Out of Order

Assignment

  1. Re-watch a favorite movie to reference in the next few classes
  2. Read Jane Alison, “Beyond the Narrative Arc”

Reading notes of “Beyond the Narrative Arc”

I will upload notes soon.

Snowpiercer

Spoiler Alert: if you have not seen the movie, please do not read below. I do not wanna ruin your viewing experience.

In class, we revisited Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho through the first opening scene of the family who lives half-above ground and half-underground basement. We chatted about how clever he utilized the scene of searching for WiFi to give us a tour of the dire situation the whole family was in.

Snowpiercer has always been a movie I would love to rewatch. Therefore, for this assignment, I discovered so many hidden points in the film. Here are something that struck me while watching

Tour around the environment with character

In first part of the movie, audience was given a view of the situation of the tail section of the train by following Timbo, a boy running up and down the crowded bunk beds when Curtis was trying to get the protein block Timbo was holding since it hides the red paper which holds crucial information.

Usage of Color

The usage of color on costume design and cinematography design is excellent in the movie. How people from the head section dress in bright or expensive apparels is visually compared with the ragged clothing the tail section people wear.

Unpopular Opinion: Maybe Harvey Weinstein Should Cut 20 Minutes From ' Snowpiercer'
SnowpiercerSnowpiercer

Usage of symbols

Hand movements

The movement of hands were first introduced by Minister Mason with close-up shot and echoed by the movements by Mr. Wilford when he was explaining how the train was kept to move forward forever. Later, it was revealed to us that the reason the train was able to move forward was to use child labor and their tiny hands to maneuver so. A simple series of hand movements can come off so astonishingly impactful in the way a story is told. storytelling.

With a bit of googling, it seems that Mason may come onto the train as a lower class and climbed her way through to her position in the head section with the familiarity of the hand movements and the cult-like loyalty to Mr. Wilford and the Sacred Engine.

Protein Block

Protein block, the only food source for the tail section turns out to be gelatinized cockroaches. It is also a means of communication from the head section to tail section which hides the red notes. The symbol was throughout the 2/3 of the movie, ended when Mason was forced to eat the protein block while the crew from the tail section enjoyed sushi. I also like the usage of cockroaches as the food source in the movie since it echoes the perception of the insects and that of the tail section/ or lower class in general. Yet cockroaches are known as hard to kill because they are resilient, they could also foreshadow the survival of a few people from the tail section to reach to the head section.

Analogy

Shoe – Hat VS tail section – head section

The speech Mason gives about shoe and hat gives an excellent analogy of the tail section and head section and how everybody should “know your place, keep your place”.

Snowpiercer, Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, Ah-sung Ko, Kang-ho Song

And how her position changed when the crew from tail section captured her in captive. The circle of Mason putting the shoe on Andrew while waiting for his arm to freeze and Andrew putting the shoe back on Mason makes such a good payback story that satisfies and wows me.

Character development/growth

We follow the main character Curtis throughout the film. Firstly, we were shown the scar on Curtis right hand when he was trying to cut it off to offer to the people in tail section as food before they decided to fight towards the head section. And it was not until the end of the movie when he finally reached to the head section, we were revealed of his dark history of cannibalism and how he was saved by Gilliam. Then we were turned to focus on his right hand when he was trying to save Timbo from the Sacred Engine. Now it becomes a full circle for Curtis as his personal growth. He finally overcame his fear and sacrificed his right hand to save Timbo. That’s one of the wow moments I had when I rewatched the film. The attention to details and intertwining of the underlying story of the character and the main storyline of the movie creates several meaningful layers for the movie.

In the contrary, we also follow the character Mason from her glory day as the minister to (or back to) her place until her death. She no longer has the power of commanding people since the “order” she has been so adamant about is no longer there.

Unexpectedness

In class, we mentioned about surprises and unexpectedness tend to make a good story, well, at least, it is not boring. It is shown in the movie! The first scene that caught me off guard when I re watched was the cigarette scene. When Namgoong was presented two options, instead of choosing either of them, he threw the last Malboro cigarette to cause commotion for his escape. It was so genius and interesting to reveal his tactic strategy to either have more time to think or time to escape.

Another scene that expected me the first time when I was watching the film was the famous tunnel fight scene. The sudden darkness as the train moves into the tunnel not only created the sense of fear in me but also the vulnerability of people who are in disadvantage, even though the lens is through the night vision glasses from the army of the head section.

Conclusion

I had such a great time rewatching Snowpiercer. I am sure there are many other details I missed but I am so excited to watch it again. To me, a great story relies heavily on how you tell a story and the points above are something I should pay attention when I tell a story.

Published by Yiting Liu

NYU ITP '21

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