Lighting and Themes in 127 Hours Essay

1075 Words Jan 28th, 2012 5 Pages
There are plenty of films based on a true story and various ways to use lighting as a part of Mise en Scéne to make all of those films seem more realistic or in sometimes unrealistic whichever is the director’s and cinematographer’s take on the story. Danny Boyle’s take on Aron Ralston’s true story of cutting his arm off to live has been to make it as realistic as it possibly can be. The film was shot on and off set, mostly in constructed set of the canyon where Aron Ralston, portrayed by James Franco, was trapped with his arm pinned between a large boulder and the canyon wall. The scene of which lighting and themes this essay will discuss about starts from the point where James Franco’s character has just freed himself and starts running …show more content…
One can see the sunlight, which the character has gotten 15 minutes each morning, as a glimpse of hope, representing freedom and also life itself. The lighting plays really important part in the film as a reflector of character’s emotions.
In the shot where Franco’s character runs through the canyon and gets out, the light brightens to extreme, through cinematographic manipulation, and fills the whole image leaving only parts of character’s bag visible. It reflects the freedom and also the relieved state of mind the character is in but it also expresses the blinding effect that bright sunlight has for person’s eyes when moving from dark to light. After the blinding brightness the lighting fades back to a realistic state, as character’s eyes adjust to it. The real sunlight is the main source of lighting for the rest of the scene while the character goes down from the cliff. Available light, which is from the sun, can be soft or hard. It is entirely depending on what time of day and year it is, from what angle the sun is shining, the amount of clouds and where you are geographically (Pramaggiore and Wallis 2011, p. 110). Usually filmmakers complement available light with artificial light sources to gain more control over the lighting (Pramaggiore and Wallis 2011, p. 111). Also in 127 Hours artificial light is used to soften shadows or to eliminate shadows on character’s face.
The shot that is taken from above after character takes his cap off and stares at the sky

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