Section B - Captain Fantastic (Ross, 2016) Flashcards Preview

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Define Active Spectatorship

Audience questions/engages with the text and it's message Arthouse indie film, encourages audience to think for themselves


Define all 4 possible readings in Hall's Reception Theory

Dominant Reading = audience interprets and agrees with intended meaning Negotiated Reading = audience interprets intended meaning, but doesn't quite agree with it (makes up own mind) Oppositional Reading = audience interprets intended meaning, but doesn't agree with it Aberrant Reading = audience doesn't understand intended meaning


Define Uses of Gratification Theory

Media has no power over audiences Audiences choose media they want to consume Audience creates own meaning - text = 'open' to individual interpretation


Define Modernism

Art movement associated with industrial revolution, machines replacing humans. Aim create artworks that better reflected modern society Focus on innovation/experimentation in forms, materials and techniques


Define Postmodernism

Belief that new approaches needed to understand the present. Boundaries between fiction and reality blurred Playfully, nostalgically and respectfully acknowledging the past Audiences removed from conventional emotional link they have to subject matter, gain new view of it


How are extreme long shots used to create meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Opening shot- establishes and romanticises nature. Much smaller shots of urban landscape - claustrophobic Wide bird's eye shots - passive spectatorship


How are shots repeated to create meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Ben's close-ups in rear view mirror repeated throughout film: establishes how he is somewhat distanced from his family, needs to connect to them


How is hair symbolic in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Ben shaves beard as a sign of being a changed man, no longer stubborn and will protect his family Bo shaves his head -> mark change in lifestyle & identity


How the family's costumes create meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Funeral scene - mourners dressed in black, whilst they wear bright, colourful clothes and unusual outfits (Zaja's gas mask). Jacks calls Ben "some hippy in a clown outfit" - Shows how they celebrate life when someone dies, when the rest are very upset Binary opposition between them and the mourners, and between Ben and the church


How does lighting create meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Harsh lighting on basketball court when Bo and Rellian discuss Ben Contrasts naturalistic lighting in rest of film - blackness -> gravity of difficult conversation, whether their dad is "dangerous" or not


How narrative in 'Captain Fantastic' creates meaning?

Film book-ended with 'rite of passage scenes' that contrast the family and mainstream lifestyles - Start, Bo eats a deer heart on his 18th birthday, covered in mud body paint - End, Bo goes off to Uni after getting a pep-talk from his Dad


How editing creates passive spectatorship in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Matt Ross (on avoiding conspicuous editing): "Only afterwards say "wow that was a oner. They never cut". I don't want to notice that when I'm watching. I want to feel the intention of it." - Wants film to just be viewed as a story, not a construct


How Ben's hallucinations create meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Hallucinations of Leslie breaks film's editing techniques, other-worldly Visual softness, choral religious music, lighting effects make her appear, fade away and re-appear like an angel. Ben sees her as an angel watching over his family


How music creates meaning in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Bagpipe music on bus suggests army -> battle. Ben - "So they know we're coming."


How theme of acceptance presented in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Rell wants to be like rest of society, unlike rest of siblings: "Why can't we celebrate Christmas like the rest of the world?" - Plays violent video games with his cousins - The others try to 'rescue' him from his grandparents' house Bo wants to go off to University, hides letters from his father. Scared of what he would think


How theme of parenting presented in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Film explores different parenting approaches and challenges them Ben is liberal, kids think for themselves, but outcasts from society. Harper's kids are included in society, but are stupid brats Ultimately, kids decide how they want to be raised, choosing their father over their grandparents People looking for alternative to raising city kids - what values do you want to teach your children?


How theme of gender presented in 'Captain Fantastic'?

All kids perform same tasks, taught same skills: roles not gendered in film Closing scene implies integrate into mainstream society - Zaja has "feminine" costume and styling for 1st time in narrative


Which animation studio influenced 'Captain Fantastic'?

Ross: "I wanted to create something that was psychically hopeful. I think Pixar does this very well. Their movies are emotional without being empty. They're sentimental but they earn it."


Political contexts of 'Captain Fantastic'

Running for president: Trump = right wing, Sanders = left wing, Clinton = moderate Left and right wing selling different versions of anti-establishment Ben and Jack represent ideologies viewpoints - both dislike that, as Ben says, "the powerful control the lives of the powerless"


Institutional contexts of 'Captain Fantastic'

Sought funding from producer Lynette Howard Taylor at Sundance film festival Success and wide-release due to word of mouth and reviews alone: typical of indie films


How 'Captain Fantastic' encourages use to think about who we want to side with

Encourages alignment with Ben through is hallucinations of Leslie (close-up P.O.V.s, intimate) Both sides - consider pros and cons of Ben's and Jack's lifestyle for themselves. Spectator's own experiences and ideologies influence their viewpoint Ross: "No one in this film is the villain... (Jack) is antagonistic... but he is not the antagonist" "His love is different but just as legitimate"


What is the audience expectation of an indie arthouse film? How does this relate to 'Captain Fantastic'?

Audience expects left-wing politics Balanced approach of film questions audience's expectations


How does 'Captain Fantastic' question American Society?

Kids enter mainstream society and say "everyone is fat" Kids pretend to be a Christian cult to disconcert police officer Recurring quotes = "power to the people", "stick it to The Man"


How is self-improvement portrayed in 'Captain Fantastic'?

Importance of diverse education - kids study academic subjects (literature, politics, quantum physics), creativity, survival skills and physical fitness valued highly. Encourages methodical, structured lifestyle


How does Ben's character develop throughout 'Captain Fantastic'?

Stubborn, opinionated, caring. Mixed response to him Learns to accept modern society more, and listens more to his children, treating them more like people


How does Bodevan's character develop throughout 'Captain Fantastic'?

Kind, intelligent, awkward, angry on the inside - wants a normal life. Root for him Argues with his dad until they listen to each other


How does Rellian's character develop throughout 'Captain Fantastic'?

Rebel child, angsty, angry, goes against his father Tries to leave family, but accepts his family's lifestyle


How does Grandpa Jack's character develop throughout 'Captain Fantastic'?

Grieving for his dead daughter - blames Ben for it, wants custody of his kids Foil to Ben - but does accept that the kids want to live with him


How does 'Captain Fantastic' fit the tropes of a 'road movie'?

Framing of characters within mirrors: Ben keeps being framed in his rear view mirror Narrative of a quest: quest to stop their mother's funeral, give her the send off she wanted Exploration of social constructs of home, work and family: different opinions and sides shown on perspective of parenting Iconography of vast, open landscapes: used of both nature and of American highway (contrast)


How is spectator alignment created in the opening scene of 'Captain Fantastic'?

Initially aligned with the deer - motivated shots of eyes watching through foliage. Sense threat deer is facing, fear for it Family covered in mud - monstrous, threatening, less humane -> difficult to identify with. They then go and wash themselves and play in the river. More human, align with them