Walking on the dark side : Images, techniques and themes in student short films

Book chapter


Charleson, Diane. (2016). Walking on the dark side : Images, techniques and themes in student short films. In In Heitkemper-Yates, Michael and Kaczmarczyk, Katarzyna (Ed.). Learning to see : The meanings, modes and methods of visual literacy pp. 51-61 Inter-Disciplinary Press. https://doi.org/10.1163/9781848883024_006
AuthorsCharleson, Diane
EditorsHeitkemper-Yates, Michael and Kaczmarczyk, Katarzyna
Abstract

When it comes the time for Australian film students to produce their major projects each year, they are usually given complete freedom to choose their topics. Having been a lecturer involved with student short film production for over ten years, I have always been struck by the recurring images and themes that tend to emerge. Recurrent themes are dark indeed, often including suicide, relationship conflict and breakdown, youth turmoil, drug addiction, suburban ennui, and child abuse. Rarely do students choose to visually tell stories about happy romances or feel good comedies. If genres are followed they tend to be underworld gangster movies featuring hit men, zombie themes, very dark vampire films or stark social realism. Even their comedy films have a very black bent. The images chosen to portray these themes are also dark. Many images are even so common that they have become synonymous with student films: the lengthy shot of a person having a breakdown in the shower; the shot of a person reflected in a mirror contemplating the meaning of life; suicide in the bath with a character lying in a pool of blood. Moreover the students tend to favour low light or physically dark surroundings. They often favour night shooting and locations such as laneways, wastelands, warehouses, and desolate suburbs reminiscent of Film Noir. The lead characters are often anti-heroes (favouring non-Hollywood style actors), usually dark, dishevelled and angst driven. Students lean to representing these images by using cameras that allow for a lot of depth of field, the editing style is quick and pacey with music to match. What do these choices of images selected by these visually literate young people tell us? Is this a reflection of the wider youth community? Are filmic images synonymous with a generation?

Keywordsstudent filmmakers; youth subculture; indie film; grunge cinema; post geek; visual representations
Page range51-61
Year2016
Book titleLearning to see : The meanings, modes and methods of visual literacy
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Place of publicationOxford, United Kingdom
ISBN9781848883024
9789004374294
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1163/9781848883024_006
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85142007558
Web address (URL)https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/acu/detail.action?docID=6481768
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print2016
Online04 Jan 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Mar 2023
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8yy07/walking-on-the-dark-side-images-techniques-and-themes-in-student-short-films

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