Great Choices for the Movie Watching

From its advent, cinema has drawn from the novel, from history and from the great collective myths, dramatic situations in which a group of individuals faces hardships that jeopardize its survival. The expression disaster film appeared around 1970 and designated a particular aspect of Hollywood production. A visit to makes things perfect now.

Gender characteristics:

Situation: a human group, clearly typified and socially characterized, finds itself trapped in a familiar universe from which will paradoxically arise a threat of total destruction.

Action: spectacular accidents (fires, shipwrecks, derailments), natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes), social disturbances (wars, nuclear danger).

Location: closed world (plane, boat, skyscraper …).

Dynamics of the film: personal problems and conflicts feed the suspense but are subject to the new priorities imposed by the disaster.

Technical aspects: this type of show requires impressive special effects.

An example of disaster films: Titanic

Film directed by James Cameron in 1997.

The reality: on the night of April 15, 1912, during its inaugural cruise, the liner Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and sank, causing the death of 1,500 passengers. In 1985, the wreck was located at a depth of 4,000 m. The visual result of the operation, carried out by a Franco-American team, was released in 1987.

The scenario: the plot combines two eras. Treasure hunters set off in search of a fabulous diamond that they supposedly remained at the bottom of the wrecked ship explore the wreck of the

They show the images taken to the woman who wore this jewel. This one is now an old lady. She tells them her story and more particularly her meeting on the liner with a young passenger of the third classes.

The sets: on the Mexican coast, the Titanic is reconstructed over a length of 250 meters and a height of ten floors. Only the starboard side is built. The scenes taking place on the port side are turned to starboard and then optically reversed thanks to special effects.

During the sinking scene, when the building breaks in two and the stern stands vertically, hundreds of extras and stuntmen with safety harnesses tumble down the inclined plane: the ocean is computer-encrusted.

Analysis of scenes from the Titanic film: a- Analysis of the images of the film:

  • What does each of these images represent and suggest?
  • Which ones seem to belong to the same era? Which ones are opposed?
  • What effect does the combination of the four images cause? What events does he imagine?
  • Where are the characters placed? What do their expression and attitude indicate? Why, according to you, is this image of the film symbolic?
  • What type of plan is chosen? From where and when is the boat seen? What effect results from these different choices (type of shot, angle of view, particular moment)?
  • Is this image treated as part of a fiction or documentary report?

A symbolic film: in 1912, the sinking of the Titanic, the largest ocean liner in the world deemed unsinkable, was the end of an era and an illusion. The film brings together two opposing social classes. The first class is that of the holders of economic wealth. The third class, to which the hero of the film embodied by Leonardo Di Caprio, belongs, is that of the emigrants who represent the other face of the United States. The film, awarded with eleven Oscars, is served by a particularly mastered art of images, music and editing.