Inglorious Basters Review by Shahzaib Ikram

  • Inglorious Basterds

    Review by Shahzaib Ikram

    The opening scene of Inglorious Basterds is undoubtedly marvelous in many ways under the subject of cinematography and picturization. The things which made these scenes outstanding were the camera angles, shot types, dialogues, acting, suspense, and audio engineering. Here we will try to briefly describe the collective techniques used in the opening scene of the film.

    The film starts with the establishing wide-angle shot of a small farmer's house in the countryside in German-occupied France. A farmer is shown from afar cutting a wooden trunk before his house. In the second cut, the camera makes a close-up, low-angle shot of the farmer to reveal his appearance in a dominating way and show the status of domestic life with a classic wooden house in the background. The third cut shows a young woman from behind (giving a perspective of a supporting character in the story) who is hanging sheets on the wire to dry. This also depicts domestic life in the countryside. Meanwhile, an engine's sound strikes the ears making the viewer think that someone is approaching.  The girl stops to hear the sound. She moves the sheet on the wire a little to her left to reveal a vehicle in the background coming from far. After seeing this she turns and says “papa” and the scene cuts to the farmer from a low angle. The farmer stops cutting the trunk and watches the approaching vehicle. The scene cuts to a wide-angle shot of the approaching vehicle to create dominance of the approaching car as if it is very important. The scene cuts again to the framer who throws his axe on the trunk as a sign of frustration. In the next cut two girls after knowing someone is approaching, get inside hurriedly showing the sign of fear. Wear as the farmer sits on a chair gathering himself for the challenge ahead. The camera cuts to the shoulder shot of Famer showing the approaching vehicle. The farmer calls his daughter to bring some water. The girl brings some water. While she is getting water a wide-angle shot covers her depicting the aspect of domestic life. She brings some water and the farmer asks her to go inside but slowly so that no sign of frustration is shown. The farmer washes his face and a close shot shows his facial expressions. This close-up shot shows that he is preparing for the challenge ahead. The next scene shows that the vehicles have arrived and an establishing shot introduces soldiers and their officer who is dominating the shot. The officer gets out of the car and the camera follows him from the side showing the laundry and domestic touch in the background. Another significance of this type of shot is that dominating man in the frame is followed by the camera and the farmer is waiting to greet him. The next shot is the closeup of the handshake showing the officer in confidence whereas Famer is on backfoot. The officer asks him if he will welcome him to his home or not. The farmer gives pauses and says to come in.

    In the second scene, the officer enters the home. The framing in the home is very interesting and extraordinary.  In the first shot, the farmer opens the door and takes the officer inside where his daughters are already standing in a line. Her camera is behind the daughter giving a feeling of observing the acts as the audience is part of the scene. When the officer moves forward the camera also moves behind the daughter following the officer. Here the officer stops after taking two to three steps before the farmer's daughters. The farmer here is very interesting where the farmer is shown in a corner representing powerlessness. Whereas his three daughters are standing before the officer giving a depiction of accountability. In the background, we can see a window through which more solid is clearly visible giving the feeling of power that is behind the officer. Next, the farmer asks the officer to sit before the table. The officer takes his hat off and puts it on the table and drags the chair to sit. The frame change to the farmer giving a close-up of the tension on his face. The farmer asks one of his daughters to bring some wine for the officer. The girl moves to get some wine but the officer holds her hand and stops her. He instead of wine wishes for milk. This scene shows the dominance of the officer and his control over the situation.

    Similarly, the director uses different camera angles and frames to create a different but superb feeling in his shoots. Throughout this shoot in the house, he only plays with different camera techniques to create a historical masterpiece.