Year 11 ESL Examination Semester 2 Reading and Responding Sample Text Response Q 3. ‘Look Both Ways affirms death as part of life.’
Look Both Ways, a film by Sarah Watts examines death and life in a profound way where the characters have to confront death and learn about themselves. The film examines the notion of death as a universal theme that is random and the consequences of death related issues which can be painful at times. Furthermore, the film also explores the notion of death being a part and parcel of life through the plot and the characters confronting and experiencing grief, fear, and anxiety related to death. But all is not doom and gloom as there is the celebration of life when the characters confront death both real and imagined and learn from their experiences that life is worth living. As a result, the characters who are initially obsessed with death through fear and anxiety gradually begin to build meaningful relationships with each other and celebrate life. The director Sarah Watt explores death as a universal theme that no one can escape from and she explores it in many different ways. The film begins with the plot of the Arnow Hill train disaster where many are killed and injured as seen on the television news and the accidental death of man called Rob who is killed by a freight train. The initial plot of death is pervasive as it spreads and affects most of the characters in some way or other. From the opening shot of the newsreader announcing the news about the Arnow Hill train disaster, through to Meryl’s fears of a violent death through animation and dialogue, to Nick’s suffering anxiety by implying that his body is riddled with cancer cells multiplying in the photomontage sequence and Rob’s accidental death, the director wants to explore and examine death as a universal theme that no one can avoid. Most of the characters in the film come into contact o through the grieving process for family members or friends or through...
... such as anxiety, suspicion and despair. These recurring, mental images cause both Meryl and Nick, to live life in fear of death. When Nick was diagnosed with cancer, he immediately saw his life flashing past him in the form of a photomontage. Watt uses these montages to describe Nick's fear of death and that though he may seem in control on the outside, he is actually feels alone, confused and anxious that hislife will end the same way his father's did. His fear of cancer and his assumption that he won't survive his battle with cancer causes him to give up and therefore not live life, since he would die soon anyway. He therefore does not participate in his regular activities such as work and cricket with enthusiasm, and is unable to be happy and live life fully. Meryl also struggles with her visions of potential threats everywhere she goes. The vivid images of knife attacks and robbers shooting her cause her to feel nervous and to live in suspicion of everyone around her. This is evident when Meryl becomes anxious when Nick asks her for her phone number, even though they were intimate the night before. This shows that due to her fear of the worst-case scenario occurring, she struggles to embrace life, take risks and form relationships, which are essential in life.
Watt also demonstrates how past experiences of...
...LookBothWays is an Optimistic Film. To what extent do you agree?
Sarah Watt’s film, “LookBothWays” depicts the initial inability of people to deal with grief but with understanding and communication its shows everybody is capable of dealing with pain. Presented when fear had taken control of the Western World as a result of the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, Watt convinces the audience that there can still be optimism which leads happiness even when people are fearful. Watt’s portrays a view that pessimism can lead to optimism when the characters develop their own individual ways of coping with grief through strong animation, photo montage and subtle symbolism. Nick struggles at first but develops an understanding towards his own cancer; Meryl’s constant visions of death are eliminated when she has a realistic encounter with it and the film techniques of the process of the weekend and its heat begins with pessimism but develops optimistically.
Watt’s portrayal of Meryl changes gradually from someone who fears death and those around her because of her own loneliness, to someone who is capable of viewing her life with more optimism. Meryl’s life is filled with loneliness as she is first seen returning from her father’s funeral, yet unable to convey her own grief at her loss. As...
...“LookBothways” unearths intrinsic human vulnerabilities. It follows the life journey of ordinary Australian citizen’s, exposing a multitude of negative and positive human experiences. The first musical interlude, “Crashing- Gersey”, delves into the psychological and social dilemmas of each character. The melancholic yet sympathetic music renders the scene with a relative sensitive and intimate mood. Minimal dialogue and close range shots build on the concept of personal anguish and pain. All the characters are distanced in some way from others, further accentuating the idea of isolation and individual seclusion. The generally explicit voyeuristic nature of this scene, allows the viewer to explore the private lives of the main characters.
Soft music, played in a minor key is used in the opening shots of segment 3: “tragedy, despair, grief and art”, paired with the wide shot of the pigeons flocking collectively together silhouetted against the evening sky. They help to set the scene. The emphasised tonal qualities of the fluttering birds suggest the temporary nature of our society. The splitting of the bird flock as a result of the powerlines and pylon is symbolic in this scene. It serves to illustrate the fractured nature of modern society and the overwhelming events persistent in the contemporary world. It also functions to expose the varying aspects of human life, through the...
