Lord Of The Flies: Compare the openings of the two films

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The opening of the movie is very different to the American version. Peter Brook used still images and makes them appear to move. This approach to an opening of a film is very different to normal. I think that because it is different it makes the opening immediately quite effective. Also, the use of black and white makes the opening quite striking. Again, this makes it effective. Although, the film is quite old fashioned, the simplicity of the opening grabs the viewer’s attention.

The film begins with the ringing of a bell and a picture of an old building, which we then associate with a school building; because the next picture we see, is a portrait of schoolboys and schoolmasters. As the bell rings for the last time, the picture changes to another, of a classroom, with the sound of a man speaking Latin, whom we assume to be a schoolteacher. This is successful we immediately realize that the film is going to be about school children, and having read the book the viewer get the sense that Peter Brook has followed the book quite carefully while producing the film.

This becomes more and more apparent as we watch the rest of the opening. It then cuts to a picture of a canteen with the sounds of children talking. Both of these stills create an image of everything going on as usual. The camera then pans upwards, as choir singing starts and the camera eventually reaches a window, which lets in the light. This mixture of the lit up window and the angelic singing gives the feeling of holiness. Here, I think Peter Brook was trying to create the sense of the film being about different types of boys; the choir boys and the regular school boys.

The next still we see is a picture of a choir, and because of the music being played, the singing, we imagine the boys in the picture to be singing the praises to God. The music in the background is a response, called Kyrie Eleison, which is Greek for Lord have mercy. It is quite peculiar that Peter Brook uses this particular hymn in the opening of the movie because it was a phrase that was used during various forms of Pagan worship. The use of this particular response shows the awful contradiction, because the choirboys, who had a religious education, became the hunters, murderers and atavistic.

Kyrie Eleison means “Lord have mercy” and this is also a contradiction to what happens later in the film because the choir don’t demonstrate any mercy towards their fellow survivors. The next picture we see is a picture of a cricket match and spectators along with the sounds of clapping. This shows the normality of the time and adds to the feeling of safeness. It doesn’t show any danger or destruction that is shown in the later stills. However, a drum beat begins, slowly and quietly at first but then very quickly increases in temp and amplitude.

Along with this drum beat, the still swap slowly to begins with and then quicker between the still of the cricket match and a still of large weapons. This creates the feeling of war slowly disrupting everyday life and then taking over completely. Another sequence of the opening also creates this feeling. This is when we see a still of Big Ben, and then the camera pans to the left to show that there are fighter planes in the same picture. The still of Big Ben could be foreshadowing what is going to take place later in the story.

Big Ben is a symbol of democracy; which is what the boys on the island try to start out with, but then end up destroying whatever democracy they had. The still of the cricket match is a contrast with what happens later in the story and the war still it gets replaced with. A cricket match is a game with rules and this is a contrast to the later story because the boys start out by having rules, like in a cricket match, but then end up loosing them, just like war, which has no rules.

The pictures of war also signify an activity without rules, quite the opposite to cricket. Another still we see in the opening is a group of boys smiling and looking cheerful; this is a contradiction to the later events, like the crash and the unhappiness of the boys on the island. The camera then zooms in to a picture of a plane that one of the boys is holding. This could suggest that the happiness they have at the time is connected with going on a plane, and this is also a contradiction to events that take place later.

The next still we see is a of a passenger plane, with the rolling of a snare drum in the background. As the camera pans to the left we see another still of a passenger plane with fighter planes following it. Both, the formation of the planes and the snare drum suggest an influence of the army, which could suggest that the crash of the plane was caused by an act of war, and not lighting that is later suggested. The still of the plane’s wing and the bolt of lighting shows that there was a storm, but from earlier signs we assume that it signifies something war like.

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