Mississippi Burning Essay

1762 Words Jul 25th, 2013 8 Pages
“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” This quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel sums up how inconsiderate and cruel people can be, without processing how evil their actions and words are. Few of us seem to realise how crooked, how universal and how evil racism is. In the film ‘Mississippi Burning’ directed by Alan Parker we see the idea of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’, through racism, fear and corruption. Parker helps us understand the thoughtlessness and evilness of this idea, with the use of verbal and visual techniques such as dialogue, camera angle and shots,

After three Civil Rights workers, who were organizing a voter registry clinic, go missing in Mississippi's Jessup County, the FBI
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One of the men says, “We got two cultures down here, a white culture and a coloured culture, that’s the way it has been and that’s the way it will always be.” This reinforces that racism is taught to people and therefore makes people think that discrimination is what they need to do.

Another feature Parker uses to help aid the main idea is the camera angles and shots. Linked with the dialogue to help show racism, camera angles and shots shows us the idea of fear. This is seen via close ups and extreme close ups of people’s faces and their expressions. In the scene where the black man's house is blown up and engulfed in flames from the men driving past, we see him running out of the house, to a close up of his face. Fear had filled the young man and we could see it through his expressions on his face of total shock and disbelief. Another type of camera shot we see is a long/wide shot, in the scene where a black man is leaving the police station, after collecting something from Chief Stuckey and Clinton Pell. He then gets taken by the KKK as those two watch on. We can see the fear and the extra effort from the man running away from the KKK, even though we can’t see any facial expressions. Through this long/wide shot we can also see in the background the two policemen, not doing their jobs. This shot is important because it shows all three ideas. Racism, through the KKK

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