The Wall

Arch 443/646: Architecture and Film
Fall 2011


The Wall 1982


Discussion Questions:

Please answer the questions below. Use paragraph form. Email me your responses in Word .doc format to: I will be posting these each week after the class. You should be prepared to deliver your answer in class -- but paraphrase, do not read it.

Please reference other course films as indicated. If I have not indicated the use of other films, please feel free to include any that you think might be of significance to your question.


updated Thursday, December 22, 2011 2:35 PM


1. Jennifer Beggs

Compare the military rituals of procession in The Wall and 300. How do choices in cinematography contribute to a difference in the readings of the two films?

Both 300 and The Wall have military procession scenes however the two ways of expressing these scenes give completely different readings to each film. In 300 when the army of 300 people are marching to the battlefield, the cinematography makes you feel as though you are part of the army. With the use of low angles looking upwards, the filming makes the viewer feel they are part of the war. Seeing people walk past the screen draws the viewer into the thinking they are a part of the epic movement as the group. In The Wall when the soldiers are walking to battle, they are singing while marching. It almost gives the suggestion of defeat. It appears as though they are returning deflated and exhausted. Most of the camera angles are straight on shots. There are some low angles but without the shot looking upwards, it does not promote a feeling of authority with great significance.

In 300 when the soldiers are dying, the movie shows the epic death with very graphic shots of blood and men being decapitated. The act of showing the men being killed draws the viewer into the experience of being there and witnessing one of your own men go down. There is much emotion portrayed in the use of colour, fast moving and low angle shots looking upwards. In The Wall the military scenes do not promote as much tension and suspense, as they do in 300. The first scene, of the soldiers marching while bringing the injured soldiers to the medical centre, portrays the feeling of defeat. Even in 300 when men are dying, there is no feeling of defeat – the deaths just make it more suspenseful and exciting. Many of the camera views in The Wall are taken from eye level which puts the audience in a position that makes them feel as though they are merely watching what is happening from afar, as opposed to being part of the action. This footage appears raw and less captivating than 300’s action shots. It stresses the defeat the soldiers are feeling with all their injured men.

It is interesting to observe the animated hammers marching in The Wall. The contrast between the army and the hammers marching emphasizes how much more coordinated the hammers are. The hammers are in perfect alignment and are completely synchronized. This seems to emphasize the lack of synchronization and perhaps lack of drive the soldiers are feeling while fighting in a draining war.



2. Jaliya Fonseka

The Wall makes use of a very wide range of lighting types throughout the live action portions of the film. Comment on the use of lighting to change the mood of scenes in terms of its ability to be an "effect".

Pink Floyd concerts are known for their over the top visual effects, which are considered equally apart of the experience as the music itself. Their shows place a lot of emphasis on lighting, especially through the "liquid light shows" that project various stage-lights onto enormous screens behind the band. Spot lights and strobe lights are the basic projections among the many other high-tech intelligent lighting systems used by the group that spend hundreds of thousands on these products. Such lighting also instigated lighting director Barrett's use of lighting to create shadows. To add to the visual sceptical, lighting was used to make shadows glow, shrink and ungulate, as it interacted with the band while they performed.

The use of lighting throughout The Wall generally differs to the common lighting techniques and strategies used in other films. Where most films use subtle ambient lighting to evoke certain moods in film, the wall uses very obvious and intentional focused lighting to create an immediate connection between the viewer and the particular scene. Thus, in many ways the lighting types throughout the action portions of the film infer a direct connection to the lighting used as the band performed on the stage - The movie set becomes a stage of sorts.

The use of spotlights are very common throughout The Wall. It appears in many scenes including the "jail cell" scene, where a large spotlight could be seen projecting from inside the cell towards the camera. As oppose to the darkly lit jail cells in other films, this scene, with its bright projection pulls our attention quickly towards the inside of the cell. One almost feels captured by the sheer power of light emitting from the jail cell. The Spot light evokes a sudden intensity in the viewer, one that other movies strive to achieve slowly.

A spotlight is also used in the tunnel scene of the film as the "soldier" figures run towards and away from the light. In this, as the spotlight light stains the wall the solider figures are seen as silhouettes and their shadows create large undulating shapes on the wall, similar to that of a Pink Floyd concert. This light immediately gives a sense of the soldiers ascending and descending.

