First Scene: General Aung San’s Assassination (1947)
Luc Besson uses several different visual techniques such as color, lighting and camera shots and angles to show subtle indicators of future and current events as well as giving an insight into the mind of the characters. The first scene I will be analyzing is the assassination of General Aung San. In this scene, set on the 19th of July 1947 in Rangoon General Aung San, the leader of Burma is holding a meeting, in preparation for the upcoming election 6 months in advance. He arrives in a black car to the building where he is holding this meeting. He then greets and instigates the meeting. However, as this meeting is beginning, three militants in the building are in preparation to assassinate Aung San and his political party. Just as the meeting is concluding, as the party toasts to the future of Burma, three militants stormed the room killing Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers, before escaping without capture, never to be seen again.
Just after the commencing of the scene, a black car arrives to transport General Aung San to the Burmese Minister’s building, where he is later shot. Luc Besson uses the color black on this car to give the viewers a subtle insight into the future. A black vehicle is often used in a funeral possession to transport someone to their grave, the color of this car uses this idea to give an unsettling feeling around the scene.
Before he enters the vehicle General Aung San turns and waves to his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, as he does this the camera switches to Aung San Suu Kyi’s perspective, slow motion is used, showing us that this is an important memory for Suu Kyi, the last memory of her father alive.
After arriving at the Minister’s building the camera follows Aung San as he approaches the room where the meeting is being held, he approaches followed by two guards just behind him. Luc Besson then shows us a close-up of the back of General Aung San’s head. Showing his vulnerability, This shot gives a less imposing view of the General, a shot from the perspective of the guards behind Aung San.
Luc Besson uses the idea of Auteur Style to convey ideas within the visual text “The Lady”. Auteur theory is the idea that visual techniques rather than verbal techniques carry out the message of the film. This is clearly shown in this scene, the assassination of Aung San mainly through lighting. The militants approach the room, after ascending the stairs, as they walk towards the camera and the room where Aung San’s meeting is being held, their faces fall into darkness; as the fit their red bandannas their faces are swathed in blackness, this shows us the malicious intent of these characters, that as soon as they fitted on the red scarfs, as they were covered in darkness they were committed to changing the fate of the nation and assassinating Aung San. However it is not only through Lighting that Luc Besson shows us the idea of Auteur Style, The first militant we see, smoking a cigarette, is made to look shifty and unwholesome, looking right to left before he moves off just before the shooting of Aung San, we see the Militants ascending the stairs, representing the the military’s ascent to power
Second Scene: Aung San Suu Kyi’s political rally (1947)
Several visual and verbal techniques are used in the 2011 film, “The Lady” by Luc Besson to portray the films message. The Second scene I will be analyzing is the political rally of Aung San Suu Kyi. This scene focuses on the interaction of Aung Sang and the Burmese military, using a mix of visual and verbal techniques to portray the interaction between the characters in this film.
The scene opens with a mid shot of the National League for Democracy’s party banner, colored red with white text, the democratic party supporters are putting up portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi, and preparing a microphone for her to give a speech. However just before she arrives a jeep pulls up and disbands the gathering before it even begins, taking down the flags and portraits. Aung Sung Suu Kyi still approaches, unaware of what is going on along with her following. Upon arriving she is confronted by the assembled military, trying to prevent the gathering, Aung Sang walks toward them despite being told to turn back with the threat of being shot, with visible confidence.
Focusing on visual techniques is a fundamental part of Luc Bensson’s Auter style “Cinema Du Look”. This style is where visual techniques often portray the message of the film rather than verbal techniques. The use of Cinema Du Look is prevalent during this scene. As the soldiers arrive at the prepared meeting place, Luc Besson uses a wide angle shot showing that the Aung Sang supporters are surrounded by military. This wide angle shot makes the characters seem smaller and insignificant, and is situated behind the gathered supporters so we feel as if we are spectating this event from nearby. We can also see the full extent of the surrounding circle of soldiers made to regulate the situation. As the supporters are endeavoring to help the antagonist, who we have grown to favor, the surrounding of these civilians creates a foreboding sense about the upcoming situation, as it makes the viewer uneasy. The dialogue is not translated from Burmese, still creating an atmosphere with dietetic sounds but residing the focus mainly on the visual techniques. The fact that it is not translated means viewers do not focus on the dialogue as much, as they most likely cannot understand it and will give more attention to the visual techniques. Despite the fact that it is in another language the tone of the military officials and their gestures tells us that they are frantic and aggressive, whereas the body language of the supporters shows us that they are confused and passive. As Aung Sang approaches the soldiers, Aung Sang, the side with no power, seems confident and sure, in contrast to the fact that the opposing military commander’s voice is frantic and the gun he is brandishing is shaking.