Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #2

Question: describe how the beginning and end of the film are connected

The beginning and end of the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is connected through two main events and scene's. By connecting the beginning and end of the film it helps to unify and give a sense of a completed cycle within the storyline.

The connection between the beginning and end of the film is shown in the very first scene, George turns on his video camera to film himself playing basketball this symbolizes the start of the film. By using this visual technique we are seeing life in George's perspective which helps the viewer to see his point of view. This scene is connected to the final scene when the detectives discover George's camera after he has drowned. "The inside of my mind has a zillion things about it but... people that don't see inside of my mind don't know there are a zillion things and... Y'know, since no one sees inside my mind, no one really knows". The final scene ends with George turning off his camera this symbolises his death and the end of the film. These two scene's show a connection, they both use the same visual technique to start and end the film through the turning on and off of George's camera . Mean Creek starts and ends with a close up shot of George through the view of his camera so we are seeing the situation from his perspective. By the director connecting the beginning and end of the film it gives the viewer the sense of a completed cycle, as it ends the same as it started. I think it is very clever how the director does this as it show thought on how he wants the viewers to perceive, and what he wants the viewers to take away from the film, it gives the film more meaning and emphasizes the moral.

Another connection between the beginning and the end of film, is through the two scene's in Sam & Rocky's bedroom before and after George's death. In the beginning the room is shown with a carefree vibe, it is well lit, up beat music in the background and games being played whilst Rocky is calling George as part of their prank "he said he would love to come".After George's death the film returns to Sam and Rocky's room, this shows a connection to the scene described earlier as the film is returning to the same setting where the revenge plan was put in place, this is a major turning point.Physically the room is still the same, but there is a change in the vibe as characters have all come to a guilty realisation of the effect of their actions, this gives a very tense atmosphere. Change in atmosphere shown by a change in lighting it has now become darker, the music has slowed and the use of static camera movement .By doing this it helps show the the major change and loss of innocence in the characters by being able to see them before and after George's death, in the same setting of Sam and Rocky's room this helps viewers to compare "we can never be forgiven for what we did". A connection like this is very useful in showing the consequences of the accident, as we are able to see effects of the George's death on each character individually. The director has used this technique well as it clearly shows the changes in the characters so we are able to see them before and after George's death which makes it easier to compare and understand for viewers.

In conclusion the connection of the beginning and end of the film are shown in two main events and scene's. Connection is shown by the beginning of the film starting with George turning on his camera and ending with him turning it off, this is a connection as the same visual technique is used. Beginning and end of Mean Creek is connected also by the before and after scene's of George's death in Sam and Rocky's bedroom. This shows as connection as it is the exact same setting but with a major atmospheric change. This setting is also where the decisions for turning point occur, the decision to get revenge and the decision to come clean. Jacob Aaron Estes ties the end back to the beginning as it gives a sense of a completed cycle which is a well thought out way to end a film.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is New Zealand Really Clean & Green?

I firmly believe New Zealand is really clean and green as we have a functioning recycling system, low pollution level due to our small population and lots of undisturbed and undeveloped land. However the introduction of pests to New Zealand has taken a toll on our native species, but action is being taken to prevent extinction and further damage.

In New Zealand we have a functioning recycling system to reduce our household waste. "Reduce, Re-use and Recycle" is promoted and advertised through-out New Zealand so less waste ends up in landfills. In New Zealand each household is given two bins, a large blue lidded one for recycling and a small red lidded one for rubbish. Trucks come and collect the waste once a week and transport it, the waste to landfills and the recycling to a recycling plant. By doing this it is clean and hygienic as rubbish is disposed of correctly keeping New Zealand clean. When recycling it is taken to the plant it is sorted, cleaned, melted and then re-used to make a similar product. It is more clean and green to do this as recycling degrades very slowly in landfills which pollutes the environment, for very one tonne of paper you recycle thirteen trees are saved and four cubic yards of landfill space conserved. The cost for this is covered within the rates an individual pays to the government each year to keep the system working, this is well worth it as it keeps New Zealand looking clean and green.

