Across the Universe – 1
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Julie Taymore In the film Across The Universe by Julie Taymore the director uses many visual techniques that revel the way in which the characters have changed thought out the duration of the film. The characters that have changed the most and who the war affected the most are Max (who fought on the front line) and Paco (who was a protester in NY). When we are first introduced to Paco he is leading a peaceful protest, using his voice as a tool to convey his message.
Though a short the war has changed him into a person who forces their beliefs on others though violence. The director uses Paco costume to tell us about his feelings. In the scene ‘Revelation’ Paco is wearing a Khaki Jacket. He looks like a solider. This is telling us that Paco is a more destructive person; we can see the violence in his in his clothes. He is portrayed as a solider like figure. The director also uses colour to show emotion and gives us an insight to the character.
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When Paco comes out of the room with the walls painted red portrays the idea of death, blood and destruction. This expresses the idea Paco wants peace though any means including violence. This shows some kind of desperation coming from Paco cause he wants the war to end. In the scene ‘Revelation’ the director uses a lot of symbolism to convey ideas about Paco and how he has changed. The big fist on the wall signifies power and violence, and the fist holding a peace sign signifies getting peace though violence which is what Paco is thinking.
The director also referees to Chairman Mao , we see a big picture of him hung up on the wall. This is telling us that Paco want s violent change. He also has this guy next to him that looks like a Black Panther member, seeing he is associating with people like that is telling us Paco is changed into a more radical person. Throughout a short time the war has changed how Paco thinks and acts the director shows us this this helps us understand Paco better because we see his surrounding affect him immensely we feel that Paco is weak.
Max is also a character who changes a lot throughout the movie. When we are first introduced to Max we see he is a great example to a non-conformist person we see this by the way he dresses and acts (not studying like others at college, drinking instead) But being in Vietnam has changed Max into a more keep to himself kind of person. In the scene ‘I Want You ‘ the director uses costume to give us an idea about the character. When the soldiers are striping away Maxs clothes the director is portraying the idea of his identity being stripped away.
The soldiers have taken away who he is and has lifed him vulnerable. The director also uses movement to portray the way that the government controls Max and other men who re forced to go. In the scene ‘I Want You’ we see a soilder dancing with Max. This is showing us the government controlling Maxs like a puppet, leading in the dance the and turning him in to and solider. The soldiers are also demonstrating what they need to be changed into. Max has lost his identity to the government playing as there doll.
In the scene ‘I Want You’ the director also uses camera shots to create an atmosphere/feeling about the character or setting. The director uses a high angle shot on Uncle Sam so he looks big and intimidating. When he sings “I want you “he is portraying the government. They want Max for the army. This shows the control that they have over Max. When we see Max getting his Medical Check the director shows Maxs body parts in boxes it further strips down Maxs identity and controls him. This shows him being taken apart and putting him back together as a solider.
This shows us he is merely a product of the factory. At the end of the scene Max is wrapped up with a stamp saying 1A showing he a product of the factory meaning he has lost his identity and is a solider. In the film Across the Universe by Julie Taymore the director has shown though many visual techniques the way in which Max and Paco has changed thought the duration of the film to hep us better understand the characters. We see though out this film that the war has impacted both Max and Paco in different way in different points of views.