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Rear Window Opening Sequence Analysis
Transcript of Rear Window Opening Sequence Analysis
A mystery thriller made by the founding father of the genre, Hitchcock. Unlike the rest of the film we see no obvious thriller conventions, the film sets itself up for a comfortable and safe sitting as it pans the outside of Jeff's window viewing into every other tenant's room as they couldn't care less about their lack of privacy. This is an encoded device used in conjunction with the linear narrative to show the juxtaposition between the beginning equilibrium of when their cul-de-sac of apartments used to be normal as opposed to later in the film.
This is a great example of Todorov's equilibrium theory. The beginning equilibrium is portrayed through the opening sequence of Jeff's neighbours character development as they go along with their daily lives. The disequilibrium happens just as Jeff witnesses the murder and carries on in everyone else's lives too, the new couple begin arguing, and even the little dog suffers the consequences of the disequilibrium. Finally, the new equilibrium surfaces as all becomes well again in the neighbourhood with a reverse shot of the opening sequence panning through the once again happy lives of everyone.
Barthe's hermeneutic code is used auspiciously within this first few minutes arising to the fact of the mystery thriller genre. As the audience glances into several of the lives the camera shows we're left wondering questions, why is that man sleeping on a mattress outside? Who is the man with the piano? And why is any of this of any importance?
What I want to Apply to my Opening Sequence
I like the confined set the film is set in, it allows for an audience to feel comfortable, and inevitably to have that turned on its head. It also allows for a low budget which is something I'll have to deal with.
The questioning nature of the sequence is something I'd like to incorporate too, to make the audience think, why am I adding these scenes in and what does this mean for the rest of the narrative?
How Characters are Introduced
L.B. Jefferies is first seen in a wheelchair, portraying him to be weak, yet the scene continues where the mise en scene of his apartment is shown which reveals props of guns and photographs of adventure. This juxtaposes against his weak image to show that he's had a hardened past before the injury that has put him in this position of disability.
On his cast is written 'Here lies the broken bones of L.B. Jefferies' showing him to have a humorous side, too.
Amongst his possessions is a negative of an attractive woman who appears on the front of a magazine. From this we can determine him to be both a womanizer and a respected photographer as his pictures have appeared in publication.