Week 2 Reflection 1
Instructions: In one to two paragraphs (300-400 words), answer ONLY ONE of the following four questions in relation to The Birds, making sure to reference at least one scene in the film.
Answer ONE of the following questions in your reflection:
Question 1 on Lighting:
As noted in Prof. Lim’s Week 2D Lecture, light design is strongly correlated to genre. Bordwell and Thompson note that “low-key lighting is often applied to somber, threatening, or mysterious scenes” in genres like horror and film noir, while high-key lighting was the conventional lighting design for “comedies and most dramas” (B & T Week 2, pp. 129-130). In contrast, The Birds is a hybrid genre film with strong elements of horror. With reference to one or two scenes of bird attacks, discuss how you think high-key lighting affects the meaning of the scene or the response it elicits from the audience.
Question 2 on Costume:
Prof. Lim discusses costume in Lecture 2B. With reference to one or two scenes from The Birds, please reflect on how Melanie’s costume relates to the setting of Bodega Bay. In the scene/s you have in mind, how does Melanie’s costume work in contrast to and/or in coordination with the rural setting to create meaning or affect the audience in particular ways?
Question 3 on Composition:
With reference to one or two scenes from The Birds, discuss one aspect of shot composition (choose one from: balanced, unbalanced, deep space, or shallow-space composition). How does the composition of the shot help create the meaning of the scene or elicit particular responses from the audience? It may help to review Lecture 2B and consider the following scenes: the jungle gym outside the school; scenes in the Brenner household; the penultimate shot in the Brenner’s front yard; or shots in Melanie’s car at the end of the film. You are of course free to discuss any scene of your choice from The Birds, beyond those listed here.
Question 4: Your Take on The Birds
Imagine you are friends with someone who is skeptical about film studies and believes that Hitchcock’s work is especially overrated. Describe two formal elements of The Birds (choose two from: motif; setting; costume; composition; lighting; or use of sound) that would help you prove them wrong. Or, if you agree with your friend’s opinion of Hitchcock, discuss two formal elements of The Birds that would deepen their critique.
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