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What are some of the film techniques used in Dead Poets Society?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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Film techniques are the language of cinema itself. The placement of the camera, the lighting of a scene, the way actors and objects are arranged within a frame—all of these things help tell a story with visuals.

Since the carpe diem scene has already been discussed here, I'll put attention on the film techniques used during the scene where Neil and his father argue about his going to study medicine rather than pursuing his dreams of acting. High camera angles, the body language of the actors, and the composition all contribute to the audience's understanding of the conflict between Neil and his family.

First, notice how at the beginning of the scene all of the characters are not in the same shot. This suggests how all the characters are not unified in opinion: Neil's father is a tyrant, Neil is resisting, and Neil's mother is a bystander, worried about her son but too timid to confront her husband.

The camera angles and positions of the actors also suggest the power struggle between Neil...

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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