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ARTH 334 Week 6 Discussion Topic 1

After reviewing the film, answer the following. How does this film represent a change in attitude and theme from previous American films? What is “new” about both its content and its style? Does it represent a new approach to “heroes” and villains in film? Also describe stylistic aspects of the film and how they differ from the previous “classical” film-making techniques represented by films of the 1940s-1950s.

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Right at the beginning of theBonnie And Clyde(1967), there is evidence that there has been ashift in attitude and themes from previous American films. Within the first five minutes of themovie, there has already been a scene shown in which there is brief nudity. This is a goodreminder of the readings for this week in which Dirks talks about how film regulators started torelax on their restrictions and film makers started to show more explicit content –although this isa few years before the 70s (Dirks, par 1). Near the beginning of the film the camera zooms into Bonnie’s face and focuses in only on her eyes and eyebrows so we can see her facial expressions.It is common in noir films that illumination is isolated for the eyes and eyebrows of a characterto dramatize the scene (Hess, 4:49-5:21). The difference in this film is that they kept the rest ofher face illuminated versus only lighting just her eyes and brow.

In the 40’s and 50’s films wereblack and white, and they focused on lighting and shadowing techniques to minimize themonotony. It still has some noir-like characteristics like shadows, but most of the scenes arebrightly lit.The crimes that Bonnie and Clyde committed are obvious instead of hidden in thedarkness of scenes. Most of the crimes they did occurred in broad daylight. There is sexuallysuggestive banter between the Clyde and his friend when they talk about Bonnie in one scene inthe film. The romance scenes aren’t so abrupt. The clothing worn by the characters is moremodern than in the 40’s and 50’s. What was new about the approach to villains in this film is thatthey seemed to be having a lot of fun and it seemed like they were going on an adventure insteadof wallowing in guilt. They also did not try to hide their identities by wearing ski masks ordisguises.

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