Do The Right Thing, a movie directed by Spike Lee, filmed on a sunny summer day in a black neighbourhood in Brooklyn is what many consider a great movie. The movie portrays stories of many actors consisting from different palettes, where each has their own conflicts and struggles. It is a very entertaining movie yet it will leave you emotionally connected to the events that took place. It would not have reached its current success if it wasn’t for the unique cinematography.
In the coming sections I will be talking about the shots, angles, lighting styles, symbolism and colour. Realism The realism of this movie is pretty clear, where Spike Lee was trying to convey the physical reality of the black people who live in a culturally diverse network. There were several characters in the movie and each had his own story, the flow of the, jumping from one character the other gives the feeling that there is no manipulation of the story, it’s the real deal and this is how things roll in Brooklyn in a timeline of twenty-four hours.
Another reason why this movie is linked to realism is because of the moral issues, where for example there would be a sensitive scene about a scene, that speaks for itself and it is interpreted by the audience in their own way. Do The Right Thing may be also be considered as a classic since there was a focus on telling a great story but no that of one character but many, and each had his/her own charisma. It is the type of movies where you would want to go back over and over again to watch it. Shots Spike Lee is known for his perfect shots where he uses different lens to give the movie a distinguishing look.
The movie varied from long shots, medium, close up and extreme close up. That is shown from the beginning of the movie where the woman was dancing and it almost included all of the shots mentioned above. Throughout the movie the technique of including various shots were constantly being used and were applied to all the characters. Figure 1A Extreme close up Figure 1B Close up Figure 1C Medium shot ` Figure 1D Long shot Figure 2A Extreme close up Figure 2B close up Figure 2C Medium shot Figure 2D Long shot The figures shown above are just two examples of many where different shots are being taken of the.
In Figure 2a- 2b we have an example of the camera creating an extreme close up, pulling back going through the close up, medium shot to reach the long shot, and then moving horizontally to show the neighbourhood. This technique was used constantly. I think the meaning behind this technique is to make the movie as seem as realistic as possible. Spike Lee focused on the main characters individually and then pulls backed to create a long shot to show that character’s place in the neighbourhood, which adds realism to the setting. Angles.
In Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, he set up his camera in different positions and shot at different angles. A low angle is when the subject is being filmed from below. I believe that this angle gives the subject superiority and makes him look powerful. Figure 3 Figure 3 is a scene where Radio Raheem was ordering pizza with his stereo being played and Sal was telling him to turn it off. Raheem looked intimidated so the low angle shot adds to the intimidation. In my opinion this was perfect since Radio Raheem was a character that everyone is afraid off and the more intimidating he looks the better.
I also think that it added a little spice to the end, because these constant shots of Raheem give a bigger impact on the audience when he dies. In contrary to low angle shots, high angles are taken from above. The camera is placed above the subject facing down. This type of shot is to make the subjects appear insignificant and it gives a general overview of the scene Figure 4 Mother Sister Trauma. High angle view. The scene in Figure 4 is just before the end of the movie where Sal’s restaurant was burnt down because he was blamed for Radio Raheem’s death.
These incidents gave Mother Sister a trauma. I would not say that the high angle shot makes her insignificant, but it would rather make her look threatened by the general overview scene, that the high angle shot achieves. The violence ends with this scene, which in my point of view is a very dramatic one. Mother Sister is the lovable person, everyone looks up too her but she was screaming like a lunatic, then the high angle shot of all the destruction around gives a dramatic ending to that scene.
There were many eye level shots taken in the movie. An Eye level shot is when the subject is being filmed near eye level. What I think Spike Lee was trying to do with these eye level shots if to put the audience in the same footing of the characters. The bird eye view is the shot taken overhead. It makes people in the scene look small. Figure 5 Bird eye shot, final scene. An example of a bird eye shot is shown in Figure 5, the final scene. This scene is one of the most important of the movie.
The movie visualises a 24 hour timeline, so all the incident s that happened, from waking up to burning Sal’s kitchen happened in one day, which in my opinion is a lot of activity in a neighbourhood. This final scene that makes the neighbourhood appear to be god like is amazing, after all the violence that broke down, it seems like nothing happened. People are playing basketball; DJ love daddy is talking about a new subject ignoring what happened last night. Every day is a new page for this people. Oblique shots are shots taken at a tilted angle.
Straight lines become diagonals which gives a shot an overwhelming feeling in an unstable world. Figure 6A Oblique shot, Mayor Figure 6B Oblique shot, MotheSister The conversations between the Mayor and Mother Sister where taking at an oblique angle. I think the reason behind this is to highlight the unstable an unbalanced relationship between them. Lighting styles The movie took place on a hot day in summer, since it is a story about a movie about one day, lighting is going to change from bright in the morning, brighter in the afternoon, less brighter at sunset, night which is dark and finally the next morning.
There was a lot of emphasis on how it was really hot, so it is important that the brightness to stand out. Spike Lee kind of showed us how hot it is. There was a scene where could see the heat waves surrounding the tree old men on the sidewalk. The lighting in the riot scene in the end was great, it was very realistic and it captured the audience emotionally, especially those who have memories of such riots. Symbolism I believe that there was a lot of symbolism in the movie; in fact each character symbolized something, of the struggle in a black neighbourhood.
For example, Sal and the Korean symbolize the irony of them taking more money from the black community more than the businesses of the blacks themselves, and they do not live in the neighbourhood. The mentally challenged guy and the pictures of Marter L. King and Malcom X are connected, where there is a double grief, first is on the guy himself, I think people felt sorry for him, and the second grief was the reminder of Malcom X and Martin passing away, both these factors probably affected the audience emotionally.
Buggin’out wants African Americans on the wall in Sal’s restaurant; Radio Raheem is blasting off fight the power song. There are many others symbols in this movie and the nature, location and story it requires these symbolisms, that adds al little spice to movie and affects the audience emotionally. Colour Like the lighting the colour helps us associate to the weather. Different tones ranging from orange, red, and yellow were used. These colours can also be interpreted in the characters emotions. The main colour was red to emphasize that it is hot.
He uses other colours in calmer place such as in Mookie’s girlfriend’s room, which was blue. I believe that Spike Lee sis a good job in playing around with colours Conclusion Do the right thing is a movie that gets you to think. You get laughs out of it some others cry. The techniques used in the movies are the reason why it is considered to be a successful movie. The way he portrayed the black community struggling from the different scenes and characters will leave an impact on whoever watches the movie.
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