Clean and green is the image New Zealand is given and deserves because of low pollution level compared to other countries around the world. Due to New Zealand's small land mass and population, pollution is to a minimum compared to other countries round the world. Russia is the country with highest pollution rate and has a population of 140,702,096, compared to New Zealand with a population of 4.2 million and only a fraction of the size. When our pollution rate is being compared to the rest of the world we have the advantage of a small population as there is less people to pollute. This means we are able to keep or country pristine and conserve such scenery as Mt. Ruapehu. Tourist come and compare us to their home which may be densely populated and populated and appreciate our clean and green environment which we take for granted.

Undisturbed and undeveloped land is something New Zealand takes pride in as it gives the image of being very clean and green. Lots of our scenery it still untouched which means its filled with native birds and insects. New Zealand is famous for some of its natural sights such as Queenstowns Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. The most densely populated area's of NZ are Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington opposed to the sparsely populated areas like Gisbourne, West Coast and Taranaki this shows the areas that would be the most undisturbed as less people live there, so less need for development to facilitate the community. Benefits of this undisturbed and undeveloped land is that it looks amazing and green and with more the trees we have, the more carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis which keeps our air clean. It is rare to find so much undisturbed land in a populated country, this attracts tourists as it is unusual and appreciated by them resulting in the image of being clean and green.

However despite our efforts to be clean and green the obstacles of protecting our wildlife have become difficult with the introduction of unwanted pests. Possums and stoats are examples of these pests and responsible for wrecking New Zealands native wildlife. Possums feed on the plants like the native silver fern, possums are tending to eat more fern that can be reproduced fast enough which leads to extinction. Stoats eat the eggs of our natives birds like the Kiwi which means a lack of eggs are being laid to keep the species alive. The introduction of these pests has only had a negative effect on New Zealand's clean and green image, as we are losing our greenery and wildlife to pests. Conservationists have protection programmes to prevent extinction and loss of our clean and green image. They collect the Kiwi eggs and incubate them and set traps for possums and stoats. Even though this has a negative effect on our image work is being done to stop this problem so we can uphold the clean and green image.

In conclusion I firmly believe New Zealand is clean and green as we have a functioning recycling system which reduces our pollution which keeps us green, our low pollution levels due to our small population which keep New Zealand looking pristine, and the undisturbed undeveloped land which keeps our air clean. However the introduction on pests such as possums has destroyed some native trees and wildlife but conservationists have the situation under control, so New Zealand can successfully still hold the title of being clean and green.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #1

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is bullying. This idea is conveyed through the verbal feature of dialogue and the visual features of actions and shot types/camera angles. Through the use of these techniques we are able to understand the ideas of the film much more clearly.

Bullying - someone who unfairly uses their size and strenght to hurt or frighten others. Bullying is an important idea in the text as it is the cause for Sam to want revenge on George which leads to his death. George uses physical and mental forms of bullying to hurt people because of his own insecurities and anger issues.

The first technique that helps the viewer to understand the idea of bullying is the dialogue. This is a verbal technique which shows bullying in the form of mental and emotional abuse that George uses to inflict harm. In the scene of Mean Creek when they are playing truth and dare this verbal technique is used when George gets angry at everyone in the boat, the dialogue is course with lots of swearing and put downs made. "Shut the fuck up, Clyde! You faggot! Fucking skinny butt-munching faggot. I hate you! You know that? I really do! Because all you do is fucking prance around school, talking about your fucking faggoty fairy fathers!".This verbal technique of dialogue shows how George is mentally and emotionally bullying Cylde by calling him names and taunting him about his gay fathers. This technique makes the theme of bullying easier to understand as the language is course and hurtful which really emphasizes the extent and pain George puts his victims through when bullying them.

Another technique used that helps the viewer to understand the theme of bullying is the characters actions. This is a visual technique which shows bullying as George physically fights others intentionally trying to hurt them. This visual technique is shown in the first scene of Mean Creek when George is attacking Sam for touching his camera. "Hey! What do you think you're doing? You're a punk, Sam! if i ever catch you fucking with my camera again". In this scene George's actions are very violent as he uses his strenght to his advantage by tackling and punching Sam, resulting in Sam now having a black eye and wanting revenge on George.This visual technique shows the theme of bullying as George uses his actions to physical bully Sam.This technique makes the theme of bullying easier to understand as his actions are used to inflict harm on others, this shows how he bullies Sam and his lack of self control and respect of others.