Likewise, the "Is there anybody out there" scene establishes a shot where Pink is barricaded by a large brick wall. A large spotlight follows him as he struggles to climb up the wall, the struggle representing his inability to break through a certain feeling/stage of his life and the spotlight putting the focus on him. This direct focus on him not only maintains the viewers attention, but also creates a feeling of anxiety and stress, the feeling of "being on the spot." Thus, the viewer is in some ways as much a part of Pink's struggle as he is, as the spotlight provokes a feeling of being rushed to do something - as he is to break through the wall. Ambient lighting in this scene would not have given it that edge that it achieves through the spotlight. The viewer would have been a mere spectator of Pinks struggle rather than partake in it.

"Comfortably numb" involved a wide range of spot light usage, throughout the scene. The most intense being the portion where Pinks crews breaks through his room door and light beams through shining all over the walls and ceiling. A certain epic/exciting feeling is evoked through this as the spot light remains to be altered by the moving figures in his room as they try and restore him. Following this a similar use of spotlight is seen in the car scene where light is projected all over the inside of the car, again brining forth a feeling of intensity.

The use of such spotlight throughout the film establishes the movie "scene" as a "stage" of sorts. This allows for a much more controlled scene as the spotlight infers immediate connection with the viewer to create dynamic, focused and moving projections.



3. Miles Gertler

Which of the effects used to create the scream in The Wall gives us a clearer image of the event or emotion that is being presented? Why or why not?

Much of the film's emotional content deals with themes of isolation, abandonment, guilt, fear, and hatred. The scream in the wall emerges during its unrelenting expansion across the animated landscape. The face itself is coordinated with the soundtrack and accounts for the role of the crying vocals. This and its physical appearance indicate a depiction of Pink, though notably as it emerges from the wall its features are trapped behind a pallid skin that adheres it to the bricks. Its eyes, nose, and mouth are at first nonexistent, and as it protrudes to its furthest point only its mouth opens, facing resistance as it disconnects its lips, forcing the skin to tear over the orifice. The face's surfacing from the wall suggests a difficulty in expressing itself, and when it does, is occupied with visceral human emotions through its fearful scream.

The animation in the film is designed by Gerald Scarfe, an English political cartoonist who also worked at times for the New Yorker and Disney. As is the stylistic norm in political cartoons, the face is rendered in a highly evocative language and relies only on the physical features required to make it and its message instantly recognizable.

The face gives clarity to the definition of the wall more than it does to the emotional content of the film; one may gather from the lyrics of the film’s namesake anthem that the bricks of its composition stand for figures of oppression in the life of the protagonist, but in this scene we see that Pink too, in constructing the wall around himself, is implicit in its constitution.


4. Suzan Ibrahim

The extreme low angle used in this shot gives us a very skewed and purposeful sense of this space. Elaborate on the use of extreme low angle as an effect by contrasting it with a commentary on other "corridor type shots" that are shot at eye level or a high angle.

The first scene in The Wall is the corridor shot which plays a huge impact on the introduction of the movie. The corridor is portrayed as a mundane, everyday life hallway with repetitive doors on either side. However, it low angle changes the perspective and reading of it. All of a sudden, this mundane space becomes grand, and its long zooming pan into the hallway makes it seem almost sneaky, building up a tension that usually wouldn't be existent within such a space. The doors seem taller and grander and a lot more secretive in which what they hold behind. Instead of looking down on this hallway, one becomes like the mouse, where it is possible to find out what is hiding behind those doors. This tension is the basis of the movie and the unfolding of events and music.

However, everything starts of anonymously where every face of a door is a protection  of what is personal and not utilitarian. Such intensity is hard to be captured at a regular eye-level angle or higher since then it would imply that a person is walking through.



5. David McMurchy

Compare the presentation of blood in (select scenes in) The Wall with the presentation of blood in 300 and Sin City. How does this presentation of blood work into this film as a different kind of effect?

In both movies Sin City and 300, violence and death are turned into extremely graphic acts, and the sheer physicality of these actions is obsessed over, stylized and shot in slow motion.  Blood plays a large role in the stylization of violence and death, as it is often a pre-requisite for them to happen.  In Sin City, blood, like most everything else, is reduced to stark white on a black background.  It stands out very clearly as it is shown, and there can be no doubt that violence has happened.  It is a tool of the producers of the movie to show death and the effects of violence in a very graphic way.

