3 – A Tale of Two Textual Analysis Sections

This is the first textual analysis post I have written and I was shown the following clip starting from 5:51

In the lesson we saw an extract of A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim, Jee-Woon,2004) which depicts a woman alone in a dining room and kitchen who starts to hear unexplained noises and goes to investigate. She then see’s a ghostly image of a girl which then disappears and sees a hair clip appear from nowhere and when reaching to pick it up is grabbed suddenly by a dead arm. She then panics and turns around to see the ghost is right behind her.

To begin I have looked at the camera work in the scene and why certain choices have been made to create an effect on the audience.

The first shot of the scene is an establishing shot at mid-length away from the characters and shows a woman and a man. The man then leaves the room and the shot lingers for an extra couple of seconds which lets the audience know the man is not coming back and the woman is on her own. It also shows the setting as being a dining room.

This shot is followed by a tilted camera angle from behind the table looking up towards the woman. The table is out of focus so the focus is clearly on the woman. From what is seen later on in the scene where a ghost appears in a similar position within the room this could be a point of view shot as the camera is at a weird height and this is a hint at what is to come later. While in this shot the woman hears some noises from the kitchen area and looks towards where the noise has come from alerting the audience to the origin of the sound, in a sense this also makes it a reaction shot.

The next shot is done over the shoulder of the woman and shows the kitchen sink unit she is looking at and slowly tracks towards her. Yet again she is in focus and the background is out of focus, even though the background is where the majority of the movement in the shot is happening. This is done probably to give more attention to the subtle movements that the woman is making in fear of what is happening at the kitchen sink. The tracking towards her shoulder could create more tension as it feels like something is creeping towards her, also it is getting closer to what she is looking at.

There is then a reaction shot of the woman which is a mid shot showing her looking quite scared. This shot the follows her as she walks towards the sink, this was probably achieved with a hand held camera.

A close up of the kitchen sink establishes the sink which is in full focus this time. The woman then enters the shot which means there is not a cut which reduces the awareness of the audience that this is a film which may make them feel more scared.

Again this shot is followed by a reaction shot as the woman has opened the sink and found nothing and she is shown to be relieved.

The rest of the scene follows this pattern. There is an establishing shot of an area, she looks at the area, there is seen to be nothing to be worried of and then a reaction shot shows her relief. Until the end where she goes to pick up a hair pin in a hand held shot which follows her hand down to the pin and the the hand grabs her. Many shots are shown in quick succession which exaggerates the character’s panic.

The soundwork includes using exaggerated breathing from the woman to show she is scared and small noises and creaks which could not have been made by the woman and indicate something else is in the room with the woman without even showing anything. All these sounds are more apparent as there is complete silence between them which helps the audience to jump when there is a sudden loud noise. There also unnatural sounds which build up which make the viewer feel unsettled and represent the unnaturalness of the ghost that is haunting the woman throughout the scene.