Saturday, 16 July 2011

Semotic Analysis of Forest Gump

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The Film Forest Gump, Directed by Robert Zemeckis in 14, takes us through the trail and tribulations of the character Forest Gump. Forest Gump is acted Tom Hanks, who does a wonderful job portraying the life of Forest Gump. We start the movie by seeing a feather fall from the skies to a man sitting on a park bench awaiting the # bus to come and get him. After the feather falls into his hand he then starts talking to the people next to him about his life stories. Although he seems to be mentally disabled in some form, he catches the hearts and souls of many of the people that come to sit around him, though there are a few that don’t believe in the stories that he tells. The stories include happenings of 0 years of Forest’s life in chronological order. Beginning when he was a child and gets his leg braces put on. This is where we notice two things. The first is that there is something “different” about Forest and the latter is just how caring Forest’s mother is for him. Forest Mother, portrayed by Shortly after he gets his new braces put on we are introduced to Forest’s best friend and love of his life, her name is a Jenny Curran. Jenny is acted out through the mind, body, and soul of Robin Wright. She is one of the few people that can truly accept Forest for what he is, over looking the fact that he is a little slow. We meet her on the bus to school after no one would let Forest sit with them, she offers the seat next to her, from this point on we, the audience, notice just how sweet and caring Jenny is for Forest. As Forest Grows up we see that, even though his body matures he still maintains the mind and soul of a child, not caring about being a star football player, the fame of receiving the congressional metal of honor, from the Army, or even the millions he makes from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. He maintains the values of that loving person that will put everybody before himself.

In the end of the movie we see the tragic scene where Forest is grieving to Jenny’s Grave after she dies of cancer. This is the scene that I have chosen to do my scene analysis on. First the over all setting of the scene is set up in “back flash” type of location, by this I mean a little ironic that we lay Jenny down to her final resting place where we first really got to know her as the person that she is, under the tree that her and forest used to climb to get away from life for a bit. Forest is there standing over Jenny’s grave and Forest is updating Jenny about what he and little forest have been up to since she has past.

First thing we notice is how the scene is setup itself, there is Forest and Jenny’s grave set in the center and right side of the scene with the tree that they used to play in on the left side. The back drop is a white horizon with very little going on, hence giving you the center of attention on forest and the grave. Shortly after this opening shot they cut to a personal shot at forest looking up almost from the ground putting you inside the grave looking up at Forest as he starts to update Jenny’s of the current happenings. After this we cut away to when Forest had her old house plowed down, and then back to forest and then back to her grave with a slight zoom during this last shot, showing us for the first time solid evidence that for sure it was Jenny who has passed. After this we start to hear about Forest new life with Little Forest, the scene cuts back and forth from Forest talking at the grave and shots of him and Little Forest doing what he says they have done. In these shots we see the camera move slowly almost as if someone was standing in the room watching over them as they did each activity moving ever so lighting as to not disturb them. The second to last shot of the sequence we see Forest saying his “last far-wells” to Jenny. In this shot we get to “talk” with Forest in a one on one setting with up being Jenny in her grave, the camera is still angled up at Forest and slowly zooms with a slight rock up and down almost like someone was breathing. Forest is looking and speaking directly to the camera and at the end of the zoom we have Forest in a facial shot. The final cut away from the scene is forest walking away for her grave and the camera opens to a much wider view giving us a much better view of the sky which has turned from a bright white to a beautifully colored sunset, which brings us to the use of color in the scene.

The colors of the scene, though simple, have a very powerful message to be heard. In the opening scene we have a contrast of dark and light colors. The lights being the white sky and the white of Jenny’s grave and the stone surrounding it. The white color signifies the relationship of where Jenny is, which is in heaven and the color that we usually associate with heaven is that white color. We also see the color white in the color of the house and the note that Little Forest left for her, showing that the color white is for Jenny alone. We also see “a little part of her” in the white stripes on both Forest and Little Forest’s shirts. The other colors that we see in the scene are natural dark greens and the blue of Forest’s shirt, which really help show who the scene, is focusing on, which is Jenny. The colors along with the camera shot really help us to see who Forest is talking to throughout the clip as well.

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The audio and acting aspects of the scene go hand in hand with one another, most all of the sounds we are come from Forest as he speaks to Jenny. There is very little sound used in the scene other then Forest’s voice. We see the bulldozer take down Jenny’s old house yet we hear very little noise from it. There is literally no background music in this scene that we notice. Near silence really sets the terms for this scene. It brings a very serious tone to his voice. As Forest speaks there is very little movement in his body and his facial expressions speak more words then we hear, you can see and hear the pain and lose that he feels now that she is gone. With the exception of when he enters the grave area to drop the note off and when he leaves from under the tree, he is almost like a statue when talking in reference to his body movement.

The scene is extremely important to the film itself, it shows that Forest still maintains the same “help others first” mentality when he says to Jenny’s grave “if you need anything I won’t be far”. And also it ties the whole story back to the present day. By that I mean we first meet Forest on a park bench waiting for a bus, then for the next two hours we have him tell the story of his life, occasionally cutting to the park bench to remind us of what is going on. Then all of a sudden we are back in real time we have finally found out what he was doing there and now the scene with Jenny dead kind of kills the whole sensation of the tradition happy ending, but then the director throws another twist. Showing just how happy and mature Forest really is with Little Forest. In all it’s a great scene that really sums up the story of forests life.

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