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Gattaca (1997)

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Old Jan 7, 2004, 12:53 PM   #1
n/a flights since
Question Retro Mise-en-scene?

Does anybody have any theories on why Niccol has gone for the 40s/50s theme to his mise-en-scene? Is there any symbolism connected with it?
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Old Jan 9, 2004, 06:57 PM   #2
n/a flights since
Re: Retro Mise-en-scene?

I think it does not really have any symbolism (even if we could argue the 40's were a period of discrimination during WW2).

Niccol probably chosed to set the film in that way because he liked this design ("S1m0ne" looks the same way, too), and perhaps also to reduce the cost of special effects. This movie is above all an excellent screenplay, it wasn't made FOR digital effects, unlike many (bad) Hollywood movies.

The colors are also an important thing in the movie : the main colors are orange, green, and blue ; and almost every scene has a dominant color (i.e. orange for the sun or the fire, green for sea or dark scenes --when Vincent crosses the freeway, or when Vincent runs with Irene not to get caught by his brother, or when people arrested by the FBI try to run and escape...--, blue for water and sky...), like in those old black and white movies that were coloured according to what was displayed in the scenes (blue for sky/sea, red for sunset/blood/rage, green for forest, yellow for sand/sun...).

I LOVE this choice, Niccol shows that a movie doesn't need expensive special (or digital) effects, if its screenplay HAS a real consistence. And his use of colors, of photography, and his sense of direction can impress me much more than any full-of-useless-digital-effects-movie (like the "Star Wars" or "Matrix" movies...).

The screenplay DOES have an important part in cinema, unlike special effects, which are there only to display more realistic images and sounds (and though, Tarkovsky's movies have very BAD -- and sometime RIDICULOUS -- special effects, and yet remain absolutely excellent movies !).
The predominance of screenplay over special effects is what Andrew Niccol shows perfectly in "Gattaca". After all, this man is above all an excellent movie writer ! (remember "The Truman Show"...).

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