Analysis Of Elephant By Gus Van Sant

2017 Words 9 Pages
Director Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant” is a docudrama thus, the events in the film are based on the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado, United States. A docudrama also known as documentary drama is a genre which contains dramatized re-enactments of an actual event. In the case of Elephant, Van Sant bases the story line for the film on the events that occurred that day at Columbine High in 1999. However what distinguishes Van Sant’s film from a documentary is the fact that he switches up the characters involved, not following exactly what happened in hours, minutes leading up to the school shooting. Because this is an ‘indie’ film there is director allows the audience to discover the ‘found story.’ Van Sant does not attempt to provide answers …show more content…
For example before the shooting in Elephant there is a scene where the two shooters Eric and Alex are travelling together in a car on the way to Columbine High School. However in the actual event the two shooters drove in separate cars, meeting each other at the school. Van Sant changed this slightly because the two boys traveling to the school together shows the unity between them, conveying the message about how someone, in particular teenagers, can be ‘peer pressured’ into doing something that would otherwise be irrational. The film Elephant follows several students through their what appears to be a normal day at school. To do this Van Sant use the technique of tracking various students as they move around the school. Tracking from the behind allows the audience to see the day from the students perspective, and the long takes, some up to 2 minutes reinforce the ordinariness of the day. Although these conversations and interactions were not exactly what happened, Van Sant wanted to show as close to reality what is like for teenagers at high school. Often to increase the realism of the film Van Sant got the actors to adlib, there was not a concrete script during some of the student’s interactions. Van Sant’s purpose for the film was to capture the unpredictability of these events. Conveying to the audience that any teenager has a valid reason, trigger in their …show more content…
The news of the Columbine massacre sent shock waves all across America, particularly in high schools. Inadvertently the media sensationalised the killings. With an absence of answers to the public 's questions, in relation to the Columbine shooting, the media scrambled to find information, in order to determine why it happened. By gathering peoples, specifically students, accounts and police reports the media unintentionally developed a stereotypical high school shooting scenario. Where in which the two teenage boys were portrayed as goth-obsessed, victims of bullying, and loners in the eyes of the media. Not until long after the event occurred, as a result of further investigation were these stereotypes of the two boys were found to be untrue. However due to the imbedded stereotype of the two school shooters, the image that was created by the media is still associated with them to this day as it fits the profile of an outcast loner, school shooter. As the majority of the public rely on the media as a source of news, this strengthened this stereotype for ‘typical’ high school shooters. This caused moral panic within society, especially in schools, as there was a fear that others would follow in the footsteps of the two boys and in turn become

Related Documents