Right at the start of the film, we get treated to some exposition shots that helped us understand the environment of the story. The film helped us to establish the relationship that Henry Marsh had with the Ukrainian doctor Igor from the start and slowly guided us through the daily routines that they have to face in the medically deprived country.
Using graphic imagery, the film is able to present us with the dire situation in the country as well as the truth and consequences of neurosurgery.
As we progressed on in the first act, the patient Marian is introduced and presented us with a story. Marian has a benign brain tumor and getting rid of it entirely could present him with a repercussion that could be life-changing. That’s definitely something that got us hooked onto the film. As we get on further, he was told that he has to do his surgery lucid really upped the stakes for all the emotionally invested audiences.
As we move on with the doctors and their daily encounters, we were presented with a failure coming back to haunt Henry Marsh emotionally. Which makes all the current stakes so much higher.
Another thing that I felt really worked well for the film will be the use of the polarity of healthcare systems. One interesting scene that struck me will be Henry Marsh explaining that the bone perforator tool that he uses home gets discarded with each use, thus showing how well funded the healthcare and medical facilities back in The UK is. On the other hand, we have Igor who shops for equipment from the local hardware store and used his perforator for five years straight. This display simply tugs at our emotions as we can’t help but feel sorry for the people that are living in Ukraine. So not only is the film successful in nailing down the nitty gritty parts of a medical documentary, it provides a huge social commentary on developing countries and how things were run there.
At the end of the film, we leaped over the hurdle of Marian and this time looking back to the failure of Tanya which came back to haunt Marsh. Similar to what was discussed in class, I felt that the ending would have sufficed after the operation of Marian. I do understand the theme of “some things will never go away and keep haunting you”, but I felt that the ending could be done to excess with the visit to deceased Tanya’s mother. It felt inorganic and slightly manipulative.
On the whole, I felt that the film successfully got me to invest my emotions in it and it’s all because of drama, risks, stakes and grief
I’m intending to do a Documentary about Gamelan, a Javanese Ensemble Music that consists a variety of metal instruments and its role in Singapore. The film will follow the life of a professional Gamelan player who has played in the ensemble for 8 years.
Some of the struggles that can be used are things like her motivation and how she started playing, the taboos behind the music (Gamelan is pre-Islam, often featured in Hindu and Buddhist Kingdoms before Islam takes over Indonesia as the majority religion. Also, when you go into trance in music, it is considered Haram, etc. ).
Also, it is interesting how youths are starting to get into the music in Singapore and there’s this power struggle between the youths and the veterans. The youths yearn for creative freedom and playing spiritually whereas the vets care about glorifying the community through commissioned performances by the government to fulfill certain “multicultural criteria”. I don’t think people tend to associate this artform with millennials and youths.
Why you should care: You don’t hear about that many things about this type of music thriving in Singapore. I feel that Singapore is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself and I feel that shining light on this one could show off that aspect. One of my friends who’s Singaporean Chinese really dived deep into the music and culture than most people have and I find that it could be interesting to get his perspective (he plays in 3 ensembles).
Access: The friend that I’ve mentioned earlier on has given me the name and contact of the professional Gamelan player who has played for 8 years. So access is not an issue given that there are these contacts.
My perspective: My knowledge of this art form is superficial at most. I’m hoping that as an outsider, I can create an interesting film which educates me and educates whoever that’s watching it as well.
Immediately when the film started, I realised that the temperature of the film is cold and it has a very sterile quality. I felt that emotionally, the film was draining due to the dehumanizing of these promising little girls into these live stocks who have to conform to this set of standards in order to become enrolled in this Ballet academy.
On top of those things mentioned by the prof about structuring, threats, drama, reinforcing the drama with little details here and there, one thing that really stuck out for me was the title which used type as image which reminded me, as a design student that a good introduction sequence and title really sets the tone for the film.
At one point , it got to the part where this panel of judges was grading and talking amongst themselves and the sound design became high reverb and it became extremely hollow which in my opinion really worked well for that part.
Will update this with more thoughts if possible…