Akeelah & the Bee is a movie released in 2006 and is rated PG for some language. The film is about how an eleven year old black girl named Akeelah who had a talent with words and who rose to the top of the spelling bee world against all odds. Proper subject placement is not observed in the film especially when Akeelah is on the stage and the director felt he had to place her squarely in the center of the frame. By doing so, the composition of the scene was weakened, but it served to strengthen her character and weaken the characters of the others in the scenes. The camera angle used when Akeelah was on the stage also diminished the other characters and strengthened her character because it was from a low angle.
Static composition scenes are used when Akeelah is on the stage and in many other scenes i the film. It is understandable why dynamic composition scenes are not used here, but movement is used to shift attention and the audience should have been forced to shift their attention through the technique of rack focus, or changing the focus of the lens from one object to another. The camera angle and the static composition scenes make black girls seem bright and the audience can’t help but to cheer Akeelah on. The camera follows Akeelah in most scenes and this goes to build her character too. The look and feel of the film brings out the character of Akeelah’s family and her coach very well.
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Akeelah’s house is what we would expect from a struggling black family in Southern LA and color and lighting are used to bring this out. The eye is drawn to the brighter areas of a scene and this is used not only to bring out the less-than-perfect living conditions in Akeelah’s house, but also to develop Akeelah’s character when everything else is dimmed around her as she is on stage. This serves to show that black kids can be as bright as any other kids because those dimmed are white, Latino and Asian. As audience members, we are able to see a black kid who is likely to be something in life and the audience can’t help but to wish this young black girl from Southern LA the best. Humanity is drawn to the rise of the down trodden and this explains everybody’s wish for Akeelah’s success. The movie could have used proper character placement better given the fact that the movie was made in 2006 when film making technology was more than impressive and the fact that it was made in LA, the home of American film. The Namesake was made in 2006 and released in 2007 and it describes the struggles between two first generation Indian immigrants from West Bengal and their children. The film uses selective focus very well so that we, the audience, can concentrate with only one character at a time.
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