Analyze how techniques were used in important moments or scenes to make you respond emotionally. Remember the Titans, directed by Boaz Yakin, is set in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971. At this time, the first school was being integrated, and neither race was happy about it. This film tackles the theme of overcoming racism and uses techniques such as camera angles, dialogue and music to evoke a strong emotional response from the audience. At the beginning of the film, the white and black members of the team hate each other. Both sides have preconceived ideas about the other. The whites don’t want to “Play with any of those black animals,” and the blacks don’t want to integrate either because they don’t trust “your people, to be honest.” One scene where we saw this clearly is when Alan and Petey are forced to learn about each other at the football camp.
They are sitting on opposite sides of the shot, facing each other like adversaries. Dividing them is a path running between them up towards a big traditional-style door to the centuries-old buildings of Gettysburg College. This path represents the tradition of racism in America between blacks and whites all the way back to slave-ownership times that divides Alan and Petey in present-day 1971. This camera shot is combined with dialogue which is impersonal, defensive and suspicious. It is more “interview style” than a conversation between team-mates, which illustrates how little they know or understand each other’s background. For example, “What’s your daddy’s name? Wait. You do have a daddy, right?… He does have a job?” The camera shot and dialogue make this scene very poignant. It makes the audience realize how big the gap is between the two races as they try to set their differences aside to form a successful, united football team.
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It makes us realize the full weight of the suspicion and defensiveness between the black and white players and saddened by the white student’s preconceptions about black families. One of the turning points of the film comes when they are at camp. Coach Boone takes the team to the cemetery where the battle of Gettysburg was fought. Here the verbal technique of the “Team Talk” is used when Boone gathers the students in front of him and says, “if we don’t come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will fall.” In addition, a high-angle shot is used to portray Coach Boone as important to the destiny and success of the team. He is made superior, and this adds weight to the message in his words. These two techniques are combined with the use of a sound technique: the Titans Theme music. This is a symphony piece that plays in other triumphant moments throughout the movie.
The combination of this symphony, the dialogue and the high-angle shot up to Coach Boone evokes powerful emotions in the audience as they experience the gravity of the young players’ decision: Unite and succeed as a team or remain suspicious of each other and fall apart. So when in the next scene they finally come together as a team, we celebrate along with them – we feel the emotion of their success at setting differences aside to create a strong “side”. Music is one of the most important film techniques used in this film. The 1960’s pop song “Na, na, na, na/ na, na, na, na/ Hey Hey Hey/ Goodbye” is heard often. First, when they are coming home from the football camp, a galvanized unit of team players, having said “goodbye” to the barriers to them being able to forge a team successfully. Next, when they win their first game, and it’s like they are saying “Goodbye, and eat my dust!” in the excitement of a cheering crowd, and finally at Gary’s funeral when it is sung as a funeral dirge by his old team-mates as they farewell their friend.
The song evokes exhilaration and excitement in the first two instances and a depth of sadness and honour in the last instance as it is sung slowly and quietly, with reverence. We are left grieving with the characters. This film uses camera angles, music and dialogue to respond emotionally to the film and the themes portrayed. As a result, it shows us the destruction caused by racism and that race doesn’t matter and can be set aside for the betterment of humanity. We are all people; we are all the same. By appealing to our emotions, we are convinced of this film’s strong theme and the message that human life is one unique whole that can set aside differences to succeed.