In the movie 300, blood is a tool to demonstrate violence, albeit using slow motion rather than high contrast to show it’s presence.  As the Spartans fight the invading army, each hit with their swords or spears is slowed down to show blood as it explodes outwards from their targets.  This slowing down of the scene as blood is in motion again makes blood into a tool showing the potential beauty in motion and violence.

In The Wall, however, blood is not used to glorify death or violence.  Blood is used more subtly to foreshadow transitions by our protagonist during his descent into darkness.  One of the earlier scenes we see him with blood is in the pool, which appears to be filled with it.  This shows us the possibility of the man (who at the time we don’t know the identity of) facing death.  Later, we see the cause of blood (his grip on the broken window edge) as he stares off at the city amidst the ruins of his room and then his presence once again in the pool, with blood expanding outwards from his hand, and realize that all along he was that man, and he is experiencing a death of sorts and always was.

Later, he decides to shave his head and eyebrows, at which point blood drips off of him and into the sink, splashing up.  This blood is representative of his sacrifice in the last step of his journey into the mad dictator who we saw earlier in the movie.

Blood in The Wall is used where recurring elements of rebirth and transitions happen, and give us a sense of foreshadowing about Pink’s character’s development throughout the movie.



6. Benny Or

Compare the animated manipulation of The Wall (object) to the destruction of the workers town in Metropolis as destructive devices/sequences in the films. Do you think the use of animation helped or hindered the success of these sequences?

The destruction of the workers town in "Metropolis" is metaphorical for the destruction of the institution and it's over reliance on technology. In "The Wall" however it is about the emancipation from society's factory of conformity. Both movies use the physical wall as a metaphor for the institutions and ideals that they are against. The destruction of the physical wall as well as the animated wall are presented in the movie "The Wall." The animated version presents a very literal representation that I felt was almost unnecessary in that the physical depiction of the wall had a much stronger affect in conveying the rage for freedom in the youth of society. It is understandable however that the animator of the movie Gerald Scarfe would choose to reiterate the statement through such graphic means due to his background as a political cartoonist where visual commentary tend to take on more exaggerated representations. The wall in an architectural sense can be understood as an oppressive object that traps its inhabitants. The destruction of the architecture seen in the two films remind me of the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In fact Pink Floyd actually performed their album "The Wall" in 1990 as part of the celebration of the event. With that being said, the metaphor of the destruction of the wall and it's metaphorical meanings should have been clear to the audience of the time. Although it allowed Gerald Scarfe to explore the animated technologies of the time and would have been an awesome special effect to witness, I think it underestimated the intelligence of it's audience. In a sense the idea of over use of technology being detrimental to society as depicted in Metropolis could be a way of describing the use of animation in "The Wall."


7. William Pentesco

Describe the impact of the "close view" in film as an effect. Feel free to include comparisons to any of the other films.

Close up shots in film allow for the intense evaluation of the subject at hand. For example we can analyze a foot press down on a vacuum, and get the sense of the mechanisms at work, hear the click of plastic and the groan of springs. The close up is used to almost size up or interigate the quality of what we are looking for. In The Wall the close up pans around and tracks Pink’s body. Starting at the watch which starts to set the idea of this slow timless state then the discovery of the burned down cigarette that reinforces this frozen position, then up to the face and the eye, all without movement. The close up cuts out the context and funnels a very direct vision. In this instance it is one that makes the audience wonder is this person alive, is he well, can he move, does he want to move, why is he like this.

Closeups also were used as segways into  and out of cut scenes. When something zoomed in almost to the extent of the cameras focus, a scene change would follow. This would eighter add to a certain narrative, like explaining why Pink, is sitting in his chair in the hypnotic state of being, or from the vacuum cleaner in the hallway to the inside of the room and back again when the vacuum cleaner is turned off.



8. Emmanuelle Sainté

In The Wall the buildings come to life. Is one style of animation more effective at making this a believable manipulation in the plot? Or if the style, is one transformation more comprehensible? Speak to animation as an effect in this film as it contrasts with the majority of the film as live action.

