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Essay on How Does Quentin Tarantino Use Camera Angles In Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is a very controversial director and receives a lot of criticism due to his directing style and directing techniques such as the gore he includes in his films. Tarantino uses a directing style known as the auteur theory, which showcases a director’s personal and usually creative views on the films they direct. Tarantino uses many camera shots and angles to make the audience feel suspenseful and often times are left in anticipation. Tarantino’s Django: Unchained and Inglourious Basterds use a lot of camera shots and angles to show characters feelings and emotions.

Tarantino uses a lot of gore due to today’s society’s thirst for the ‘full picture’ he also uses gore for the simple reason that he likes it. The camera shots and angles Tarantino uses in Inglourious Basterds and Django: Unchained are used effectively to emphasise significant facial expressions showing character’s true emotions. This allows the audience to understand what the character is feeling, but also, at times, leaving the audience in suspense or to decide for themselves what the character’s feelings are.

In Tarantino’s film, Django Unchained, a variety of camera shots nd angles are used to make the audience feel more involved and engaged with the characters. The Phrenology scene, featuring, Django, Shultz and Candie, uses a lot of expression showing camera angles to make the audience feel like they are present and can relate to the character’s emotions easily, for example Tarantino uses a medium close up camera angle to show the angry and determined look on Candie’s face as he saws open the skull of Old Ben.

When the camera angle is used the audience gets a nervous feeling and feels agitated by the sound of the skull being sawn open. While Candie is sawing open the skull, the camera switches to a mid two shot to show the reaction and emotion of Shultz and Django, as Shultz turns his head away and looks at the table then looks at Django who shares a similar expression to Shultz. This shows us that they feel uncomfortable by the situation he’ s in.

Another example of the use of camera angles to show emotion in the same scene is when Candie is displaying the skull of Old Ben and talking about the phrenology of African Americans, Tarantino uses a mid shot which is zoomed in just enough to show Candie’s angry, but alm, facial expression but zoomed out far enough to show Candie’s body language and how it represents his emotions and overall character traits. The body language used also gives us a more full and descriptive view on Candie as a character showing us that he’s in control and keeps a level head in dire situations.

This is further emphasised in a later part of this scene when Candie is talking about the proposition of Shultz and Django purchasing Broomhilda. Later a low angle shot of Stephen with Broomhilda and Candie is used to show the dominance and ower that they are asserting onto Django and Shultz, the camera often flicks between the two parties to constantly remind the audience of the emotions that each character is feeling. Camera shots help the audience to understand and relate to the characters emotions without knowing them.

This scene is a turning point in the film due to everything going smoothly previous to the trip to Candieland, where Shultz proposed he wanted to buy a mandingo but was really going to buy Broomhilda, Django’s wife. Earlier in the film, Tarantino uses Fur Elise to show the European heritage of the film, due to its omposer, Ludwig van Beethoven, being born in Belgium. During this whole scene there are no cuts, or stoppages in filming.

Tarantino is known for having long and often prolonged periods of filming with no stoppages using many camera shots and angles with descriptive dialogue. In another of Tarantino’s films, Inglourious Basterds, many similar camera shots and angles are used in both similar and much different ways. In the opening interrogation scene SS Colonel Hans Landa visits a french dairy farmer’s house to look for Jews, he sits down at the table with the dairy farmer and nterrogates him on whether or not he is illegally hiding jews.

A similar mid over the shoulder shot, which is also used in Django: Unchained, is used to show how calm and relaxed Landa is, but you can only see half of the dairy farmers face to leave the audience wondering what he is thinking, after a while it cuts to a medium close up of the dairy farmers face showing the tension and how nervous Landa is making the dairy farmer. The scene cuts back and forward to each person who is talking so you can see the action and reaction of the other person but also keeping he viewer in suspense of how one character is going to react before they speak.

Later in the scene a two shot is used to clearly show the emotion on both characters faces whilst Landa and the dairy farmer are discussing the missing Jew’s names and ages. After the dairy farmer has given Landa the names and ages of the jews, a panning shot is used to show the jews hiding underneath the floorboards. The shot pans down the dairy farmer’s leg to show the jews are hiding underneath where he is sitting and not under Landa, like they’re being sheltered by the dairy farmer.

The scene quickly cuts to a close up two shot of 2 jew’s under the floorboards with only their eyes exposed through a gap in the floorboards, this shot is used to show the confusion in the jew’s eyes due to not being able to speak english and to also emphasise how nervous they are due to a German official being present interrogating the farmer, even though they can’t understand what Landa is saying, they have a vague understanding of what’s happening.

Later in the scene a slowly zooming close up is used when Landa further questions him on the whereabouts of the jews, Landa’s happy expression s dropped into a more serious expression when threatening the dairy farmer’s family, the camera cuts to the dairy farmer but still zooms slowly to create tension and to show the dairy farmer’s distraught and grief stricken reaction to Landa already knowing that the dairy farmer is illegally hiding jews.

Tarantino uses Fur Elise in this film as well when Shultz is on camera to show his european background. This scene is also filmed in one take, further adding to the idea that Tarantino likes to film long films with interesting camera angles and dialogue. Quentin Tarantino follows a directing style called the Auteur Theory which showcases the director’s personal and often creative views and contributing to the film more than a director usually would.

Since Tarantino is a part of today’s society he is surrounded by movies of ‘mainstream’ directing styles which makes his films stand out. In the past movies were made with less gore (even though Tarantino is known for overusing gorey scenes) and cut away from what’s really happening, and left the viewer to imagine what happens next. As the years progress, the amount of ‘full picture’ scenes have gone up a lot due to a ot of real life videos which intrigue some but disgust others.

Tarantino’s films continue with this idea and make his films not only intriguing, but also very popular due to the film techniques he uses and his directing style. In Django: Unchained and Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino uses a lot of mid shots to show the facial expressions but also the body language of the characters which add to the detail and make you feel like you’re closer to the character. Tarantino uses a directing style that he enjoys and will continue to use as long as he is a director because that’s what he enjoys.

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