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

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One technique that is used in Dead Poet's Society to enhance the overall theme of the film would be in the final scene.  The pull back shot that shows many of the students standing on their desk after they have called out, "O Captain, My Captain" to Mr. Keating who is leaving helps to illuminate the impact that the teacher has had on his students.  Seeing the scene in a wide frame from Keating's eyes help to allow the viewer to see what impact he has had on his students from his own point of view.

Another technique to emphasize the theme of the film would be when Todd wants to know what the other students have said in terms of implicating Mr. Keating in Neil's death. The camera follows Todd, knocking on the door of another student and talking through the door.  The close up of Todd knocking and talking through reflects a condition of loneliness that he experiences.  It is a moment where his recognition is our own recognition:  He will have to take action for what he knows is right because no one else will.  This sense of the forlorn is brought out with this scene.

Finally, the use of setting and cinematography can be seen in Mr. Keating's packing up scene.  He stares out the window, alone from the highest of towers. He watches a Latin class reciting their verb tenses outside.  Keating looks out from the tower and the capture of the New England Winter along with the class and instruction that he no longer has helps to create a distinct mood. The melancholy in Mr. Keating's character is brought out in this moment.  What is more sad than a teacher who does not have a class any more?  The combination of the gray, dingy clouds, Mr. Keating alone in a tower, and him looking on what he no longer possesses helps to construct a sad emotinoal reality at this tender moment.