In The Wall, we witness the slow deterioration of a rock star’s mental state as he responds to and tries to deal with the different experiences and occurrences in his life. The animated sequences are especially effective at portraying this progression, because they allow the viewer glimpses into the psyche of the main character.

The contrast between the live action scenes and the animated portions then help the viewer distinguish between “what” he sees, and “how” he sees things, or how what he has experienced has affected him.

The first instance of animation in the film demonstrates this well, when after realizing that Pink has lost his father to the Second World War, we see a nightmarish vision of battle, with soldiers reduced to animalistic forms in gas masks, and a fleet of airplanes turning into flying white crosses that start to bleed.

This can be interpreted as the main character’s interiorized impression of war and how he views the institution that caused his father’s death.
The use of animation to place emphasis on the unreality of these scenes is particularly effective, because, if we think of them as taking place in the main character’s head, this style allows for a more accurate picture of his view of the world and the people in it. It makes it easier to morph from one scene to a seemingly unrelated one, as often occurs in dreams, because it’s not striving to be real, or believable, but instead to distort and exaggerate.

This effect is also successful because, as the film progresses, the sequences tend to get longer, signaling that Pink’s breaks from reality are increasing, and heralding his descent into madness.


9. Tristan van Leur

With reference to The Wall and any of the other films we have viewed this term, speak to the use of odd camera angles as an effect. When do these angles change from a simple effect to a special effect (if you feel that they do)?

The Line between effect and special effect is a blurry and confusing one.  There are without doubts shades of grey.  But a special effect is an effect that makes a big move to transform a world, or make possible a fantastic event that otherwise would not be possible.  A pure effect is an effect that transforms the mood of the scene, and helps to convey a message the emotion of the scene to the viewer, but not transform the world.

Using this definition, most of the camera angles in The Wall are purely effects.  They are not transformative images, but rather images that convey to the audience the feeling of Pink and his surroundings.  Generally, odd camera angles are used to create a sense of unease and lunacy.  Especially well done are the scenes using Dutch tilts, such as the above example that powerfully conveys a sense of mental instability, and for the audience, immediately relates the strangeness and unease of the angle to the emotion of Pink.

The only shot that really transverses the role of effect and special effect, is near the end of the film, as they are taking Pink out of his apartment.  The camera have several strange angles, moving in between them, and these shots begin to transform the world, and almost allows you to feel like you are inside of Pink’s mind, completely distorting the surroundings.  Although to create this transformation, more were used than purely strange camera angles, which leads to question whether a camera angle can be considered a special effect just on its own, or rather it will always be just an incredibly versatile effect.


10. Benjamin Van Nostrand

Compare the portrayal of "live" violence in The Wall - the flashback war scenes (close up) versus the scenes with Pink. Which felt more emotional? Why? Compare this to the means of illustrating war violence in 300.

Pink's violence is hardly disgusting or shocking – a few razor cuts are hardly the stuff of nightmares and the trashing of the hotel room is reminiscent of several rockstar personas like Pete Townsend's famously regular post-show destruction of equipment.

The biggest difference that I can see is specifically the contrast: the pitched battle scenes in both 300 and The Wall are so full of suffering and pain that the overall feeling, however ghastly, is somewhat deadened by the overwhelming scale. Even the close-ups contain suggestions that the agony extends far beyond what is contained in the frame – an unmoving hand in the corner of the shot here, a slumped silhouette on the ground there.

After too many montage shots of victims, the viewer becomes totally desensitized. This was, I recall, the mainstream critics' main problem with 300's slowdown/speedup glamorized approach to violence when the movie came out: there's just too much of it to sustain the punch of its visual impact .

The depiction of Pink is the polar opposite. For the entire film up to that point, the hotel-room version of Pink has been morose, distant, thoroughly depressed and emotionally vacant. To see him break out of that stupor and actually feel something – enough feeling to get out of his chair and trash his room, to go to the bathroom and shave all his extra hair off – that comes off as far more striking than a field of corpses.