Viewers are helped to understand the idea of bullying by using the visual technique of different shot types and angles.This technique is important when conveying the idea of bullying to viewers as it helps enhance and manipulate their thoughts. This technique is specifically used in the truth and dare scene when George and Marty are having their dispute. By using this technique of different shot types and angles it helps show the roles reserving between the antagonist and protagonist. During the beginning of their argument Marty is the antagonist he is standing up in the boat which is shown from a low angle, this makes him look powerful and his dialogue more forceful . As the scene proceeds the George now becomes the antagonist ,this is shown by George now being in the exact same position as Marty but on the other side of the boat. As George gets more out of control the scene shows close ups of his face, which gives attention to his facial expression and over the shoulder shots to manipulate the viewers to see George as the bully and antagonist."And speaking of dead... fathers... I just remembered why bonehead white-trash fucking donkey-dick Marty got so fucking freaked when I started talking about his "daddy". His neanderthal, drunk father put a gun in his mouth and splattered his brains all over the wall ". This technique plays a big role in manipulating and making the idea easier to understand as it helps to clearly show the roles reserving between the bully by the use of camera angles, it also emphasizes the dialogue by using shot types.

In conclusion bullying is an important idea in the film Mean Creek visual and verbal techniques are used to help make it easier to understand to viewers. Dialogue helped show the idea by the course language and the form of mental and emotional bullying towards Cylde. Actions helped convey the idea of bullying by the physical abuse George inflicts in Sam, shot types and camera angles show the idea more clearly by showing the reserve roles of antagonist and protagonist between George and Marty. without these visual and verbal technique the theme of bullying would not be clearly displayed to viewers as they emphasizes detail and manipulate the audience.

By LilyRose Dyer.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Should The Drinking Age Be Raised To 21 ?

I strongly believe the drinking age should not be raised to 21 as it will not be solving the problem of underage drinking , it will just lead to 18-20 year old's drinking in the streets. Many new privileges are offered to eighteen year old's in New Zealand as they are now mature enough to take on these particular responsibilities, so why not be able to drink alcohol ?. However this doesn't stop the violence caused by the binge drinking culture in New Zealand, raising the drinking age isn't the correct way of going about it this issue.

The drinking age should not be raised to 21 as it will not be solving the problem of underage drinking. By raising the drinking age they are trying to prevent underage drinking, it will not stop this problem as no matter what the drinking age is, there is still going to be underage people consuming alcohol.People underage are very capable of accessing alcohol as it can be brought by parents, siblings,aunties,cousins and older friends so raising the drinking age will have a minimal effect. The want for a raise of the drinking age is the result of a few irresponsible people abusing the use of alcohol and wrecking the privilege for others. It is more important to more thoroughly enforce underage drinking with the current drinking age of 18.

Raising the drinking age to 21 is the wrong path of action as it will lead to to 18-20 year old's drinking in the streets. If they are not allowed into bars or clubs for drinks, drinkers will resort to house parties and the streets to binge drink in an uncontrolled environment. This a bad thing because if there in a bar or club the bartender can refuse to serve them if there to intoxicated , bouncers and security guards are on duty to control any bad behaviour. So isn't it safer for the community for drinkers to be in bars or clubs instead of illegal drinking in the streets ?

I disagree with changing the drinking age to 21 because other privileges are offered to eighteen year old's as they are now 'mature enough'. This would be hypercritical to deny them the privilege of being able to purchase alcohol. In New Zealand once you turn eighteen you are able to vote,drive,marry, have to pay adult fares, become an MP,and go to war to fight for your country as you have supposedly matured. If eighteen year old's are offered these bigger responsibilities they should be responsible and trusted enough to be able to purchase alcoholic beverages.

However the binge drinking culture in New Zealand is caused an increase in domestic violence . This violence is generally the result of a few irresponsible people lashing out because they are not in control of themselves . These few people are charged and dealt with , their mistakes should not wreck the alcohol buying privilege for responsible people 18+ who deserve the right to buy a drink.

In conclusion I strongly believe the drinking age should not be raised to 21 because it will not properly solve the underage drinking issue at hand , it will just result in to 18-20 year olds drinking in the streets and endangering the community , we need to trust in the young society of New Zealand as at eighteen they are are offered the full privileges of an adult. Even though it causes intoxicated violence the mistakes of these people should not bring down the majority of responsible New Zealand citizens.

By LilyRose Dyer.