Friday, February 3, 2012

dead poets society-

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Topic How does Peter Weir convey the impression that Welton is a very traditional school?

In the film, ‘Dead Poet’s society’, the famous film maker, Peter Weir uses many interesting techniques to convey to the audience that the school is a very traditional place. The devices he used are the colours, sound effects, imagery, the sequencing of shots and scenes, and of course, characterisation. These devices set up the later conflict between Mr. Keating, the new teacher and the establishment of the school.

At the beginning of the film, the camera focuses on a portrait of some boys and shifts to each face, which we later realise, resemble the school boys from Weldon. Then we hear voices and shuffling of paper as the screen remains black. The camera suddenly pans to the right and down to a face of a young child who is getting their photos taken at their new school, and then to the older boys, who are preparing for the ceremony. This makes the connection between the old boys and the new generation of students. This also shows us how long the school has been operating for and that it hasn’t changed much since the past 50 years. It also conveys that there are so many students enrolled each year at this school because of its good reputation and high academic achievements. With these constant academic achievements from the past to the present day, it shows that the school’s way of teaching has not changed, but is fairly much the same.

In the next scene, there are medieval arches in the great hall where all the students, parents and teachers were assembled. Inside the hall, the students and parents were listening to the principal’s speech. The parents appear conservative, old fashioned and people who fully relied and trusted the school to give their children the best education they could have. All the students sat next to their parents, with expressionless faces which gave them an appearance of boredom and deadness. With the camera constantly focusing from one face to the other, it takes us back to the portrait we first saw at the very beginning of the film. Not only the camera focuses on the students, but also, onto the principal and the teachers of the school, which makes it evident to us they are all old, strict and extremely serious.

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There is a new image of a candle being lit which represents the ‘light of knowledge’. In this school, there is the ritual of passing the light of knowledge from the oldest member of the college to the young boys. Passing on the light of knowledge shows the school wants the students to get the most out of their education and to achieve all they can have and to keep the school’s continuous and successful achievements. Carrying on the rituals every year gives us a picture of how traditional the school still is.

When the new teacher, Mr. Keating is introduced by the principal, he was pictured as someone younger, happy, more friendly and relaxed, unlike the other teachers who were tense looking, old and strict. This provided a comparison which certainly, makes a successful appeal to the audience. Mr. Keating played by famous and well-known actor, Robin Williams is an effective cast as he is well liked and someone we would rather take notice of.

The interior scene is soon cut and is now outside the school. The scene outside depicts the farewells between the parent and child. This is where David Weir, adds in this scene, to create emotions between the child and parent. Also, the switch from the inside to the outside provides relief and a sense of freedom in the open grounds of the school, rather than the entrapment of the halls and interior buildings of the school.

Peter Weir purposely has many different and contrasting series of shots and scenes like a flip of a page in a book, because it shows how the life inside and outside of Weldon are two different, separate worlds. Inside the school, it is prison that is very restricted, with no enjoyment or happiness. In contrast, the outside world is daring, adventurous and mysterious and a place where the boys are allowed to be free and explore.

The characterisation of the characters such as Mr. Keating is very interesting. Mr. Keating is not at all unwilling to do what it takes to get students to see the world from a different perspective. He encourages students to do things that they wouldn’t normally do or be ALLOWED to do. He makes it obvious that his methods of teaching are totally dissimilar to other teachers at the school. Mr. Keating’s lessons are not monotonous but full of excitement and fun. Unfortunately, however Mr. Keating’s approach to educating his students has caused conflict between the school and its establishment. The school is picture to be very old and established, so that’s why Mr. Keating was not approved of later, when he was the one who told his students about unusual things. The boys from Weldon were all characterised to all get along very well with their new teacher, Mr. Keating, especially Neil who was the ambitious and poetic young man. There were friends who betrayed, helped and loved each other and other characters who later caused conflict between different people in the school.

After all that has happened in the school of Weldon, it is still the same, old traditional place like it always was. Peter Weir clearly shows us, down to the slightest detail, through the images, comparisons and characters that it’s absolutely true.

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