Contrast aside, 300 has a decidedly comic-book approach to gore: blood spatter looks like it was painted in afterwards, great fountains of it spray up artistically with every decapitation, and every rippling set of Spartan abs acquires a manly sheen of blood, sweat and dirt. At nightfall, after the fighting, the Spartans gather to tell stories and laugh about their day's conquests. The battlefields of The Wall have none of that ultramasculine glamour, instead the soldiers in combat are mostly seen running with a desperate frenzy, and when the combat is done they have blank stares, shellshocked faces and hollow eyes.


11. Talayeh Hamidya

Compare the effectiveness of Pink's dream sequences in The Wall - "live action" versus "animated". Is one version more effective than the other in terms of creating the effect of dreaming? Explain.



12. Michelle Greyling

The basic setting with the TV and chair seems to reappear continuously throughout the latter part of the film The Wall. How are effects used with these simple furniture items able to create a believable manipulation of the realities presented in the film?

In the film, "the Wall" various traumatic events lead up to Pink's mental collapse. The last of which were his wife that left him and the loss of her love. He reacts by withdrawing from his current situation by escaping to various places of created memories in his mind in search of a "salvation" of some sorts. Pink become paralysed by his emotive and mental state and locks himself in his hotel room. He sits on the chair by the lamp while flipping through the thirteen senseless TV channels available. During the song "Nobody is Home" in the film, Pink calculate the insignificant amount of valuable things he possess and is overwhelmed by the great loss that he has experienced in his life. The interpretation of the song "Nobody is Home" take on the meaning that suggest that he is not "mentally home". Although he is physically present in the hotel room, he experience a mental escape to several prefabricated mental realms or deeply embedded created memory places in his past.

Pink's deep yearning for "home" reveal that his only home is found in the numerous hotel rooms that he lived in during his music tours. The significance of the TV, table and chair occupy the symbol of "home" for Pink. His estranged perhaps adulterous wife represented the image of "home' to him, but by the loss of her, only his chair table and lamp remain as symbols of "home". From the isolation of Pinks hotel room he is transported to various settings in his mind. In Pink's barren landscape and war stricken scene, his adult physical form seated in the chair located in the barren field is replaced with his adolescent version during a physical expression of his current traumatic state. In this perhaps psychotic manner his seated body moves forward and backward and then become blurred. His bodily figure in motion is then replaced with the adolescent version, moving his body in the same manner. With the use of chroma key the chair, table and lamp is filmed from various angles in front of a green-screen. The green-screen background is then replaced with that of the barren landscape. It depicts the idea that the table, chair and lamp have moved in fact to a new location. The TV, chair and lamp is used as a transition between the real and the imaginative memory state. The TV screen depicting a war documentary is also used as a transition method from one scene to the other. The image of the small boy in his chair represent the trauma that he experienced as a young boy that have not been resolved. The young boy is deeply integrated in Pink's thoughts during his mental breakdown while he constantly retrieves his agonized imaginative memories by transferring the adult figure to the child figure. The young boy is depicted walking among all the dead soldiers representative of such imaginative thoughts created by the child at a young age which are now retrieved by the adult person. The scene ends where the young boy vanishes in fog to reappear from fog in the following scene where the soldiers are arriving home after the war. Pink remains in his state of mental absence during this scene transition.

The chair, lamp and TV also take on the role of perhaps a transportation method or transporting mechanism toward his mental landscapes. Pink's mental landscapes are not actual memories but rather Pink's imaginative memory of what it would have been like. Pink was only two years old when the war ended and would have been to young to have created such memories. The TV, lamp and chair connect his various mental landscapes with the reality of the hotel room. They also seem to be a mechanism for the adult version of Pink to be transferred to the adolescent version of Pink. Every time he seem to leave the hotel room as adult and then film effects is used to transfer him to his adolescent version. The song "Bring the boys back home" end suddenly after the soldiers walking into the fog represent some sort of solution. The following scene depicts the adolescent version Pink alone walking on the train platform toward his well known TV, lamp and chair. The adolescent version of Pink then sits down on the chair to watch television. In this scene the chair is facing to the right, in the next scene the setting is reproduced with the chair facing to the left with the seated adult figure of Pink. At this point the sound of his thoughts integrate with knocking on his hotel room door. Pink's manager enters the room resembling the very return to that which he had fled. Here it seem that Pink has been recaptured and the "freedom" that he experienced during his mental landscape, disappear.


