EXTENDED RESOPONSE John Doyle’s Changi episodes are about the struggle of the Australian prisoners of war. The series mainly focuses on six young Australian men giving an insight of each character’s deepest struggle within the camp. There are many themes evident within the episodes, Seeing is believing, Curley, Private Bill and Pacifying the angels. Some of which include power and atrocities of war. These themes are also apparent throughout Edward Zwick’s 2006 film ‘Blood Diamond’, which is about a country torn apart by the struggle of the government and rebel forces.
According to the Macquarie dictionary, the term Power is defined as possession of controlling influence that a person or object holds over someone or something. The theme atrocities of war can be defined as the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane as an effect of war. Within each episode techniques are used to accentuate these themes such as dialogue, descriptive language, zooming, cross cutting, sound effects and camera angles. The theme of Power has been expertly utilised within John Doyle’s Changi episode ‘Seeing is believing’.
Within the episode, power is demonstrated through the Japanese people. In a particular scene a Japanese Lieutenant is shown standing on a pedestal stating the rules of the camp to the POW’s. The Japanese Lieutenant states, “Any man who tries to leave will die, any man who steals food from the Chinese will die, any man who makes trade will die! ” Power is portrayed through this quotation by the use of descriptive language, also the positioning of the Lieutenant in comparison to the POW’s signifies that he is in a higher position.
Whilst the Japanese Lieutenant states the rules, the camera focuses on a close up shot on his face which remains dominant and strong, the camera then cross cuts to a close up of the POW’s who look afraid and weak. The use of this technique emphasises the superiority the Japanese people contain over the POW’s. Power is also demonstrated through the Japanese within the episode ‘Curley’. Within this episode, Curley is severely punished by the Japanese Lieutenants and sent into solitary confinement due to stealing a can of food.
The camera focuses on a mid shot of Curley semi naked and covered in mud to emphasise the fact that Curley was being treated inhumanely. This enables the audience to visualise the extreme power the Japanese held to be able to freely keep a human in that condition. The theme of power has also been efficaciously demonstrated within Edward Zwick’s film, ‘Blood diamond’. Within a particular scene of the film, the R. U. F (Rebel group) is shown invading the village of Cierra Leone, capturing innocent men and amputating off their limbs in order to discourage them from voting in the upcoming elections.
As the R. U. F invade the village, dark ominous music is played to suggest that something bad is soon to occur. Whilst the R. U. F amputates the limbs of the innocent villagers, the camera focuses on a close up shot of their face which then cross cuts to a close up shot of the villagers as well as their limbs being amputated. The techniques associated within this particular scene are deliberately used to emphasise the power the R. U. F enhold.
The theme of the atrocities of war has been efficaciously proven within John Doyle’s episodes, ‘Private Bill’ and ‘Pacifying the angels’. Within the episode ‘Private Bill’ atrocities of war is displayed through the actions of the Japanese towards the POW’s. In a particular scene, Captain Tanaka visits the Changi camp to inspect the troops. Captain Tanaka singles out Lofty Morgan an Australian POW, with gun in hand he forces him to run across the premises within 5 seconds. Tanaka then shoots Lofty in the head as he failed to succeed.
The camera is positioned in a bird’s eye view, portraying deceased Lofty, the rest of the POW’s surrounding him and the Japanese commanders walking away. This specific technique is used to allow the audience to witness the atrocity of war the Japanese commander just performed on Lofty Morgan. Similarly this theme is articulated within the episode ‘Pacifying the angles’. Within this episode, the Japanese men lose control after their defeat in the war, therefore resulting in their anger being released through a massacre on the POW’s.
The technique of a bird’s eye view is used to illustrate the atrocity of war the Japanese people performed on the POW’s. The theme of the atrocities of war is also performed within Edward Zwick’s 2006 film ‘blood diamond’. Within a specific scene the R. U. F is shown teaching young kid’s to kill those who do not respect them. This is evident through the quotation aimed to the children, “shed their blood”. The use of descriptive language within the previous statement accentuates the atrocity of war that is being brought upon the children. The cene turns into a massacre which is viewed through a bird’s eye view, also to accentuate the atrocity of war that is being performed on the innocent villagers. In culmination it is evident that the themes of power and atrocities of war have been efficaciously embodied throughout John Doyle’s Changi miniseries as well as Edward Zwick’s film Blood Diamond. The theme of power is evident within the episodes, ‘Seeing is believing’, ‘Curley’ and the film ‘Blood diamond’, as the Japanese and the R. U. F prove their superiority through various situations.
Similarly the theme of the atrocities of war is also evident within the Changi episodes, ‘Private Bill’ and ‘Pacifying the angels’ as well as Zwick’s film, as the R. U. F and the Japanese clearly perform brutal acts upon innocent people as a result of war. Overall it is evident that each theme utilised within John Doyle’s Changi miniseries as well as Edward Zwick’s film ‘Blood diamond’ has been effectively supported through the techniques, dialogue, descriptive language, zooming, cross cutting, sound effects and camera angles.