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Tropfest – Cargo Essays

The short film Cargo is directed by Ben Howling and written by Yolanda Ramke. Cargo is an influential horror film from Tropfest. It is intended for mature audiences and it is not suitable for children under the age of 12. Cargo was filmed in the NSW bushes; it is obvious when you hear the sound of the Kookaburra’s laughing in the trees. The main purpose of this film is to tell us that there is hope in the human spirit. Cargo is an interesting story that is mainly a tad scary, but the real meaning of Cargo is actually a very touching story about love.
Cargo is a short horror film, about a man that is trying to save his baby daughter’s life. He gains a lot of bravery and courage, and fights his urges all along the way and stays positive for his dear baby’s life for as long as he can. This short narrative is a linear film. It is important to focus more on the sounds and what’s happening since it is also a non-dialogue film. This adds to making Cargo very intense. For the writer’s to make the audience understand what is happening and who people are, they introduce more characters.
For example, as the baby gets introduced for the first time in the film, the man shows his love and care for the baby and the audience will then realise that it must be his child. The story is also told through the use of props and the way the characters use them. An example for this would be the map used in Cargo as he is writing all over it, you can tell that he is trying to find a safe place for someone since he is in for unsafety. Another two ways the story is also told is the gestures and facial expressions of the character, and the dramatic music used as it helps with it being a non-dialogue film.
Mise-en-scene elements that are used in Cargo are of course very important. These elements include setting, props, costume, figure behaviour and lighting. Costume in Cargo can help covey the meaning or message of the film in huge ways, including the zombie eyes and the zombie bite on the man’s arm. The bite is one of the most important parts of the costume for the story, as it tells what will obviously happens next. Also, the story seems more realistic because of the way the characters are dressed.
The first scene at the beginning of the film, the mother is wearing normal plain clothing as anyone would wear, but she is a zombie. This could get the audience thinking more realistically, by thinking it could happen to anybody. Another element that helps tell the story of Cargo is the setting. Since the setting is set in a NSW bush, it seems more isolated and there is no one else around him or near him. Figure behaviour can also be another important element used because it shows the characters fear and emotions through the story and helps define what the character is like.
For example, the mother as a zombie makes grunting noises, which makes the affect more realistic and eery, also how she dangles her arms out can be a big affect on zombie acting. The fourth element that can also convey the affect of the film is the lighting of the movie. Horror films are usually set at night time, but Cargo is set during the day, so it brings out a bigger type of effect on the horror genre. Finally, the most important element used in any filmmaking are the props. Without props, the film would be extremely boring and not understandable!
Important props in Cargo include the car as it shows that they had a terrible accident, the bag of meat to distract the father and the map to direct the baby to safety. These elements all take an important role into filmmaking. The camera techniques (S. H. A. M. P. ) used in Cargo also play an important role into filmmaking. Several scenes that identify this includes the opening scene, as there is a lot of blur, close ups and movement to show that things are dizzy for that while.
Also when he is writing the numbers and time on his arm with pen, it zooms up and angles it on the area so it shows vital information saying that he has 3 hours before turning into a zombie. Just before that, zooms up on the map also explain a big message on the film as it tells us that he is trying to find a safe area before hurting his child. And as he starts his journey, the camera angles continuously keep on changing angles and focus to explain he is in danger and needs to move fast and the isolation of the bush around him.
Camera techniques always take the main role in filmmaking. Cargo shows a well-constructed non-diegetic film by giving vital background information, camera angles, good costume, music and setting. It is a very intense short film as it has no dialogue and only sound affects. All of these aspects build up to making it a very successful film. Cargo conveys a message saying that there is always hope in the human spirit, even if it’s in an awful and disgracing situation.

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