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Sara Iqbal

Short Film Analysis

Plastic 2013

The film opens almost instantly with non-diegetic soft score music, the sombre tone of the
piano playing helps connote the dramatic tone of the short film. This is supported through
the illustrations of a butterfly at first flying in a white background going into a more dark and
sombre environment. This foreshadows the narrative of the film, implying that the main
protagonist will go through hardship within the short film. The peaceful establishing shot of
the butterfly flying in a white background is quickly contrasted against a black background.
The scene then cuts to a close up of a female erratically throwing clothes from a wardrobe,
trying on clothes. Within the scene energetic non-diegetic music can be heard in the
background. The director uses this to show how the character is unstable as she is constantly
throwing and trying on different clothes. The director also uses low key lighting in the scene
contrasting to the bright clothes. This is to represent how the young female character wishes
to make her dull life more fun and happy using brightly coloured props (clothes).

A long shot is then used to show the main protagonist entering a bathroom, the butterfly
from the establishing scene is then shown to be sitting on a magazine. This is symbolic of the
changes that women endure in order to be deemed desirable in societys eyes. It
represents the great length that the main protagonist will go to in order to feel beautiful in
societys standards. A close up is then shown of the main protagonist using a beauty cream
in order to enhance her looks. This is followed by an extreme close up of the main
protagonist staring at a pimple on her nose in pure disgust. The non-diegetic score music in
the background in the form of a piano playing random keys, represents the feeling of self-
hatred the main protagonist is feeling. The director uses this to symbolize how society has
made women to believe that every imperfection has catastrophic consequences, even for a
minor pimple.

The scene cuts to the main protagonist crying, and holding her face in her hands. As she
looks up, she has visible dents from her fingers on her face. The director then shows the light
flickering on and off. Indicating that the protagonist is losing herself to societys demands,
just as the light is losing its light as its battery fades out. The camera the cuts to a close up,
showing that the dents have gone, implying that the main protagonist was hallucinating the
encounter. However a close up is shown and the main protagonist is now able to mould her
nose as if she is plastic symbolising how women will go to any lengths to meet societys
definition of beautiful.
The scene then cuts to the same magazine cover with the model on the front. A close up is
then shown of the main protagonist smiling, indicating she will now mould herself to be
just like the model in the magazine. Cheerful non-diegetic score music is heard in the
background, this is to symbolize the joy the main protagonist feels as she moulds herself
Sara Iqbal

into the desirable women in the cover. A long shot is then used to show how the main
protagonist has completely altered her appearance. She now is much slimmer with fuller
lips, it represents her attempt to be societys definition of perfect.

The scene then shows the butterfly dying next to a picture of how the main protagonist
looked before changing her appearance. The director does this to symbolize how the main
protagonist killed who she used to be in order to become what society wished for her to be.
A shot reverse shot is used to show the conversation between the main protagonist and a
male date. However the main protagonist is shown to be her true self. With the male date
complimenting her, implying that she didnt need to change herself to impress anyone and
she was perfect as she was.

Overall the director uses the contrasting images of the butterfly and main protagonist to
show the different lengths women go to, to meet societys standards. The butterfly symbolic
of the main protagonist soul, as the butterfly slowly dies as does the main protagonists soul.
However in the end of the film the director shows that the main protagonist doesnt need to
change for anyone and is beautiful as she is.

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