The 1997 quirky, romanticcomedy ‘Annie Hall’ was directed by the award-winning Woody Allen.
Not only didhe direct it and star as the main character in the film, he in fact co-wrote italong-side Marshall Brickman (Wikipedia 2018). The film follows the life of Alvy Singer, a character whois struggling to come to terms with the ending of a relationship between himselfand Annie. From early childhood Alvy is perceived to be insecure and impossiblebut nevertheless full of knowledge, when he was only young he was old beyondhis years questioning his sexual desire while also processing his own existencein the universe. Throughout the film his sexual frustration doesn’t stop there,him and Annie’s relationship go from confessing their love to one another, to atense argumentative affair where Annie see’s making love as more of a burden. (IMDb, 2018) Although this film sounds like a stereotypical romance,that’s where we are wrong, Woody Allen explored the main characters emotionsthrough different filming techniques such as interaction with the camera,visual gags, use of contradicting subtitles and also the famous double exposedscene.
Elements like the following: – mise-en-scène, use of camera, editing andsound all have a part to play in the film to create the unconventional effect ofthe character’s feelings. One scene that was really distinctive in the Annie Hall filmwas one that used the split screen effect (45.49-47.
50). This is where ‘Atechnique is provided for simultaneously displaying juxtaposed pictures fromtwo independent image sources on a television screen.’ (Balopoleand Traynor, 1983). Setting the scene, it starts off with Alvy at an Easter dinnerwith Annie and her pretentious family, and then the screen splits showing thedinner that his uncivilised family are having. Startingwith looking at the use of mise-en-scene is this scene, this includes lookingat the setting created, lighting, costume and behaviour of the actors/actresses within it. ‘mise-en-scene’ includes those aspects of filmthat overlap with the art of the theatre: setting, lighting, costume, and thebehaviour of the figures.” (Bordwell&Thomson 1997 p.
169). They havechosen to set the start of this scene at the Hall’s dinner table, it is veryspacious room with windows surrounding it which ties in well with the lightercoloured walls. Even the dining set is light coloured resulting in making theroom seem brighter. The architecture as a whole is very modern. In most of thefilm high-key lighting and natural lighting is used and in this scene, it wasno different. As there are many windows we are made to believe it is just theuse of natural lighting however there is use of artificial soft lighting tocreate more subtle shadows on the characters faces, for examples Annie’s Dadthere is a shadow hitting the side of his face.
In comparison when the scene progressesonto the split screen effect it gives us the setting of where the Stingerfamily is have dinner, it looks a more claustrophobic atmosphere, the walls aredarker and the curtains are brown. High lighting is used here this is where lightinguses ‘fill and backlight to create low contrastbetween brighter and darker areas'(Bordwell &Thomson 1997p.169) making theroom give off a more poorly lit effect. We don’t see where the lighting iscoming from in this room but we are made to believe it is coming from a lamp orlight source.
The overall setting gives a sense of realism. At thebeginning of the scene it shows, Alvy change costumes for a split second fromhis shirt and blazer to a full Hasidic Jew attire. This attire is representedoff of the stereotypical Hasidic image of them with the back hat, beard, peyosand caftan (desser,d.
and friedman, L.D., 2003).
Woody Allen created this costumechange as it is iconic, since Alvy had just praised Annie’s grandmothers ham as’dynamite ham’ – even though it is against his morals to eat it, he accepts itto fit in with the Halls (Chris, P., 2014.). There is good use of costumes in this scene toportray the characters with Annie and her family wearing whites, cream andbrown which co-ordinates with the setting of their house which suggestsinnocence, clean and upper-class.
Even the way they have dressed Annies motherwith flashy jewlerry, a large necklace and eye drawing ring suggest theirwealthiness. In comparison to the Stinger family where they are wearing darker,old fashioned clothing which again matches the setting of the dark walls, itcould also evoke how because the family are Jews they are more reserved with astricter dress code. Moving on to look at the character’s behaviour during thisscene, one part that really sticks out is the facial expressions on Anniesfamilies faces after he makes a comment on the ham. Directors are alwayslooking for facial expressions in characters for realism effect (Rhodie,S.
, 2015). Bythe way the actors face’s appear with the raising of eyebrows and turning away,it suggest their confusion and disgust of what Alvy has just said. Which comparesto the flustered behaviour of Alvy, as he looks from left to right a couple oftimes awkwardly with his head tilted downwards and eyebrow’s raised conveys heknows he has said something wrong. As a whole the Hall family behave is acivilised way, giving everyone the opportunity to talk, sipping their drinkselegantly and even the way they are sitting straight backed to the chair. Whichagain compares to the split screen of the Stinger family where they are behavingin a loud mannered, hectic way portraying the family to be rude andpoor-mannered.
Woody Allen did this to show the differences in the families andhow out of place Alvy feels.Sound wise in thisscene, it is mainly focussed around the differences and similarities of dialoguebetween the two families. When it begins there is a calm conversation betweenthe family, very pleasant however there are a few seconds within that is justsilence, giving an awkward, less homely atmosphere. Also, there is backgroundnoise of people eating and placing their glasses on the table to tie in withthe fact they are eating dinner this is called parallel sound when it ties inwith the mood. There is also a use of digestic sound, an example of this isAlvy coughing (Johnson,Jennifer., 2016).
Then switchingto showing both the families, where Alvys are loud and overbearing, all talkingat once, no one listening to what the other is saying, the use of clashing dialoguehere it to build the character plot of how different the families are.