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Alienation in Lessons of Darkness


March 13, 2022 by woodjm

Combined in this video is the establishing shot of Lessons of Darkness and a shot that follows it later in the film. What I find to be so interesting is that together both of these shots do absolutely nothing in the way of providing context for what is going on and where it is taking place. Their high angles function to make the terrain below seem unfamiliar, insignificant, and small. In other words, these sequences and the angle at which they are shot function as a means to alienate the viewer. This alienation makes the viewer feel as if they are watching the action from afar almost as if they are a visitor.

This feeling of alienation is only increased by the sound present in both clips. In both instances, there is no narration which again functions to alienate the viewer from what is going on. Instead of an explanation, the viewer is treated to music that can only be described as whimsical, or like something you would hear playing at a space-themed tourist attraction in Florida. In other words, sound and cinematography in these clips and the film at large are a way of transforming a familiar setting into one that is unrecognizable as a form of critique.


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