13. Richard D'Allessandro

In this particular scene contrasting angles of view are used. Comment on the purpose and success of these effects in setting the mood for this event.

In this particular scene, we are witness to two very important transformations.  One is of the protagonist Pink, the subject, whose mood has shifted from a blank numbness to a blindly focused and determined state.  The other is to the hotel room, the setting, the semblance of which shifts from a state of destruction and disarray to that of order and structure amidst chaos.  The purpose of these two contrasting angles is to most effectively describe this transformation in each, when a typical shot from eye level (5 foot or 2 meters) would certainly miss both.  Despite how closely associated both the subject and scene are throughout, by one being a reflection of the other and vice versa, what they demand of the camera so that we may properly evaluate each, is really quite different.

The first angle concerns the subject, and so we are presented with a very tight, subjective or introspective vantage point.  Pink is huddled over the floor, eyes wide, concentrated. From this angle we observe a purely meditative, moving and reordering of things.  The serene mood of the character is nurtured in our minds as we see his thoughtful handling of broken pieces with so much tenderness and care.  Another angle of the same kind may have been a shot from behind, over his shoulder, so that we may have imagined the act from Pink’s point of view.  Though, as always, the emotion on an actor’s face tells us much more about the character’s condition.  The shot describes the imaginary scale of his creation, against a telling, focused expression on the creators face looming godly in the background.  In contrast, we can still recall the character slouched in a chair, despondent and surrounded by an array of detrimental, pseudo-pacifiers.  And then the mad eruption of delirious anger exacted on the, still somehow indifferent, assemblage of inanimate captors.  We witnessed the violent transition from one sort of madness to another.  Now the dust has settled and everything is calm.  The mood and his changed state of mind are worn on his face, which is close to the floor as he slowly recovers from the disaster in a prone position.  It is only from this angle and aspect that we could truly read this in completion.  In this way, we can understand exactly how he is doing what he is doing, though we cannot yet fully comprehend what.

As we become aware of our inability to grasp the full extent of Pink’s new behavior, suddenly our interest turns from the state of the protagonist to the state the room.  There was wholeness and then destruction.  So what has become of the room?  This next angle concerns the setting, and so we are presented with a very wide, objective or planometric view.  We know as architects, after all, that a plan is how best to describe the extent of a space and the scale of such a two dimensional phenomenon.  Now, as our point of view switches to the aerial, we can see that wholeness is forming once again by the same hands that caused the destruction.  In the aftermath, a bastion of senseless order is expanding, slow but resolute, from the centre of the room.  Seeing it as such, we may behold the rational, oppressive, and militaristic life of the project taking shape.  More importantly, by observing the coming back together of the room in this way, and thus the indestructability of these things, we are presented with the perpetuity and melancholy of it all.  This is the overarching mood of the scene.  Some insidious quality in these things has broken the will of Pink’s character and now, in the final stage of the transformation, it condemns him to servitude.  The room then, is a greater reflection of Pink’s own, very personal transformation: the setting being a metaphor for the cyclical nature and inescapability of our culture’s effect on people, from damaged adult to doomed child and back.  The success of both shots in describing these complementary aspects, subjective and objective, has granted us this resonant perspective.



14. Jamie Usas

Both a "real" and an animated verson of this sequence are used. Are both necessary? Is one better than the other? Is one or the other of these effects more effective at arousing emotion? Explain.

The meat grinder scene, arguably one of the most disturbingly memorable images from Allan Parker's The Wall, graphically encapsulates a major statement of the film; "We don't need no education". Rendered in both a live-action sequence, directed by Allan Parker, and animation, directed by Gerald Scarfe, the viewer has no choice but to confront the proposition that modern schooling is more an assimilation than an education, and an oppressive force to be actively, and justly, fought against. While the literal content of both sequences is nearly identical, the affect of the live-action and the animation is somewhat different. Parker's sequence is stylistically surreal, depicting adolescents marching in an identity vacant, machine-like syncopation, through the conveyor system of education, before mindlessly dropping into a giant meat grinder to be processed into a pulp-like substance of conformity. The live-action sequence is cold and emotionless, the students are sub-human and vacant of any awareness of their situation and impending doom. This leaves the viewer in a nauseous, emotionally vulnerable state to consider the significance of the images and reflect on the nature of education without a certain level of poetic distance. Gerald Scarfe's animated version of the sequence employs a similarly surreal approach to the subject matter, but situates the "schoolmaster" as the "hammer of oppression" who is forcibly feeding the struggling students into the schoolhouse shaped meat grinder. The affect of the animation is satirical. Even though the content of the image itself is more violent and graphically explicit, the animated frames seem to distance the viewer from the event of the "grinding", allowing the scene to achieve a level of poetic credibility not present in the live-action sequence.


