Django, The Silent D And The Visible Noise Of Cinematic Lighting

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Fatimah Bakare-Dickson

Light of course is an integral part of telling or creating mood in a film.
Sometimes some films can appear to be poorly lighted at the beginning creating an unhappy or an uncertain mood leaving the viewers with sympathy of what might happen next or how will the characters come out of the situation.

‘Django Unchained’ a film by Quentin Tarantino has an exclusive lighting, good picture quality and a wonderful story. Looking at this film Django, we noticed it started at night and ended at night. The night is achieved by light which creates an uncertain situation in the film.

The film Django started with a slave and the major character named Django at nighttime. He met his ally Dr. Shultz while on slave route with fellow slaves and masters.

The film also ended at night with the uncertainty of what happens after all the killings.

Partial lighting depicts the uncertainty, suffering, human slavery and ancient American times.

Colours is another vital tool in light. Photographers /cinematographers call it gels, whether blue, orange, or red, or diffusers. There is no how a photographer/cinematographer can effectively photograph or cinematograph an object without diffusing the light. Again there are rules in photography/cinematography but no the rules and break them so they say in film.

In the film Django, there is little or no bright light as most of the scenes where taken at nights. This signifies the unhappy nature of the characters or of the then slavery.

As the saying goes,”Darkness may endure for a night but joy will come in the morning”. In the case of Django, his major journey and transactions happened at night or evening, all under dark situations.

Light has been carefully used to creat the mood of the slave Django.
Django had no bright sides but had high hopes and expectations. This is due to what he has gone through in the hands of his masters. He kept the spirit on with high hopes and of course he is optimistic and looking into the future with his wife Broomhilda.

The killings ends at night and he is looking into the future of the morning which may or may not come.

The dim light represents the uncertainty of live weather black or white, rich or poor, authoritarian or democrat. But the good news is that there is hope at the end of the struggle. And there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Steven another black folk in the movie, due to his association with the whites, he believes in his heart he is equally white. This made him to turn his back against his own black folks. The night Steven needed to act a brother to Django by protecting his interest In Broomhilda, as he (Steven) has noticed, he raised alarm instead by revelling the romance he noticed between the two lovers.

Another night came and Django went back killing the remaining white folks, he did not hesitate in detonating Steven in the house after shooting him in the legs.
This film started with partial lighting and killings, it also ended with the same killings and partial lighting.

Under the same dim light, I think the director is trying to pass an uncommon, phenomenal story, happening to a peculiar race, and finally not punished for numerous killings.

For those that might want to compeer Django to our indigenous films, please conceder the following; Light, colours, location, shoots, camera movements, lines delivery, cast,costume and make up. To mention but few.

The make up in the film Django would have been better if the blood effect was not that much. I do not understand if the ancient whites had more blood than the modern White. Just a gun shoot will bring out almost a paint of blood from Django’s enemy.

Against this back drop, I believe Django is an amazing film for both film lovers and film students alike. Ironically I am of the opinion that this is another African story told by another race. Can we ever tell our own story someday, today, tomorrow sometimes or never.

Fatimah Bakare- Dickson. A Film Art graduate, is a cinematographer, a scriptwriter and critic, a photo/videographer with passion for the documentary genre. She writes from Jos, Plateau Nigeria.

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