Student’s Lesson

Composition and Editing for Effect

The most crafted part of the film is its opening. Beginning with a shot of beribboned barbed wire, it moves to the cane cutting scene and the opera in the fields. The expectations of the documentary are subverted at the outset by a scene that reads as a dream sequence or idealised memory.

Ribbon on fence
Cane cutters
Opera singer in the bamboo forrest

How does the filmmaker achieve this?

Consider set design, sound, lighting and shot composition, the use of colour and costume, point of view and editing.

The contrast, the following scene of Paul Kelly singing Dumb Things at a pub concert brings us back to reality. How is stark contrast achieved? Consider the same points as above.

You should also consider aspects of the filming process:

  • The opening scene uses 2 cameras with boom arm rig and jib plus dolly
  • The pub scene uses 7 cameras, some stationary and others hand held. All cameras are on Paul Kelly and the band on stage.

To what extent does the film’s opening succeed in engaging the audience?

Paul Kelly Sings