25th October 2017

3.9 ‘The Lady’ Assessment

Scene 1: General Aung San is assassinated ‘The Lady’

Setting back in 1947 in Rangoon, General Aung San is assassinated along with his seven other cabinet members in a parliament building by military rebels. In the lead up to this, the general was in a room with his cabinet members talking about democracy and how they would bring it into the country. They were talking about bringing democracy into the country because Burma was going to become an independent nation in 6 months time due to being free from the British rule. There are various film techniques throughout this scene which structure it all together, along with other various symbolistic details that portray specific things. At the start of the scene, there is a close-up of a very suspicious looking guy who is sweaty and smoking a cigarette. It is also followed up by un-nerving diegetic shaker sounds that give you the sense that he is a bad guy. As he is walking down the hallway and then up the stairs, a fellow militant joins him which is shown by a variety of full shots and half shots as they start to ascend the staircase.

Once they get to the top the diegetic shaker sounds start to get louder along with a very short but sharp un-nerving sound. There are then half shots of the three militants putting on red scarves whilst they are walking down the hallway towards the room that General Aung San is in with his cabinet members. The red colour on the scarves is the symbol of communism, which represents the blood and the sacrifice of the people for the great or good of the nation. It also looks very out of place in the parliament building because General Aung San is all about bringing democracy into the country, which is why the guard standing outside of the room nervously walks away when he sees the militants. When the militants burst into the room the diegetic shaker sounds stop abruptly, which could also symbolize that everything that General Aung San and his cabinet members have worked towards (even their own lives) will end abruptly also. There is a mid shot of the main militant as he bursts through the doors of the room and then the camera quickly goes back to an over the shoulder full shot of General Aung San which shows us that he is the main target of the rebels. There is then a close up of General Aung Sans face, that slowly zooms in for 5 seconds, as the rebel walks up to him with a pistol pointing directly to his head. As the close up of General Aung Sans face slowly zooms in there is a mix of diegetic sounds. The first one is a sad flute sound and then a strum of a guitar, then he gets shot and his cabinet members are all mowed down instantly after. These diegetic sounds were quiet so it could symbolize the last moment of peace that General Aung San would have in his life, and also the country because now that the General got assassinated communism/dictatorship will take over the country. Another part of the scene is that they are about to toast to democracy with small cups of tea, but right before they drink it the militants come in. This causes them all to panic and they obviously don’t finish their toast. This could symbolize how close they were to having democracy in their country by nearly drinking the tea, however, it is ended when the militants kill them all so not drinking the tea could symbolize that the democracy would not be apart of the country.

Luc Besson’s ‘Auteurs Style’ is very much implemented within this scene. One of his themes is that the settings are extreme. This means that a character is put in a very violent situation that most people in the world would not have to see/deal with and make people watching feel grateful for what they have. The way that it is implemented in this scene is that General Aung San is put in a violent situation by being stormed by three militants who end up shooting him and his fellow leaders. I believe that Luc Besson is showing us that General Aung San was a very well respected man in Burma and also gives us an insight into a distasteful reality of what has happened in the world and what people have had to go through. General Aung San was very much admired by people which you can tell when he is greeted in the boardroom by his fellow cabinet members. The way that his motives were portrayed made it obvious that he wanted to bring Democracy into the country, this is shown by the dialogue when he is speaking in Burmese to his cabinet members but very clearly says, “Democracy” just before the assassins come in and shoot him. Also, it is shown that he was a peaceful man. When the gun is pointed to his head he doesn’t retaliate and closes his eyes, which could show that he was having his last moment of peace on earth. This was backed up by non-diegetic pan-flute sounds and the strum of a guitar as the close-up shot zoomed in on his face to portray the last seconds of his life. Another part that Luc Besson was teaching us was that a military dictatorship uses fear and violence to rule a country. In this scene, there wasn’t a dictatorship ruling the country, but it was General Aung San trying to bring democracy into the country. However, it does give a glimpse into what violence and evil a Military dictatorship could implement into a country.

The reason why Luc Besson implemented this part of his Auteurs style within this scene is to portray the violence going on in Burma at the time causing the setting to be extreme. It was an extreme setting at the time because the Military didn’t like the idea of General Aung San bringing in democracy into the country, and also has a strong relationship with Britain as they would be giving Burma independence. This caused a man called U-Saw to organize the assassination of General Aung San and his cabinet members by sending in Militants to shoot them down. These are the reasons why Luc Besson made this scene in an extreme setting, to portray all the violence going on in Burma.

