How I defined film terms with eating disorders, depression, and a Broadway musical

Subjective Camera

According to Bernard Dick, “a subjective shot represents what the character sees.” (Dick 56) This is often used to take us to the character’s state of mind and more accurately understand what their perspective is. In Glee season four, the character Marley Rose is struggling with an eating disorder. The New Directions are about to compete at Sectionals, and in addition to the stress and pressure of performing, Marley hasn’t been eating or sleeping well all week.  Towards the end of their performance of Gangnam Style, we start to see use of subjective camera. We switch between shots of Marley looking distressed and her perspective, which is blurred and spinning. At the end of the number, she faints.

I think the directors would choose to use this view to put a full emphasis on just how drastic Marley’s eating disorder has gotten. Up until this point we have seen her struggling from the outside, but her perspective is more clear to viewers after experiencing what she feels.

American Montage

In the reading, Dick defines American montage specifically: “In American montage, time is collapsed as shots blend together, wipe each other away, or are superimposed on each other.” (Dick 68) American montages aren’t as commonly used as they used to be, since they’re very direct about how much time is passing. The scene I found is just about as blatant as it gets. In this scene form New Moon, Bella is sitting at her window waiting for Edward to return to her. As the months pass from October to December, we see the seasons change outside her window.

This montage specifically is used effectively because Bella doesn’t move the entire scene. She waits for months, unmoving, for Edward to come back. As the seasons change, we see how little anything else matters in her life, because of her lack of care.

Parallel Cut

Dick defines parallel cutting, also known as crosscutting or intercutting, as scenes that “present two actions occurring simultaneously.” (Dick 70) They often flip back and forth between two scenes that are happening at the same time, but in different locations. I chose to use a clip from the TV series Smash, which follows the careers of several people involved in putting together a Broadway musical. In this scene, Ivy (the Broadway veteran waiting for her big break) and Karen (the newcomer looking for a way into the business) are both preparing for the same audition for Marilyn Monroe in a new musical about Marilyn’s life.

Parallel cuts were most definitely the best choice for this scene, because throughout the rest of the series, Karen and Ivy are in constant competition to win the part. They’re literally singing the same song in this cut, and towards the end of the scene, they’re auditioning in the same room, but at different times. The exact parallel of their auditions shows just how talented they both are, and how fierce the competition is.

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