Edward Zwick's Use Of Themes In The Last Safiance

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Edward Zwick is an intelligent movie director who is known for making movies that explore themes of social and racial issues. He has directed many famous films such as: Blood Diamond; The Siege; and Courage Under Fire. This essay will focus on two films that are not only well known but also show Zwick’s passion for themes of social and racial significance – these films are The Last Samurai and Defiance. Zwick is skilled at using many film techniques to emotionally connect with the viewer and to get the audience thinking about the social and racial issues he explores in his films. I will focus on just two of these techniques: sound and music; and camera angles, shots and sequences. It is the purpose of this essay to show how Zwick has used these…show more content…
For example in the The Last Samurai, when the Gatling Guns stops shooting the samurais, Zwick uses a mid-shot and shows Katumoto who is lying on the ground. As he is reaching to his sword to kill himself, the camera changes to a close up POV shot of Algren and Katumoto. Being a close up shot, it allows the audiences to see the emotions of the characters. However, because it is a POV shot, it helps the audiences to put themselves in the characters’ shoes. It allows the audience to empathise with Algren and Katumoto. It is important that the audience can feel this way as this is a crucial moment for Algren and Katumoto, when their relationship comes to an end, as Katumoto dies and the Samurais are finished. In this sequence, Zwick also uses mid shots so that he can show both Algren and Katumoto together with cherry blossoms in the background. By showing Algren and Katumoto together Zwick demonstrates the brotherhood and friendship of two people who came from different cultures. These ties into the theme of clashing cultures by showing a direct contrast to the conflict between East and West. This is important for Zwick because he wants people to see there’s both good and bad in every culture and when we are open minded and make the effort to learn about another culture (both its good and bad aspects) we can become better ourselves. The mid shot also introduces the image of the cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms or sakura are often thought of as the spirit of Japan. They are considered the most beautiful flower in the country, however, sakura only bloom for a short time (usually only 1 week), so they have become a symbol of extreme beauty and quick death. In this film, their beauty is compared to Bushidou. Bushidou,

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