an analysis of the video (or: what i’d write if it weren’t me)

i made this film awhile ago, it’s 1-2 minutes of childhood footage of me with music i arranged in soundtrack.  anyway we came across it this morning and were like WOAH what is THIS saying?  so we had someone write an analysis.

here is the film:

locked door film from the edges on Vimeo.

here is the analysis:

i am going to do the kind of analysis of this movie i would do for any film i hadn’t created.

the first thing that strikes me is the focus on the mother and the emphasis on her connection with the daughter (the subject of the film).  the second shot of the film is the mother entering the house, which is really set up by the first shot of the sister hiding under the table (ostensibly waiting for the mother).

the mother quickly raises and lowers her eyebrows at the camera, which then cuts to elizabeth (the daughter) doing the same thing, echoing her expression to the camera.  and so their similarity is emphasized.

the film then moves to shots of elizabeth standing in front of the door, clearly unhappy that she can’t get in, then actually banging on it.  it is interesting to note that in the previous shot of the mother she is coming in thru what appears to be the front door.

but paired with the shot after, of elizabeth stuck outside of and banging on the door, one could imagine that the mother was actually locking herself on the other side of the door that elizabeth stands in front of for the rest of the film.

obviously elizabeth’s constant smiling at and playing to the camera to distract it and herself from the locked door indicates corresponding personality traits and coping mechanisms.  the cutaway shot to elizabeth dancing in the kitchen seems to show even the creator (another elizabeth in the system’s) wish to focus on the coping mechanisms and elizabeth’s performance rather than the problem at hand.  the film’s editing of this part showcases elizabeth’s talent at entertainment: dancing, getting out of fake chains with a candycane, trying unsuccessfully to juggle.  it is difficult to tell whether the focus is on the method as distraction or whether it becomes the distraction itself.

the next cutaway shot is a close up of elizabeth smiling at the camera and gesturing with her eyes to her right, trying to push the focus off herself.  when the camera finally moves we see her mom, resting on the bannister, ostensibly having watched elizabeth but again lifting her eyebrows at the camera when it catches her.  it is clear that elizabaeth has been performing for her mom to some extent and her focus is on her mom’s attention on her and her mom herself.

again, the mom’s eyebrow raise is echoed in elizabeth in front of the door in the next shot.  and we are rbought back to her on the other side of the locked door.  as if the last scene were a memory or an explanation about what was currently going on.  what elizabeth was thinking.  why she kept knocking on the door (which is funny because i know that her cousin and babysitter cam was on the other side and had locked elizabeth out for being annoying).

also of note is that the music has been quite happy most of this time (tho somewhat intense when we first saw elizabeth look sad in front of the locked door).  it sounds almost triumphant, even tho elizabeth never succeeds (altho perhaps the film is arguing that the success is actually that of the distraction method, directly tested on the audience thru the editing).

the mom is shown in an idealized or at least sweet light.  while there is a lot of anger in this film directed at the door, and she is the only other major player in the film, none is directed at her.  which contradicts the idea that she is behind it, at least seemingly.  but otherwise why is she interwoven so much with the footage of the door?  why does the film start with her coming thru a door that looks exactly like the one elizabeth is locked out of for the rest of the film?  why does it keep cutting to her?

also silent is the camera person, the unsees sister from the first shot, who disappears behind the lens to record the whole thing.  her imput is entirely in the swaying of the camera and in elizabeth and the mother’s interaction with it.  the unseens sister who later become a huge extrovert.

one wonders if the film is actually about elizabeth’s separation from her mother and how she deals with her anger.  in fact, it is the same way the film deals with that anger.  first, it is separated from the mother completely.  even tho elizabeth is often angry or upset or sad in the film, whenever she follows a shot of her mother, she smiles and raises her eyebrows in an echo of her mother’s expression.

the mother uses this same mechanism, a way of entertaining the camera.  the viewer can see it bonding them together, at least in the mind of the editor.  it is this that allows elizabeth to separate from her anger, and one wonders if it does the same for the mom.

besides cute facial expressions, elizabeth uses the aforementioned entertainment mechanism.  and she idealizes her mother, evidenced by the shots used to introduce her both times (each of them a daughter waiting expectantly and smiling, tho one notes that the unsees sister is under the table for her only shot in the film.

the anger and mother are so artfully separated that one could watch the film many times and not even associate them.  even tho they are almost presented side-by-side, there is always a buffer of raised eyebrows between them.

the viewer could watch and watch without considering who was on the other side of that door.  even tho the only chracters presented are teh mom and unseen sister and the height of the camera and other things make it clear the sister is holding it.  leaving only the mother.  but this is something, like the anger, that the film does not directly address.

this analysis is slipshod, i’m out of practice.  it’s not concise enough, i’m figuring things out as i write.

also, the music becomes kind of jazzy at the end.  there is a sense of giving up, but again the focus is on elizabeth being entertaining and so is the music itself.  the door is given up on and elizabeth moves on to entertainment to replace what was on the other side.

the focus is on teh joke, both elizabeth’s and that of the ffilm, the humor of it all.  the classic tragedy/humor relationship.

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