected the town’s attitudes). Making another visible and valid point that small change can impact to form a greater change.
This text creates a more refreshingly optimistic and hopeful view of change, one that is more encouraging and secure. This is why the text is uplifting; it shows a positive change conquering the negative.