Books and Movies Reviews

Age of innocence close reading

Hypothesis: Scorcese's selection of artwork serves to not only act as a separate narrative that mirrors the development of the themes and characters but also, in some instances, actually foreshadows the fate of the characters.
As a Martin Scorsese film, The Age of Innocence, stands apart from the mobster movies typically associated with this acclaimed director. Scorsese uses deliberate camera techniques and subtle mise-en-scene to tell the story visually. These elements all working together assist in the development of the narrative as well as the characters, themes, and ideas, particularly his use of artwork that not only assists the narrative, but occasionally forshadows the fate of the characters. This use of artwork can be found in the extract which involves some of thefirst scenes of this film. It takes place at the Beaufort's ball as the camera tracks Newland Archer through the various drawing rooms pausing occasionally to notice various works of art.
The camera movement of this scene is crucial to unlocking the meaning behind the artwork of the Beaufort's home. The camera glides to the non-diegetic classical music following Archer from room to room. The camera movement pulls the audience in making them feel like another guest at the party. The perpetual motion of the camera is only broken in a few key areas, pausing and focusing on various pieces of art. By slowing down the camera and pausing, Scorsese is telling the audience to pay close attention to what is in that particular frame before being swept away again with Archer.
Thefirst painting the camera stops to admire is a disturbing scene that foreshadows Archer's impending emotional death. The colors in the piece, like the film, are very bleak except for Ellen who is represented in the painting by the lady dressed in red. The lady in red is kneeling next to a man dressed in white who moments before was slain in a sword fight. It is logical to …

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