Music and Movies / Cinematic Elements Of K-Pax Opening Sequence

Cinematic Elements Of K-Pax Opening Sequence

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Autor:  anton  19 October 2010
Tags:  Cinematic,  Elements,  Opening,  Sequence
Words: 1269   |   Pages: 6
Views: 361

The opening sequence of K-PAX begins with an instrumental melody and a black screen. The first image that appears is of a spec of blurred light. The spec of light is similar to the haze one may see around a street lamp. The camera is close-up and blurred. The image is kept on for 3 seconds and then the camera fades out and back into another blurred image of light with dark contrasts. The dark contrasts appear to be blurred shadows. The images transitionally fade in and out in two to three second intervals. The sound begins to pick up beat. The momentum of the music increases as movement begins. The camera zooms out, as it fades out from one image and into the next. The images are continuously blurry, become larger and are a bit more apparent that they are of people.

The camera suddenly shifts to an overhead long shot. At this point the viewer begins to recognize the blurred images as people walking about a room. The musical score has allowed some of the sound from the room to mix into the melody. The sound of various people talking at once and of an intercom system with a person speaking loudly becomes apparent. One cannot make out what the person over the intercom is saying. There is no single conversation that is recognizable. There is just the sound of multiple conversations being merged into the melody of instrumental music. The sound, together with the people walking about quickly, allows the viewer to interpret the location as a type of public place.

The blurred images suddenly come into focus. It is now evident as people walk about the screen that this is the lobby of a bus or train terminal. The camera cuts to a view of an iron-gate window. In the center of the window is a circle of sunlight. Gradually, the sunlight enhances through the window. The beam of light begins to brighten, as if a cloud were passing by and allowing the suns natural rays of light to shine through.

The camera angle changes to a side view. There is an extreme close-up of the rays of light beaming through the window. The viewer can then see particles of lint and fabric flowing through the rays of light. The melody flows softly with the movement of the lint particles. The background music progressively begins to fade out as the clarity of the sound of the people in the room become more prominent. The viewer begins to hear a voice louder than the rest of the sounds. One can begin to make out what the person is saying.

The camera cuts to a man in a wheelchair begging for money and speaking loudly in the corridor of this room, which is evidently a train or bus station. The camera follows the head movement of the man in the wheelchair as he glances into the direction of the ray of light beaming through the window. The ray of light begins to brighten and touches down onto the floor. The man in the wheelchair looks away for a split second and then looks back. The camera follows his glance. A man, (Kevin Spacey), unexpectedly appears in a split second, behind the view of a passerby. He is standing directly in the ray of light.

Kevin Spacey is now standing in star lighting for a period of about 5 seconds. The light is shining ever so brightly purely on him. The camera zooms in to his expressionless face and then zooms back out to a full frontal view. The instrumental music plays a brief dramatic tune as the beam of light begins to fade away. He begins to walk toward the camera, out of the light and into the shadow.

The music diminishes, a lady screams and Kevin Spacey turns his head to the right. The camera cuts to the view in the direction that the actor was looking. The shot is of a purse being tossed about. A struggle begins between a lady and two men. The struggle is filmed from close-up so that the viewer cannot fully see the detail of what is happening. The viewer can only hear the screams and movement. This enhances the sense of drama. The two men begin to run away from the camera and through the crowd.

The camera cuts back to the lady lying face down on the floor. There are scattered shadows of all the people walking around her. The camera angle is slightly tilted as Kevin Spacey reaches his hand out toward the lady and kneels down toward the floor. The camera zooms in on his face as he looks toward his right. The view then cuts to police officers running toward the camera. The camera then zooms back out and cuts to the man in the wheelchair.

The light entering the scene is from the exterior of the building or through the iron-gate windows. It appears to be sunlight and it’s coming in from only one direction. As the camera switches from actor to actor the direction of light and shadows that appear on their faces are dependent upon where they are standing in the room and what direction the light is hitting them.

During this primary interaction the camera is on the man in the wheelchair. There is no direct sunlight hitting him. He shows little importance in the scene. The next view is of the old lady speaking to a police officer. The sunlight is shining on her left cheek and casting a shadow on her right cheek but the officer is facing her and his entire face is in the shadow. The light appears to be peeking over his shoulder and emphasizing only the lady in despair. The camera zooms in for a close-up of another police officer that is calling in the mugging on her radio. She is grabbing the radio, which is placed on her right shoulder. The light is hitting her on the left cheek and casting a shadow on her right. She looks to her left and away from the camera and begins to walk in that direction.

The camera angle switches to a view of her walking toward the viewer. She walks up to Kevin Spacey to ask him questions. At this point the camera is switching back and forth between the two views of Kevin Spacey and the woman police officer. The light is hitting her on the left cheek as she faces him. When the camera cuts back to Kevin Spacey the light is also hitting him on his left cheek and casting a shadow on his right. The camera cuts back and forth between the two actors.

It’s apparent during this observation that the low-key light distribution is deliberately enhancing the sense of mystery that the main character demonstrates. Although, the light is bright in nature, it is also casting many shadows on the various actors in this opening sequence. This provokes the viewer to begin to ask questions throughout the mis-en-scene. The sense of mystery is evident and conclusive through the use of sound, camera angles and transitions.

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