15. Maryam Abedini Rad

A very different attitude towards mirrors is presented at the beginning and during the film. How does this use of mirrors reflect cinematic devices that we have already seen used this term, and is is presenting something new in its alteration of the realities presented in the film?

Pink Floyd -The Wall is a 1982 British live-action/animated musical film directed by Alan Parker based on the 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall. The screenplay was written by Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters. The film is highly metaphorical and is rich in symbolic imagery and sound.

Whenever mature Pink look at the mirror he feels an old deep pain and trauma in his heart and soul and here the mirror reflexes this truth. He destroys and breaks the mirrors because there are several reasons behind his apparent depressive and detached emotional state. He sees his loneliness, his suffering childhood, and the circumstance that the second war is brought for him. He sees his childhood that flashes back to Pink as a young English boy growing up in the early 1950s. Throughout his childhood, Pink longs for a father figure after he learns his father died in the war.

In the scene that the main character of the film, Pink, wears his father`s uniform and looks in the mirror, maybe he sees his ambitious and future or he just wants to imagine his dead father. Maybe he wants to draw a picture of his dead father as the lost part of a three pieces puzzle!
In fact, I personally think that Parker brought the mirror in various scenes in the film as a symbolic object. Sometimes it can illustrate the reality of life (the mental torture that the mature Pink is suffering from and the isolation) and sometimes it gives you an idea about an ideal imaginary world that is drawn a picture of an unknown tomorrows, desires and hopes by a fatherless young boy.

He is a victim of an unwanted event (Second World War).loss of father made him an isolated, timid and sad child. The mirror always recognizes him his miserable past because it reflexes his "Now" and the permanent lacks.

In general it is worth to say that mirrors and reflections can be used for various meanings- a place for (mental) reflection, self-analysis, vanity, fractured personality/confusion (multiple reflections), suspense, changing in appearance of a character for having a new identity(sometimes they look at the mirror to believe their new look!) and etc.

We cannot forget Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the use of mirror in that animation. In fact, in this animation the mirror has an independent character (symbolic character of for a mirror),! It only can reflex the truth and when the dark character of the film cannot accept what it says, decides to break it to eliminate this device of the truth reflection.

In Mulholland Drive by David Lynch, in a scene that Rita through the big mirror while seeing the poster of Gilda (Rita Hayworth), through the small mirror, which she use to name herself and the poster itself at the same time. The use of mirrors here it’s not only a shot saver but, it goes along with the identity play of the movie where these identities are not fixed nor properly real as reflections are! And make confusion for the viewers.
We may also remember the function of the mirror in the thriller and horror movies as a significant role. It commonly uses for showing the back side of the character to the viewers when that character is unable to see that part.
To sum up, the mirror as a cinematic device is used for different purposes by the directors. Using the mirror generally reflexes the truth and the reality of life. But it also may be a device for self analysis by the character or as a device for seeing the vanity, confusion or fractured personality. It is also useful to be used as a device for emphasis on a specific emotion (timidity, excitement, happiness, etc).



16. Shane Neill

Compare the impact of the musical soundtracks for The Wall and any of the other films on the success of the presentation of the material in the respective films. How does each support (or not) the narrative? Consider as well the balance between the role of the music (and lyrics) and the spoken word in the film.

How does one evaluate the soundtrack of a film? In their issue on sound, the UBC journal on film, Cinephile, notes that this is one of the most underdeveloped areas of film studies. Lisbon Story takes on the subject of sound in film as both a major plot—and cinematographic—element. Sound is used keenly to transition between scenes, with the soundtrack of the subsequent scene often anticipating the shift of the camera. Also, the suspension of sound in the silent films and the ‘revealing’ scenes of the sound engineering heightens the viewers awareness to the fundamental role that sound plays in completing the experience of time, action, and space. What then if the soundtrack is the initial consideration for a film?

