Do The Right Thing
Sound can affect an audience’s response to a film and Spike Lee does this particularly well in the 2nd half of the penultimate scene to enforce and reflect the mood of the crowd. Mise en scene in this scene shows hidden meaning which plays on the audiences sub conscious. I will now analyze this scene in detail and identify where this is done. Costumes are used to keep the theme of heat going throughout the scene. The costumes of the crowd are colors like orange, red and yellow. These are used to express the on going theme of heat throughout the film.
This helps the audience understand the feeling that tension is being built up which is symbolized by the heat. Also colours of costumes show visually themes and social issues we meet throughout the movie. The use of costumes uses the audience sub conscious and the common belief that white represents good and black means bad. When Da mayor tries to save Sal’s pizzeria from the crowd he is wearing white which symbolizes hope for the Italians. Mookie is also wearing white and he sparks off the riot this can be seen as hope for the crowd.
Mookie’s top is also from Sal’s which shows a strong form of irony by how he doesn’t respect Sal anymore. Pino who is a racist is wearing black; this could be interpreted as an insult to the black people of the community. His brother Vito is wearing white and is not a racist and wants to be accepted. Their choice of clothes is ironic as they are wearing what does not represent what race they would like to be. Lighting is used for the audience to identify from the old and the new parts of the town. The di?? cor shows all houses in dark, rusty reds and browns.
This helps to bring out the theme of heat as the sun shines on them. Neon lights on the pizzerias make it stand out from the rest of the shops. This may show they are out of town and makes them more isolated. The Koreans shop over the road is very bright and modern and this makes them not a large part of the community. Using Lighting we are able to make clear distinctions from people alien to the town. This can be seen later in the scene as the Korean male grabs his wife away from the riot. This shows that he doesn’t wish them to be part of that community.
The audience can view this scene as that the white people don’t want to be part of the black community and that’s why the black people attack sal’s at the end. This shows the audience that even other outsiders aren’t going to help the Italians against there fight with the community. The use of background is used to generate audience response by placement and colour. The houses have railing leading up to them which shows the people are insecure about the people around them and themselves. These railing are black as if the community have to keep asserting themselves of they race.
Spike Lee is able to use this example of mise en scene to help messages throughout the film be seen visually. This is shown when Da Mayor leads Sal, Vito and Pino, away from the riot and destruction of their restaurant and into the front garden of one of the houses. The camera zooms in on the black railings, and then retreats as the three Italians are being shut inside the yard. This is showing the audience that Da Mayor is separating them from the other people, which is because of the colour of their skin.
By using mise en scene Spike lee is able to get the audience to see how throughout the film there are references to community. This is a key aspect of the film as it’s the town who attack sal’s and not just a select group. The fact that houses are so close together helps to show the close community and how they lean on each other for support. This theme of community goes on throughout the film. During the scene the riot is happening in and outside Sal’s. The street outside Sal’s is warm, which symbolizes welcome ness, with the fire and the sun and inside sal’s is air conditioned which is cold and un welcoming.
Mise en scene is used to show security and danger in this scene. In Sal’s he is able to stand behind a bar this use of mise en scene show the audience he feels protected. When the scene develops and moves outside there is nothing for Sal to hide behind there is an empty space in front of him. The scene happens outside sal’s and for a small portion inside. A possible reason for this could be that no one wants to go inside and be remembered as helping Sal, this shows the audience that the rioters rely on each other and none of them want to be separated from the security of the group.
This could be seen when a young child shouts “fight fight” one they are outside and it’s available to the whole community. When they are outside Sal loses any hope of not having the community ganging up against him. Sal’s is over the road from the Koreans which symbolizes even they are both not from the community they have moved here, This is to signify that as these two businesses are not owned by black people, they are grouped into one area of the neighborhood, the rioters see them as different this can be seen when it looks like the black residents are going to destroy the Koreans shop but don’t.