The second scene in the movie ‘The Lady’ directed by Luc Besson, in which I will be analyzing is where Aung San Suu Ji is walking down a pathway greeting people, however, at the end of the path military members have shown up and are wanting her to go back. They are forcing this by shouting threats in native tongue to her and pointing automatic rifles at her. One of her advisers says that she should go back however she simply says, “No. Just ignore them. We will continue in a calm and orderly fashion. Stay here first.” She then starts walking up to a line of about 8 troops all pointing automatic rifles at her with none of them saying a word almost robot-like, however, she keeps walking up to them. Deep down my opinion is that the soldiers are even scared of General Ne Win (The Dictator General ruling Burma at the time) because they looked uncertain when the commander sent up the first ones to the firing line. Some were looking down and others had a sad look on their face so they even might be questioning the logistics of what they’re doing and not want to shoot Suu. In fact, some of the soldiers might even believe in Aung San Suu Kyi more than General Nee Win, however, they follow the General out of fear.

A variety of slow-motion mid shots of Aung San Suu Kyi walking up innocently to the troops display the scene, and then it switches back to mid-shots of the commander shouting threats at her to go back. Although the troops might not want to shoot Suu, she doesn’t know that and bravely keeps walking up to them, and while she is doing that there is there is non-diegetic pan flute music, much like the music from the scene where General Aung San died. The sad music could represent that she could potentially have the same fate as her father who was assassinated.  As Suu is walking up she cuts straight through the first line of the troops that are all pointing guns at her. A side on half shot shows that the military guys don’t even look at her as she passes through them which could be another symbol that the military doesn’t actually want to kill her. This half shot is like as if you were looking at Suu from a soldiers point of view at the end of the line is that there will be huge repercussions on them, also when the militants were last involved in assassinating a big leader U Saw (The man who organized it all) was executed by hanging. When she passes through the first line of the troops she then walks up to the commander who is shouting threats at her, still pointing the pistol at Suu. Although he has the gun he doesn’t have the power in this situation as his hand is shaking a lot and he is being very procrastinative about shooting Suu when he has already had the opportunity to do so. The commander not shooting shows that Suu has the power and the moral high ground in this situation because she is calmly and innocently walking up to them to prove a point that they don’t have all the authority, and actually reveals a weakness of them. The military’s authority is solely implemented by fear, as they are the ones with the guns. However, when they are stood up to (In this situation it is Suu walking up to them) they aren’t all that powerful because they do have to be careful of what they do.

This shows Suu’s passion and love for her country as she is willing to sacrifice her life for her people and do everything she can. This is where Luc Besson’s Auteurs style is implemented within this scene because one of his themes of his unique style is that often the main characters show integrity in a corrupt world. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, which is shown much by Suu. One of her major morals is doing all she can for her country and bringing it out of the dictatorship, along with giving the Burmese people someone/something to believe in. Her bravery was admirable when she walked straight up through the first line of military people who were all pointing automatic rifles at her. Her passion for her people is second to none as when she was campaigning she went around all the tribes and villages in Burma and the different cities. Doing this showed that she was truly dedicated to getting the vote of the people, and it also shows she had an interest in them and respect for them. Because not every politician would go to every little town in their country because they don’t have the time or energy, however, Suu went to every little village/tribe along the trail and came across a very different range of people. Perhaps going to all the villages caused her to have a new-found appreciation of the people of Burma, as there is a large variety of different people in different villages with many different cultures. In brief, Suu has an ever-growing passion for her country as she is willing to sacrifice her life for the people and go the extra mile.

Within this scene, where Aung San Suu Kyi stands up to the military, you can see the Cinema Du aspect of Luc Besson’s Auteurs style taking place. The “spectacle over narrative” theme is apparent when the commander is pointing the gun at Suu and shouting in native tongue at her. Subtitles could be on the screen translating what he is saying, however, as the viewer you already know what he is saying for the most part from his body language, tone and the position he is in – and that is shouting at her to go back. Not having subtitles makes immerses you in the scene more and makes you seem part of it like you can see from the P.O.V shots, from Suu’s perspective, of the commander. Having subtitles reminds you that you are actually watching a movie and can take away from the impact of the scene. With a mixture of not having subtitles and P.O.V camera shots, Luc Besson’s Cinema Du look submerges you in the scene almost making you forget that you are watching a movie, but instead, you are part of the scene with the characters on screen.

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