Films that fall into the drama genre exhibit real life situations with settings that are familiar to the viewer. Our coursework production, Screen Three, is mostly set within a cinema and this could be argued to adhere to this convention of drama pieces.Most people have been to the cinema to watch a film, or at least are familiar with the setting. In this way, Screen Three appeals to audiences’ expectations of the drama genre and this is established immediately once the films starts due to the film projector sound effect being played, the close-up of our protagonist being illuminated by the projector’s light and also the establishing shot that comes after this that reveals the theatre’s seats.
Along with setting, realistic characters are often featured within drama productions to convey the idea of realism in the piece. Through our script and my directing of the actors, I wanted the characters to follow the stereotypes of today’s youth and elderly community in order to familiarise audiences with realistic characters. By their abusive behaviour, dark clothing, and sexual and violent conversation, audiences can recognise their characters through replicating the anti-social youth of today. The character of Peter, the film’s protagonist, dramatically contrasts with the youths through also being applied to stereotypes. Rather than being abusive, Peter is like a stereotypical old man by appearing vulnerable and reserved which is highlighted through close-ups of his face which showing his character’s emotions. Adhering to these stereotypes arguably creates more realistic characters and so suggests that the film is a drama piece.
The abusive relationship and hateful conversation between the elderly man and the youths in our film echoes the “intense social interaction” that drama films often expose to their audience. Binary opposition, a theory created by Ferdinand de Saussure, could be applied to our film through these characters which arguably intensifies this “interaction”. In order to contrast the youths and the old man, we set up more lighting upon the old man and left the youths in less light while having them in dark clothing and the man in white and light greys. This, visually, sets them apart which is also done by their behaviour. While the youths are seen in a establishing shot yelling and throwing popcorn, the old man appears quiet and reserved. Having them in the same wide shot establishes their conflicting representations.
Also, drama also features the portrayal of a journey or some kind of character development which I think lies within the story of Screen Three. At the beginning of the film, our protagonist, Peter, is calm, collected and relaxed in his environment. However, once exposed to the horrors of the youths’ abuse, the dis-equilibrium, he dramatically changes and becomes a nervous, angry and reckless man who is a danger to those around him. The purpose of a dramatic story line is to “move an audience emotionally” and this character development, which is arguably the focus of our production, is what achieves this effect upon viewers. “At the heart of drama is conflict” and with the youths’ abuse in mind, this is certainly within our film.
However, within drama films “a form of realisation or happy ending” is often featured. Our film does not conform to this convention with its dramatic, shocking ending but this “happily ever after” idea is conflicted in many dramas. James Cameron’s’ Titanic breaks all the conventions as all does not end happily for the protagonists but has rather a tragic ending. Within our film, the ending is ambiguous but the close-up of the protagonist’s face appearing terrorised and horrified suggests things won’t end well for him.
Russian theorist, Tzvetan Todorov, suggests that all narratives follow a three part structure. They begin with equilibrium, where everything is balanced, progress as something comes along to disrupt that equilibrium, and finally reach a resolution, when equilibrium is restored. With Screen Three, it could be argued this new equilibrium is not restored due to the ambiguity and the suggested downfall of the protagonist.