Cinema as a Door – Pulp Fiction
This is a film analysis blog post on “Cinema as a Door ”. I will be diving into greater detail of a frame or frames using media context.
I have chosen the Popular Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction’s narrative is told out of order, and shows three main character stories: Hitman Vincent Vega is the protagonist of the first story, Boxer Butch Coolidge is the protagonist of the second, and Hitman Vincent’s partner Jules Winnfield is the third.
The scene I am analysing the introduction of both Hitman Vincent and Jules heading to their aquired target while discussing domestics between their boss and the boss’s wife.
We enter the scene as an immobile and impartial audience looking over the shoulder of both hit man standing at a door waiting. from this alone we are being manipulated to believe that the door will open at some point by either them or the opposing force on the other side. But they don’t enter straight away, instead they wait and finish their discussion. we as the audience are trying to understand the situation to the best of our ability relying on their suits and discussion of their boss so we have already established that they are people not to be reckoned with. This isn’t the main analysis of first frame other than what we have before this frame occurs.
We as the audience are signalled to the direction they are facing which is the door, it is only until one of the hitman checks the time that they realise they are early and deviate from the door that we was so inclined to go through. We wait for both characters to transition off camera (screen right) with the door still frame only then to be manipulated and rotated away from that door following the two characters this is a good use of digest space as we are deviated from the main narrative of the scene which was to enter the door established at the start of the shot. We do not translate in terms of camera motion other than a rotation maintaining a connection as if we are still waiting at the door for them to enter with them.
We are then released from the camera manipulation to another immobile position facing both characters in a well lit hallway defining them even more which complements their silhouettes giving us clear imagery. We see both characters go through another door leading to a hallway and stopping in position finishing off their discussion. As the audience we are not completely drawn into both characters since we do not follow them every step of the way instead we are left idly by the other door which tells us that these characters are coming back towards us since we already established from the start of the shot where their start and finishing point is. This long shot has no cuts which benefits us a lot because if there were cuts that would break our connection and attention to these characters along with the establishment of where we are in the scene while also not breaking the 180* degree rule. As I said before we are fully aware of the entry and transitions due to the doors we have spotted within this shot giving us the anticipation of where the characters will move next.
After the discussion they break back into character of the hitman they are suppose to be and deviate yet again from their position coming back towards us only to pass us by yet again leaving us with the door looking into the lit hallway making us immobile once again not being able to follow them through every step of they way giving us an outside relation to this whole scene. Even though they are in the same building it still feels like they went from an interior world to an exterior world back to an interior one.
Quentin does a really good job at using liminal space in this scene with this little moment between these two characters as both protagonists are in a period of waiting and one of them in particular Jules has a subtle change of belief when the discussion ends agreeing with Vincent where as at the start of the shot Jules’s beliefs were the opposite. No editing is required to push the story further, this one take, along with the rotation was enough to make us fully aware of the transition and direction these characters will take due to the two doors shown in this scene.
Canceriansoul (2011) Pulp fiction – ‘foot massage’. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCO-SBPTF5E (Accessed: 6 December 2016).