Since The Wall was an album before it was a film, let us evaluate the adaptation of the album to film to avoid opining on the quality of the music. As a counterpoint, The Heart of the World, similarly uses a borrowed composition for its soundtrack: Georgy Sviridov’s musical theme from the 1965 film, Time, Forward! Both compositions—if The Wall can be considered a composition—were popularly successful. The theme from Time, Forward! was widely heralded and became an aural icon of the People’s culture within the Soviet Union (Wikipedia). Both films also employ tropological characters and story lines that are inspired by the composition’s genres. But, the films differ in the way that The Wall goes way beyond the scope of the album. 

The Heart of the World remains within the scope of its soundtrack whose frantic pace and tone it uses to define the setting of the narrative. The opening of the film is silent aside from the sound of static. Following a brief title track, the film opens with a keyhole image of an eye. The sound of the static paired with the sense of closed tight space is then suddenly overwhelmed with the sounding of four dissonant whole note chords descending from the top of the brass. Under these auspices a mechanical moto perpetuo enters on the snare drum and in the low register of the piano that plays an ostinato of four rising notes. The metallic timbres of the tones combined with the dynamics of the brass chords and the relentlessness of the motor paint the image of a vast machine factory. Maddin translates this atmosphere visually in the film as the brothers are introduced. The film is grainy and shots pulsate or jaggedly quiver. The texture of the image and movement of the camera compliment the frenetic atmosphere of the industrial machine. Further, the brothers’ figures are contorted either in gesture—like Nikolai the mortician bends and hunches over the dead bodies on the conveyor belt—or in perspective from the acute camera angles. This contortion or angularity is created musically by the repeatition of a syncopated martial figure in the mid to upper piano part. Maddin’s narrative operates at a level of mimesis. The story line and its visual representations are layers of imitation of the music and of the genre that the music alludes to. Time Forward! runs continuously through the short film and is the sole soundtrack with the exception of a few added sound effects: e.g. the light pumping of pistons, cracking or whips, the murmur or panic of the crowd, etc. are occasionally faintly overlaid onto the musical soundtrack.

In The Wall, the breadth of the narrative (as measured in time) far out reaches the length of the album. There are essentially two soundtracks playing, the first is not the album but the composition that stitches together the presentation of the album songs. The interstices are quite provocative and use sound to pivot around disparate scenes (that are more fully developed later in the film). In the opening, the camera crawls down a hotel hall at low angles to the distant hazy sound of soft shoe ballad, “The Little Boy that Santa Clause Forgot.” A maid turns on a vacuum, stopping the music and an ominous bass sounds at intervals. The vacuum fades out and the shrieking of distant missiles recasts the bass as bomb explosions. The sizzle of  a match lights a lantern illuminating a WWII soldier, and a war ballad briefly arcs and fades out to the sound of birds as a distant figure runs on a rugby pitch. The vacuum transitions back to the hotel hall and the ticking of a watch brings the camera inside the hotel room. As the maid knocks on the door of the room and tries to open it, the scene flashes back and forth to a crowd breaking down the gates and running (perhaps) from the scene of police brutality outside. This crowd is the transition into the presentation of the first song from the album, “In the Flesh?” Overtop of this song, crowds run screaming and soldiers run while being bombed creating a sense of hectic frenzy. In so doing, the film recasts the original song—a moderately slow, rhythmically and texturally sparse, stadium rock, power—or anthem—ballad. The song is turned into something viscerally effective.

The Wall continues along these lines of dramatically recasting the album’s songs. While the songs benefit from the layering of sound effects, the mixing of narratives that results is perhaps less desirable. I lose sympathy for the film in its insinuation that the rock star character’s problems can allude to war: Poor, rich, megalomaniac, drugged-out rock star. Nobody understands you. Your life is like a trench war. While The Heart of the World embraces and operates within the world of kitsch and parody, The Wall wanders there mistakenly, like a mopey adolescent.

Hughes, Jessica, ed. ‘Sound on Screen.’ Cinephile: The University of British Columbia’s Film Journal. Vol. 6 No. 1, Spring 2010.,_Forward!


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