The film industry has been one marked with numerous evolutions dating from as early back as the seventeenth century. Major improvements in motion picture filming have since been made. This is as seen from the zoopraxiscope era to the most recent sound on film technology. With the innovations in motion picture production, came diversification of cinematography and film genres in general. Classic examples of film diversity in modern day cinematography can be observed from the movies ‘Amelie’ (2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ (2002) by Alfonso Cuaron. Both films exhibit different modes of filming, visual effects, and film structures to name a few.
The films ‘Amelie’(2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’(2002) by Alfonso Cuaron, exhibit different plots, visual effects, film structures and thematic concerns among many dissimilarities. ‘Amelie’ is a French romantic comedy that narrates the life of a young woman, Amelie, who seeks to bring happiness to those around her by performing random acts of kindness. Socially isolated by a tragic childhood of loss and loneliness, Amelie breaks through it all with a positive attitude winning the hearts of many. She seeks to brighten up the lives of others and in the end finds happiness for herself in Nino, with whom she falls in love with. ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ (2002) by Alfonso Cuaron is a road film that explores the political, cultural and social setting of twenty-first century Mexico. The film features two teenage boys, Julio and Tenoch who take a road trip to a beach named Boca del Cielo accompanied by Luisa, an attractive older woman who is also married. Luisa is contemplating divorce from her unfaithful husband, a cause for her emotional instability and unhappiness. The film bluntly explores the themes of teenage sex and drug abuse. At its release, ‘Y tu mama Tambien’ enjoyed both accolades from enthusiasts and criticism from reviewers especially due to its explicit content.
One of the key distinctions in ‘Amelie’ and ‘Y Tu mama Tambien’ is the visual effects employed by both directors. In ‘Amelie,’ Jeunet uses selective coloring techniques, adding emphasis to the shades red and green, excluding the frequent use of primary color blue. This gives the film a warmer atmosphere. A combination of the two color shades mimics the Technicolor two-strip process of the 1920s. In addition, the angles and speeds at which the cameras are set during the casting of ‘Amelie’ are specific and precise. Jeunet experiments the use of lenses with wide angles for the shoot, coupled with frequent camera movements. Every character in the film enjoys customized shooting that is characterized by choice of specific cameras to suit each actor’s physique. In ‘Y Tu mama Tambien,’ the visuals drastically shift from those observed in Amelie. Cuaron does not employ the use of red and green coloring effects; neither does he experiment with the classic movie filming as seen in most Hollywood films. Cuaron instead shifts to a documentary style filming, characterized by the use of a handheld camera and a flexible plot that is subject to modifications throughout the film’s course. “Y Tu Mama Tambien’s” production is characterized by the minimal use of props and increased improvising. One exceptional visual effect in Cuaron’s film is his skillful application of the ‘long take’ shot, as examined by V. Renee in the blog “nofilmschool.” This shot entails focusing the camera on a particular scene for a period longer than usual, allowing the audience to read more into the characters, their personalities and the film’s plot.
The film ‘Amelie’ is one among many that embrace the use of the ‘three act structure.’ The onset of the film gives the audience a better understanding of the proceeding scenes and the plot. It narrates Amelie’s sad childhood and its overall impact on her personality gradually introducing the audiences to her waiting tables at a café for a living. The film’s point of incitement is then introduced when she encounters a box of childhood valuables carefully hidden under her floor tiles. This triggers Amelie’s interest in tracing the owner of the box in a bid to bring him cheer and contentment. As a result, a series of good deeds ensues. Afterward, the plot reaches a predicament where Amelie is led to believe Nino, a man she is interested in is having an affair with Gina, her colleague. The climax of the film is then observed when Amelie finally finds happiness for herself by embracing her love encounter with Nino. In ‘Y Tu mama Tambien,’ the film structure though clearly defined, does not imitate the precise ‘three act structure’ of ‘Amelie.’ It instead comprises of various sets of scenes, from the onset where we are introduced to Julio and Tenoch, to the introduction of Luisa, fast forwarding to the trio’s arrival at Boca del Cielo, and finally, the film’s ending where the narrator describes each’s life after their encounter.
The two films differ most importantly about their thematic concerns. The audiences attracted in either film are completely different, one comprising of generalized public viewing, while the other being restricted to adult screening. While ‘Y Tu mama Tambien’ explores the explicit nature of underage sex, impulsive behavior, and drug abuse, Amelie evokes its audiences’ conscience through its emphasis on the quest for good and the selfless act of bringing happiness and fulfillment to others.
The shooting of the films in foreign languages, hence giving rise to the need for subtitles or translations can be viewed as a general similarity between the two. This is done in a bid to open up the localities of the characters in question, in this case, Paris, and Mexico, to the international arena for such reasons as basic advertising.
Variations in cinematography and film composition have over the years brought to light the diverse nature of filming as an art. Different modes of film production continue to be utilized in the selling of diverse cultures, socio-economic, and political stance of a given people. These variations act as a form of tourism in the film industry, fostering social interactions, dissemination of knowledge, and innovation.