Free «Pulp Fiction: Film Analysis» Essay Sample

I.                   Cinematography

The club restaurant sequence in Pulp Fiction will be the subject of analysis in terms of cinematography and other elements that make the shots in the scene visually appealing. In the club restaurant scene, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) walk over to a raised platform in the middle of Jack Rabbit Slims where they dance the twist while people in their tables and at the bar look on. Mia was barefoot while Vincent was wearing his black socks. Throughout the sequence, Mia and Vincent perform random dance movements. I chose the scene because the entire sequence shows different types of shot.

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In the beginning, long cinematic shots were taken. In the lengthy shot, the two main characters, Mia and Vincent, are shown walking up to the raised platform in the middle of the club restaurant. Around them, the restaurant and the bar in the back are shown including a number of people who are sitting at the tables and at the bar, most of them watching the display on the platform. After the setting is captured through the long shots, the succeeding shots are medium shots, making the two characters the center of the sequences. The medium shots alternate from Mia to Vincent, and then to both of them while they are dancing together. Based on the types of shots used in the sequence, the long shots were used to show the setting of the sequence and to establish the film’s exposition. From the long shots, audience will see that Mia and Vincent are in an upscale club restaurant with swanky, adult clientele. Moreover, the long shots are used to show that the subject in the shots is Mia and Vincent and while they are on the stage, the attention of the spectators in the setting is on the two characters.

In terms of the angles and point of view shots, the camera is situated to take medium shots in close proximity of Mia and Vincent from an angle on the same level as the two subjects in the shot. The long shots were taken from a lower angle in the scene to create the illusion that it is from a spectator’s point of view, that while Mia and Vincent are walking up the raised platform, the audience is in the club restaurant, sitting on one of the lower tables. The angles and point of view, however, switch during the medium shots. As previously discussed, the angles of the shots are within the same level as the subjects. The audience and the subjects become equals in the shots and viewers would feel involved or intimate with the subjects during those shots. The camera movements are coordinated with the types of shots, angles, and points of view utilized in the film. For the long shots, panning was used to provide the audience. The long shot was panned out so the audience could see a panoramic view of the setting. The medium shots, on the other hand, were taken using tracking shots. The subjects who are on the center of the raised platform are both dancing. The camera follows the two subjects’ movements, alternates the shots between the two subjects to show their individual dance moves, and follows the two subjects in one shot to document their dance movements together.

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The long shots in the sequences are prolonged and thus, are considered as establishing shots. The establishing shot is continuous and lasts for thirty seconds. After which, the scenes are cut to the. In terms of editing, the shots were put together utilizing L cuts and jump shots. While the long shots are used to establish the setting and movements in the sequence, the medium shots are cut using L cuts and jump shots to focus on the important movements during the scenes. The editing styles make sure that there is continuity and that the shots flow smoothly from one to the other. A noticeable part of the sequence, for instance, includes the shots where the camera pans down to show that Mia is barefoot and Vincent is wearing socks, and then it was cut to show their upper bodies. The shots focus on different aspects of the views or the subjects but the editing allowed for continuity in the sequence. 

II.                Sound

For the analysis of sound elements in Pulp Fiction, the diner sequence will be the subject of discussion. In the sequence, Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) and Pumpkin (Tim Roth) are talking about robbing the diner where they are having breakfast. While Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are talking, the background sounds include classical music being played in the diner, people talking in the background, and other sound effects that establish the setting, such as plates and glasses clanging. The diner scene is the opening of the film and the music played after the sequence made it a memorable part of the film.

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The diner sequence has both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. The diegetic sounds include the voices of the two subjects, Honey Bunny and Pumpkin. In the scene, there are also sounds coming from the objects on their table within the same shot, like the sound of the subject’s hand hitting the table, sound of the subjects shifting in their seats, the sound of coffee being poured on the cup, the sound of the waitress’ footsteps, the sound of the sugar and cream dispensers being placed on the table, or the sound of cups being put on the table, etc. The non-diegetic sounds, on the other hand, include the hushed conversations of other people in the diner, the classical music being played in the diner, and the sound of vehicles passing by. The mix of both the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds establishes the internal logic of sound in the sequence. The diegetic and non-diegetic sounds utilized in the sequence are related or connected to the scenes and the movements of the subjects.

Since there are both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, the sound effects is part of the onscreen and offscreen shots in the sequence. The entire sequence shows that Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are having a conversations while they are seating at a booth in the diner having breakfast. The diegetic sounds, as previously listed, are in accord with the movements or gestures in the scene. On screen, the two subjects are talking while they are drinking their coffee and talking. Therefore, the sounds come off from both subjects and the sounds that the objects make while the two subjects are moving. Moreover, there are vehicles passing by the diner in the scenes background and the sounds match that of the movements of the cars. Offscreen, the non-diegetic sounds are used to create the atmosphere in the scene. Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are in a diner so the offscreen sounds include people talking with low voices, the classical music played in the background, and the sound of spoons and glasses clanging while other people in the diner are eating. The sequence creates the feel that it is a normal day and that the people in the diner are unaware of what is about to take place – Honey Bunny and Pumpkin robbing the diner.

In terms of spatial and temporal elements in the film, the diner scene increases spatial awareness more than temporal awareness. The set of the sequences is in tune with the scene, with proper and typical elements that create the setting of the film. The diner sequence was shot in an actual diner. Thus, the space is ideal and familiar and consequently creates spatial awareness. On the other hand, the sequence does not focus much on temporal awareness. Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are having a conversation. The movements and body language of the two subjects, especially by Pumpkin, denote that the two characters are not aware or concerned about the passage of time. In terms of synchronous and asynchronous elements, the sounds used in the sequence are plain synchronous. Both the diegetic, non-diegetic, internal, external, onscreen, and offscreen sounds are synchronous to the narrative, the type of characters or subjects, their purpose, the setting, and the movements in the sequence. One example of good synchronous sound in the sequence is how Honey Bunny’s voice changes from gentle while she and Pumpkin were casually talking about robbing the diner to a menacing and guttural sound when she stood up and informed everyone that they were robbing the diner. 

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