1.Wheredo filmmaking techniques suggest or reinforce implicit meanings?
Thereare various film making techniques unique to individual directors.The techniques may also be determined by technology available andtechnology used and also the intended audience. These techniques canbe used to reinforce or suggest an implicit message and meaning tothe audience. In “vexation island”, an aerial shot technique isused to contextualize and place the island in its environment and atthe same time show the peripheral shadow of hills in the backgroundto convey an implicit message of close by mainland. Ideally, thetechniques are used to guide the audience into an intended reactionthough the reaction may vary from one individual to another (Donald &Renov 2008). In other cases the filmmaking techniques may be employedto create a certain type of reality. This reality can sometimesescape the audience. In “Vexation Island”, the no- word elementis likely to escape audiences. With the title of the film suggestingan annoying island, it is not clear to whom the island is supposed toannoy the one character in the film or the audience.
2.What implicit meanings does the narrative itself suggest?
Thewine casks in the film convey an implicit meaning of alcoholism onthe part of the protagonist. By contextualizing this island close tothe hilly mainland indicates clearly that the man is not far awayfrom the mainland. He actively made a choice to be in the island withhis beloved alcohol and parrot. The injury on his forehead is alsonot an accident but rather out of intoxication assuming that he hadstumbled. Again the fact that he is sleeping and using a smaller winecask as a pillow suggests the man close relationship with alcohol. Heholds it close to his heart which implies he is a drunkard. Suchimplicit meanings require the audience to actively engage theircognitive skills and identify the wine casks. However, those notexposed to wine casks may miss their implicit meaning (Jacobs n.d.).In any other case, other items that would have been used would havealtered the implicit message entirely.
Anotherinstance of implicit meaning is evident through the coconut tree. Inthe midst of the loneliness and seclusion of the island, there ishope in the coconut tree. The man relies on this tree for shade fromthe blazing sun. It is also clear that the man is in a bad shape asindicated by his very obvious injury on the forehead. When he wakesup, his attention is drawn to the coconut tree which has a few ofthem. The implicit meaning implied here is that all that glitters isnot gold or the cowl does not make the monk. How is this so? As thefilm progresses, the lone man in the film is relaxing under the shadeof coconut tree. To him, this implies that the tree is a nice refuge.It has to offer other good things just because it can provide ashade. With such reasoning, he shakes the tree to get a coconut.However, the coconut turns out not to be his nourishment but amissile that knocks him out and sends him tumbling down. He is notaware of this risk of lying down a coconut tree or shaking one forthat matter without taking necessary precautions.
3.If the film has universal meanings what are they?
Parrotsare good pets is a universal meaning in the film. This is clear inthe manner that the parrot sticks by his “sleeping master” who isalso injured. The film even manages to capture the worry in theparrot through a close up shoot of his eyes. The parrot also squawksin attempts to wake the master. This parrot had options to scavengefor food from nearby bushes but chooses to keep an eye on his injuredmaster. When the man wakes up, the parrot is apparently aware of theman needs in terms of food. The parrot gestures with his wings to thecoconuts up the tree. Again, when the man collapses as a result ofthe knock from the coconut, one can see the worry on the parrot’slooks as he is clearly concerned about his master. Nonetheless, itmust be acknowledged that such meaning only holds meaning to certaincommunities. Different communities have different views on pets suchas parrots.
4.What fantasies does film embody? Does the film blend the elements ofrealism or fantasy? If so, please explain.
Thefilm embodies one major element of fantasy of being trapped in anisland. This is a common situation where individuals picturethemselves on the best way that they can survive or even run awayfrom the world to live on an island on their own. From an aerial shotof the island and from other senses that capture the background, itis clear that the island lies very close to the mainland. The man inthe film is trying to live his fantasy. The wine barrel incombination with his injury suggests that the man is drunkard tryingto live his fantasy in an island of his won with his pet parrot.However, this fantasy is not largely represented in the film meaningthat it can easily escape the audience. This is clear in Cumming(2002) who writes that “A shipwrecked sailor in seventeenth-centuryclothes lies unconscious beneath a coconut palm.” To her the filmis about a wrecked ship yet there is no indication of a shipwreck.Again, she ignores the background hills in the film hinting abut themainland.
5.If you know the conditions that were prevalent at the time and placethe film was made, do you detect any symptomatic meanings in thefilm? If so, explain
Thefilm has minimal symptomatic meanings. The only hint provided in thefilm of the existing conditions then is the man’s dress code andhis hairstyle which could probably be from 17thor 18thcentury. However, there is no evidence to link the existingconditions to shape the character of the protagonist. Obviously adrunk, it is not clear why he is a drunk. Additionally, the naming ofthe short film as “vexation island” provides no links to hint atany existing conditions that would have triggered vexation on part ofthe character. However, the main reason why many people at first tendto think that the protagonist is a stranded sailor is his dress codeindicative of a time 2-4 centuries ago. During that time, sailing wasvery popular during the exploration period and shipwrecks were commondue to poor navigation technology.
6.What critic approach (es) might be used to analyze the film?
Vexationisland is best approached through a Sociological-Ideological Analysisapproach. This will help place meaning behind the naming of the filmand behavior of the character. Modern knowledge informs thatalcoholism can be triggered by social and cultural pressures of justlife’s frustrations. In this case, this critical approach will seekto assess the possible social events of that time that could have ledto the protagonist way of life and his choice of a fantasy lifestyleof living in an island in isolation from the rest of the world(Nelmes 2012). The second possible approach is the auteur approachwhich assesses the creative side of the director. One thing thatstands about this film is that there are no spoken words, the use ofa single character and the repetitiveness of the film. It isnecessary to understand and try to pick the director by perceivingthe film as his unique piece of art.
Cumming,L. (29.09.2002). Watch carefully…TheGuardian.Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2002/sep/29/1
Donald,J. & Renov, M. (2008). TheSAGE Handbook of Film Studies.New York:Sage.
Jacobs,C. (n.d.). Filmtheory and approaches to criticism, or, what did that movie mean?
NelmesJ. (2012). Introductionto film studies.New York: Routledge.
Rodney,G. Vexation island.