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Evaluation

For my F634 Film studies course work portfolio I created several planning
materials consisting of a synopsis, script, risk assessment, location report and
casting considerations in order to produce my final product a five minute short
film titled Exposed. To support my creative artefact I also wrote a 3000-word
essay studying my hypothesis How has the representation of women
changed in mainstream film from the 1960s to present day; the focus of my
Film studies coursework portfolio. I aimed to show a less stereotypical
representation of women in film. Using my textual analysis I bring attention to
the way women were represented in mainstream film and their progression as
times and societies views evolve and change. I aimed to show the
progression I found during my research in my final product.
When creating my production I took my inspiration from the films I studied in
my textual analysis. As I already knew how I wanted to represent women in
my film I did not try to replicate any of the narrative techniques. Instead I
focused on trying to incorporate some of the technical elements used by the
directors in the films. For example the use of
music to add atmosphere to each scene similar to
Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott) and the use of
low angle shots to draw focus relating back to
James Bond Dr No (Terence Young). I feel that I
successfully used cinematography to portray
isolation, something I picked up on in The Hunger
Games (Gary Ross).
As the way women are represented is a pertinent topic of discussion
throughout society I decided to focus on how or if womens representation in
film has changed and whether societal or cultural views have a part to play. I
took a range of films both contemporary and from the past (1960-2012) to try
and gauge the choices made by directors to represent women at different
points on the timeline. I researched how women were viewed in the domestic,
professional and economic sphere, taking into consideration growing feminist
movements and societal changes that changed ways of thinking.
I decided to research this topic, as a supporter of womens equality and a
lover of film. It interested me to see the different or similar ways directors
decide to represent female characters. I was interested to find out whether
this had anything to do with the views of wider society; for example if directors
were just pandering to their audiences, giving a true representation by
applying societies views or if there was a genuine bias towards womens
representation in mainstream film. Womens equality in film has gained
greater acknowledgement in recent years making this topic relevant in todays
society. It also interested me to see how in past decades society viewed
women and how or if this was reflected in film.
During my research I found a gradual evolution in the representation of female
characters. It was interesting to see how womens representation had slowly
changed and how this was portrayed through different types of female

characters. Through research I found that mainstream films are heavily


influenced by societies views. This was shown through small changes in
society leading a slight evolution of female characters representation. During
my research I found womens common representation to be; heavily
sexualised and passive. Theorist Laura Mulvey wrote about how women in
film are used to create pleasure for the men in the audience. Narrative theorist
Propp explains how in most narratives women play the role of the princess
who is saved by the male hero. These theories match the representation of
women I found before the 1990s when women in film started to become less
of a showpiece and more dominant to the narrative.
Researching my textual analysis I studied a range of films. Doctor No (1962,
Terence Young), Thelma and Louise (1991, Ridley Scott), Kill Bill (2003,
Quentin Tarantino), Skyfall (2012, Sam Mendes) and The Hunger Games
(2012, Gary Ross). Studying these films and there representation of female
characters, allowed my to gain an idea of how far the representation of
women had evolved and what kind of representation I wanted to portray in my
production. I decided to use my characters to convey the evolved
representation of female characters I found in my research. I chose to only
have female characters in my film so my audience could focus on their
representation.
I gave my characters a modern rebellious attitude in order to reflect the
evolution of womens representation I found in my research. I added to this by
creating a narrative making women the focal point, reflecting female
characters recent dominance in film narratives. However I decided to make
both my protagonist and antagonist emotional, linking back to older
stereotypical representations of women. I did this to also show my audience a
more conventional side to my characters and to keep interest in my narrative.
When planning my film I had to consider the use of appropriate mise en
scene. For example I had to choose costumes that were not stereotypical but
relatable. To do this I decided to represent my characters as sixth form
students, I was able to enhance this through my choice of actors being a sixth
form student myself I had great access to actors of the respective age and
look. I also had to consider location much of my film takes place in my
characters bedrooms in order to keep away
from stereotypes I had to dress each room
using neutral colours. When creating my script
I constantly considered how it represented
women taking notes from my research.

When planning what shots and angles to use I took inspiration from the films I
studied. To convey my characters feelings of isolation I used long shots in the
scenes leading up to her. I took this from The Hunger Games. In the bullying
scene I chose to use a similar low angle shot to the one used in Doctor No to
pull focus to the character being bullied. The use of sound in my film was
mostly to add to the empathy created from the audience to the character on
screen, which from feedback I can tell worked very well.

Overall the aim of my production was to not only entertain but to show a less
stereotypical representation and an evolution of female characters in film. I
wanted my audience after having watched the film to learn something about
womens representation and to understand women in film are not just one
sided. Although I only made a short film I feel I was still able to show a change
in representation, and for this reason if feel it was successful. I was able to
clearly reflect what I found in my research whilst adhering to my planning
materials. I feel I answered my thesis well in my textual analysis based on
what I found, using it to understand how I could represent female characters
in my film.