Just some thoughts on Tracey Moffatt’s short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1989). (Having watched it in class today)
and Part Two:
I’m not going to write about the actual themes in the work, I would be writing all night, I just want to note some of the techniques used or the effect of those techniques.
The film was shot in a set entirely in the studio and the shiny floors coupled with the gritty props and scenery, lit with beautiful studio lighting serves to give the film a slightly surreal air, there is a juxtaposition of real and imagined, honesty and fakery.
In the absence of ‘reality’ the sound scape fills in and helps to create a suspension of disbelief. The noise becomes a driving force in the film, not only because of the lack of human speech but also because sound is used as symbolism to deepen the viewers understanding of the characters and their emotions as well as set the physical scene.
There are times in the film where where Moffatt has cut from one scene to the next but allowed the sound from the first to spill over into the next scene, which puts the ‘wrong’ sound with the ‘wrong’ image, which feels a little jarring and serves to carry the emotions or the symbolism from one scene into the next.
A clip of Jimmy Little is used in places throughout the film an Aboriginal man impeccably dressed as the Colonizer singing songs of the Western God, and I couldn’t help thinking of Sir Howard Morrison or as Justine suggested Kiri Te Kanawa as possible New Zealand equivalents of this figure. Which led on to a brief discussion with Mel about people who mimic themselves and even play themselves in film like James Taylor or become parodies of their own characters like ‘The Hoff’ (David Hasselhoff) or ‘The Shat’ (William Shatner).
And just to lighten (or cheapen) the tone of this blog I will include this pic that came up when I googled “The Hoff’.
Once it has been seen it cannot be unseen.
God I love year one Cultural Studies.