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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Film Analysis

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Adam Chilvers

on 31 August 2015

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Transcript of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Film Analysis

Power and Authority

Milos Forman throughout the film empathises key themes to the audience through the utilisation of filmic techniques and characterisation
By Adam Jordan Chilvers
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Film Analysis
Mental Illness
Whats the basic synopsis?
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest follows the story of Randle McMurphy as he is relocated from a prison farm to a mental institution for mental evaluation, and his resulting confrontations with patients and staff.

Medium Close-Ups of Nurse Ratched:
Tracking/Dolling Shot and Low Shot onto Nurse Ratched:
Establishing Shot of the Group and the Priority Figure Nurse Ratched:

- Nurse Ratched segregated from the group

- Supports the conception that the powerful are separate from the powerless

- Shows the primary figure on screen

- Low camera angle to symbolise superiority

- Figurative shot of her nickname ‘Big Nurse’

- Once again reinforce her power on screen

Mental Illness
Power and Authority
Camera Angles and Shots
Symbolism and Motifs
Costume Design , Colour and Sound
Object Symbolism:
Cheswick's Outburst:
An underlying motif of loss of personal freedom is recurrent in the film, with patterns of bars, locks, barriers, gates and shackles.
Many of the patients of the ward utilise figurative cigarettes which represent an American dime, this provides the patients with a makeshift currency similar to the outer world
Cheswick’s outburst of rage is a clear expression of free rights, he understands that he is losing money and it’s his option if he wishes to continue betting or stop at his own will.
Costume Design
Musical Score
The mixture of the elements of costume design, colour saturation and the films score help provided an unbalanced and capricious viewing for the audience comparable to the mental illness of the patients.
The director uses conventional outfits of mental illness hospital, e.g. the white robes, to empathise the mental instability of characters on screen.
White Robes:
Those wearing the white ropes as mentally ill and characters wearing causal wear as mentally fit i.e., Randle McMurphy.
Various scenes in the film vary in colour saturation, this mixture of saturation is spontaneous and out of context with what’s occurring on screen intentionally.
Commonly occurs during moments of mental instability.
In-harmonic sounds and an imbalance of pitch to create a crazy-like feel
This is played in scenes in which the patients exert there mental dysfunction and increasing in volume dependent on the severity of their mental breakout.
Firstly, power and authority is the key empathise of the film and through the astute utilisation of camera angles, they signified how the audience perceived certain scenes and characters.

Secondly, object symbolism had a major effect on the audiences understanding of freedom whether it be to symbolise freedoms they share with the outer world or the restrictions.

Finally, the crazy-like filmic techniques and score assist in adding the ‘mental’ atmosphere and the severity of patient mental illness.
Thank You
For Watching
Full transcript