...“Lookbothways” is a 2005 Australia independent film, written and directed by Sarah Watt. Moreover, the film won four AFI Awards. In the film, a train accident happened in Arnow Hill on a hot Australia weekend and the accident not only impacts the main character’s life but also relates each other. Fear is one of the main themes in the film and it is obvious to show audiences that the protagonists in the hard circumstance who are coping with their real and imagine death. Firstly, the relationship with others has an influence for Nick to cope with his imminence. Secondly, Meryl often chooses an appropriate way to shift and vent her worry of the struggled life. Thirdly, Julia tries her best to step out of shadows for her partner’s death.
Nick is one of the main characters in the film and his hard circumstance display the relationship with others has an influence for him to cope with his imminence. When he knew he got testicle cancer, he felt nervous and scared. He has never felt death was so close from him and the use of photo montage by the director show audiences his past life, when he recall his past life, the noisy voice with the photos presents his trouble emotion for death and the fear for cancer filled his mind. One of the most important parts of the photo montage is his memory for his...
...painted animated sequences in LookBothWays have their origin in this film. They use the same signature ‘painterly’ style. The animated s sequences are a way of giving Nick and Meryl a visible internal life, rather than relying on the actors performances. Its one that’s to each of them” to a painter and a photographer. This also proves that all the characters have internal lives. Despite the unique animations of Meryl and Nick’s photomontages, other film techniques employed such as the careful construction of en scene, flash backs, dialogue, camera positioning, music and repeated motifs allows viewers to learn about other characters as much as they learn about Nick and Meryl. Meryl’s animation enlarges a pervious painterly style of mind and as well as the disaster imaging neurotic character. Meryl has just lost her father so we can see she is focusing on death. Nicks animation is about the visuals memories you collect in your life. His having a sum up kind of weekend, which he will definitely remember when he looks back on his life. The setting in which each character is filmed in, is a crucial element in establishing individual characteristics and how much we get to learn about the characters.
The gracefully crafted animations expose the character of Meryl while the lyrical nature of her interior visions displays her artistic background. Her...
...Sarah Watt’s “LookBothWays” shows us that death is a normal part of our lives, and if we are unable to accept it, then it can hold us back from living our lives to its fullest. Using a variety of filming techniques, Watts effectively displays and accentuates the pain and grief of her characters, especially Nick and Meryl who “have been seeing death everywhere”, in order to demonstrate how fears ofdeath can restrict our ability to live, in terms of anything from relationships and being social, to taking risks and just being happy. Each character has their problems conveyed through different techniques in accordance with their lifestyles and careers. For example, Meryl is a painter and her fears are portrayed using animations, and Nick who is a photographer has his thoughts presented through photomontages. Other film methods employed such as the careful construction of mise en scene, flash backs, dialogue, camera positioning, music, symbolism, and repeated motifs help to explore the finer details of the various underlying themes in the film, and to convey Watt’s point of view that death is all around us, everyone has to face it at some point in their lives, but the true test is how we manage our emotions and cope with the loss, and whether or not we allow our own lives to progress.
Meryl provides an excellent example of someone who has been traumatised by her...
...Andy finds it difficult to communicate and make connections with others. To what extent does LookBothways depict human communication as problematic.
In the film text "LookBothWays", problems in communicating with people are examined through many of the main characters, especially with Andy. In life, communicating with others can be difficult particularly when circumstances arise in which you do not know how to express your personal feelings or there are past experiences that hinder the way you view life. In Andy's character we are presented with a man who has encountered an unfortunate past which affects his outlook on life, aswell as his ability to communicate with his partners, friends and family.
Many of the difficulties in communicating and making connections with other people are clearly distinguishable in many of the situations Andy comes across in within the film text.
Andy's pessimistic outlook on life seems to change his personality into a more bitter and angry one, which characters in the film cannot seem to relate with. A major contribution to his unhappy state of mind is due to the dissatisfaction he feels with work. It seems as if his job as a journalist has not lived up to his expectations of a meaningful and worthwhile occupation. The scene in which Andy leaves the performance of Macbeth...
- The film is an authentic personal and group portrait of how humans deal with personal tragedy, depression and loss
- Depicts the daily life we all lead, where tragedy and crisis are just around the corner
Characters: Nick - not yet in control with his medical diagnosis; hasn’t come to terms with his father’s death,
therefore impossible to accept his own
- describes his life with self-critical cynicism as a matter of “poverty, wars, natural disasters… then back to the mini bar
- the use of flashbacks and photo montages give us an insight into Nick’s fragile state of mind
- Quote: “I’ve been seeing death everywhere this weekend… I just look at people and I see them dying”
- Quote: “I’ll find out more tomorrow, then there’ll be more I don’t know” – afraid of the unknown
Meryl - her fears are seen through vivid animations; they inhibit her progress; they come through in her paintings and artwork
- preoccupied with death
- Quote: “Maybe it was meant to be… Maybe the right thing happened”
- Quote: “The seven stages of grief. What’s the point in knowing where you’re up to if you’ve still got to go through it anyway?”
Julia - her life is thrown into chaos
- she is...