Sound plays a role through the whole scene of helping to keep the riot following. It is able to show how people view each other. The diegetic shouts of the crowd are going on throughout the whole riot which helps to show their anger. The start of the scene shows the community voicing their opinions about the death of Radio Raheem. When they talk they wait for one another to speak showing that they are linked as a community and want to show respect for one and another. In this case the sound is used to show the lack of respect and the hatred felt towards Sal.
What they are saying shows how much they are building up hatred aimed the people who did this to radio Raheem such as “Murder just like Micheal Stuart” their anger from other racist incidents is coming up. “Dam its not even safe in out own neighborhood” all of this should be aimed at the police but as they are gone it’s aimed at the Italians, who are the only white people left. Sound is used to keep the auidince to understand the idea of tension and help them feel involved as they grow quiet. The continued shouting helps to add to the idea of tension being built up and that a spark could set the situation off.
They have no respect for Da Mayor or the Italians as they don’t wait for them to finish speaking as they do for each other. This lack of respect helps to show the audience that they are not going hesitate on reacting to the death of Radio Raheem Once the riot starts a lot of sounds start to come out. The trigger of the riot is mookie throwing the trash can. He does this very calmly and this character movement helps the audience to understand how Mookie is feeling, it shows us that he isn’t regretting what he is going to do; he is focused on his task.
When he does this he shouts “hate” which relates to dead Radio Raheem and his earlier speech about love and hate. Later when the hose is about to be used the policeman says “please return home” Mookie then gives a meaningful reply and maybe some justification to the audience for what they have done when he says “This is our home” This use of sound by mother sisters shows the feel of the riot clearly to the audience as a way of releasing feeling about racial discrimination. It also plays on the sentimental side as Da mayor comes to the rescue of Mother Sister as he stops her from acting in a state of mind she would regret.
The whole feel of the riot is created by all the quick moving colors and the sounds of breaking shouts of terror and hatred. Mother Sister Shows this by being caught up in the riot and begins to change “Burn it down, Burn it down” She is jumping in the air and waving her fists showing the audience she is willing to use violence. She later regrets this when she begins to shout “no, no… ” Her body language shows the audience that she is surrendering herself to the crowd, as she throws her hand up into the air.
When Da Mayor comes and comforts her it’s as if he is saving her from being overcome by the riot. The Italians express their mixed feeling shown by each different character through the use of sound. Sal’s Shouts of disbelief about what’s happening shows the audience how unaware he is about how the community feels about him. When he was confronted before Mookie throws the trash can he says “you got to do what you got to do. ” This suggests that he doesn’t regret what he did. This sparks of a lot of anger and resentment within the crown aimed at Sal.
Once the riot is in full swing Pino says “fucking niggers,” this shows the underlying feeling of the Italians; he says it under his breath which shows his fear of the community. A reason for not having large amounts of non diegetic sound in this sequence is so the audience feels as if they are part of the riot, and they are seeing and hearing what both groups of people are feeling. At the very end of the scene the song “fight the power” starts up again as Smiley is walking through the remains of Sal’s.
This is to show that the sprit of Radio Raheem lives on and he died for a cause because the scene ends with Smiley putting a picture of leading black figures on the wall. The song “Fight the Power” has been Radio Raheem; theme throughout the film; its lyrics are about fighting the oppression the black people have suffered at the hands of white people. This song playing shows that even though Radio Raheem is dead the community has risen up against oppression and brought a sense of Justice to his death. The mood of this scene is based around the riot and tension of the day being released on the Italians as they are not black.
The use of white costumes to show hope for the community in Mookie and Da Mayor for the Italians, helps the audience to understand there is no good and evil, it’s how you interpret each person’s problems. The use of speech showing how the community has no respect for the Italians shows the audience how hard it would be for the Italians to get a word in and how they aren’t respected. One sentence or one word are chosen well and give meaning and show the underlying emotion of the community. With the ending playing “fight the Power” it sparks of a lot of questions and emotions for the audience.