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Harvard
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Literature & Language
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Movie Review
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Silence of the Lambs – A Proppian Segmentation: Preparatory, Complication, Transference (Movie Review Sample)

Instructions:

Write a review of the movie Silence of the Lambs. in your analysis include a Proppian Segmentation

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Content:

Silence of the Lambs – A Proppian Segmentation
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Introduction
Silence of the lambs is a film that has achieved widespread acclamation for the excellent cinematography skills portrayed by the director as well as the cinematographer. The director of this film, Jonathan Demme, portrays almost all aspects of cinematography in the film to make it thrilling and a hit in the theatres. On the other hand, the cinematographer Mr. Tak Fujimoto does well to bring out a sense of reality and intense emotional attachments in the film for the purpose of thrilling the audience. He uses different skills and tools such as camera angle, shot duration, shots and framing amongst others.
This film is a feature of Hannibal Lector, a disturbed but clever psychiatrist, played by movie actor Antony Hopkins. Film critics have applauded this movie as one of the few in the horror/suspense category to be outstanding. The main character in this film, Hannibal Lector, is a cannibal locked up in a psychiatric center. However, Lector does not show the uncontrollable desire to devour flesh, as would be expected of any other cannibal. This shows that he is able to control and suppress his desires, only to unleash them at will. This is a Proppian segmentation of this film.
Segmentation of Proppian functions
Preparatory
This part is found in the prelude of the film where some background information on some of the characters is shown. The prelude also sets the stage for the main events in the film enabling the audience to understand and follow along as well. The fist function is observed when one of the members of a family absents himself. This is seen in Sterling’s flashbacks, which when regrouped chronologically show her father’s death and her consequent exile to Montana. The flashbacks, as well as some spoken confessions, tell Sterling’s story and how she came to be in exile.
The second function is interdiction. The interdiction in this film comes about when Crawford and Dr. Chilton warn Sterling not to get personally involved with Hannibal Lector.
Violation of interdiction is the third function. Sterling goes for the quid pro quo to violate her interdiction orders so as to save the life of Catherine. Catherine is a young woman who was kidnapped by Buffalo Bill one evening when she was returning home. Bill takes her to his makeshift laboratory where he has set up some equipment to extract substances from human skin-cuticles. Knowing that Bill eventually kills his victims, Sterling sets out to rescue Catherine.
Function 4 is the villain’s reconnaissance. This is observed in the Moffitt episode where Lector explains to Sterling about Bill’s early experiment. The event where the villain, Bill, receives information about his victim is also a reconnaissance. This happens as the set closes where a dialogue between Bill and Catherine occurs. In this event, the victim is deceived by the villain and falls into the trap by submitting to the deception. Without her knowledge, Catherine helps her kidnapper load a package into his vehicle and in the process she is kidnapped. This is a double renaissance. As a result, Proppian functions that follow occur according to his plan and order.
The fifth function occurs when the villain causes harm to the victim. In this case, there is sudden disappearance of the victim as caused by the villain. Sterling learns about this from a television broadcast that she watches later in the film. This function concludes the prelude of the film analysis.
Complication
The sixth function falls under complication and is observed when a family member lacks or desires something that they do not have. The details are seen in the instance where there is enchaining of the victim by the villain. This is also a link between the last function I the prelude and the first in the complication move. The misfortune is shown in a live broadcast, which is watched by agent Sterling.
Although the senator’s case is considered a family matter, the broadcast is seen as a request to Sterling who then sets out with Crawford to correct this misfortune. She goes to Clay County in response to the senator’s plea to help Catherine. Therefore, the hero is dispatched. The entire episode concentrates on the autopsy, which brings out varying and complicated results as well. Consequently, agent Sterling meditates on the clips she had watched about Buffalo Bill. A dialogue with Crawford the follows and he assigns her to the Lector case where she begins by visiting him in the psychiatrist facility. After being dispatched to investigate and follow up on the Bill case, Sterling seeks to stop the serial murderer who had become a usual case for the FBI.
Transference
This move contains the seventh until the tenth function in the film analysis. The seventh function is counteraction where the seeker, in this case Sterling, decides to use her knowledge on Bill’s behavior from past experiences to pursue the case in hand. There is, however, no specific passage in the film where the seeker decides on a counteraction on the villain. Despite this, there is clear motive for counteraction when Lector probes Sterling about her past and background information in an effort to assess her commitment in solving the case.
Before Lector embarked on this assessment exercise, he had tried had to convince the agent that she is not fit to handle the case. By assuming authoritative position upon other people, this cannibalistic psychiatrist assesses the mental strength of his victims. In the event where an individual breaks and gives in to his mind games and manipulations, Lector, is quick to attack. However, the case of Sterling is different. She does not break or surrender under any pressure and she remains strong throughout all of their conversations.
Having ascertained her mental strength and will, Hannibal goes ah...
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