Visual Rhetoric- bluntwriting88

0-1 -The center of our focus is upon these two female friends. We assume this since they’re in their late teens to early twenties indicated by the group of textbooks in front of them and are sitting on a couch ‘together’ in presumably one of their homes. The home looks comfortable, with furnishings, ample furniture, and appealing décor. Instantly, we can tell from their faces that something is not right. We know this as the girls’ heads are down, and to the left, a universal human body sign of contemplation and unease. The left girl is nervously ‘self touching’ her hands which furthers the sense of unease., as does the right girl. Especially considering they are ‘right beside’ one another. However, they really are not beside one another. Between them in the couch is empty space – a void. There is a void between the two girls, and they sit on the couch pondering what exactly may be causing this apparent and distinct void. What we can tell from left girl’s foot and leg is that it appears unstable and contorted in an odd fashion, indicating a base level of anxiety

2 – 4 -The camera pans to left girl’s unaltered face. Clearly, she is thinking about something troubling judging by her gloominess and her stagnant stare into something. Right girl turns her head to left girl, an aberration from the stagnant looks of the girls. She gives a firm and stern look, with not much faltering in her fine eye muscles. We see a little bit of her mouth is pursed more towards one side of her face, a tightness. This suggests that what she is about to ask is difficult, considering the two are struggling even to talk or look at one another while sitting on the same couch. Right girl as she opens her mouth instead takes a breath which halts her speech as she turns her neck back to the front, no longer intending to say anything to her friend. Right girl decided that she couldn’t surpass whatever struggle it is which prevents her from speaking to her friend. Right girl is facing front once again, with her friend on the left again unchallenged in her stagnant look. However, left girl’s eyes are this time up and to the right. She and her friend are not thinking of the same thing anymore, as we are in a similar looking frame as the principal frame, but with left girl’s eyes looking and thinking at another location after being unable to speak to her friend across what separates them.

5-7 -A turtlenecked man appears between the friends. He emerges from inside the couch from the void between the two girls, where only his torso is visible. He is the embodiment of the void between friends. Here he is breaking the fourth wall, emerging for the purpose of speaking directly to the audience in an aside. He is looking directly at us. The camera zooms in on the turtlenecked man as he beckons his head in confirmation about what we thought, expected, and analyzed. That is, that the void between the two girls was awkward as was their lack of interaction. Since he is that void, he is the anthropomorphism of the awkward void between the two friends, smiling and confirming that right at us. It is clear that he is the narrator character of this short.

8-10 -Two male friends now, in the same exact posing as the two girls in the principle shot, looking down, and to the left, not speaking to acknowledging one another while sharing a nice hot tub session. They once again define dichotomy. The turtlenecked man awkwardly appears in the spatial void between them only to look at us smiling in confirmation of our suspicions of alienation and struggle between two seemingly close-yet-distant friends which do not acknowledge or speak to one another. The dichotomy is emphasized by the fact that the two friends choose the two closest urinals out of a whole series of empty ones in a large sports bathroom.          While two football players urinated next to one another in adjacent urinals, the turtlenecked man awkwardly appears between them squeezed between the urinals. He turns his head to confirm to us, the viewers with a smile of the bizarre, uncomfortable, and awkward nature of what he is doing.

11 – 12 -Seemingly two lovers are now in bed naked with one another, with the turtlenecked man awkwardly squeezed between them in the mattress, once again breaking the fourth wall to the viewer looking directly at us and confirming that something is awry between the two lovers. The lovers quickly glance at each other, only to reactionarily look away. Many times in life one may encounter an uncomfortable situation where it is difficult to look at a person for whatever reason it may be – pain, struggle, disagreement, etc. However, the overbearing theme being displayed is uncomfortability and awkwardness between two close people, where they are so close (physically) yet so far (emotionally) represented by the void, and the turtlenecked man. Again, after a short glance, no words are spoken, only hesitation.

         As this is the third instance of the same general display on screen, now with three different sets of different types of friend-duos, the creator of this short has now solidified a theme via a generalization of a pattern to the viewers. That is, a close duo, separated by an awkward and uncomfortable void which alienates them, where even in seemingly intimate situations, maybe the most intimate, the duo is unable to fully acknowledge the void and communicate over it.

13-16 -We return to the hot tub, focus on the turtlenecked man. He is the focus object, and still betwixt the two alienated friends. He is speaking to us, the audience, directly. He is no longer smiling. He looks firm, yet slightly shakes his head negatively (side to side). His wide eyes look right at us. Us and him are know really communicating via this fourth wall break.

Quickly changing to the girls, but zoomed in on himself, the man points to the right girl.

17- 20 – Right girl repeats her actions from the beginning of the short, taking a breath, and looking over to her friend in the identical stagnant and negative pose described earlier. Right girl now takes a breathe and finally utters some words after the awkward moment between them has faded. Finally, they communicate.

22 – Left girl finally looks at her friend, the most significant development thus far between the two friends. She looks directly at right girl with her mouth slightly ajar with a massive gaze with a surprised look. When awkward silences are broken, sometimes it is abrupt, sometimes surprising even. Sometimes the awkward silence was due to the fact that was being anticipated or desired to be said was rather too touchy or difficult to even utter. The creator of the short displays for the viewer a sudden climax between the two friends as they speak to strengthen the dichotomy of close friends being  unable to close the gap between them on a touchy and difficult topic that is affecting left girl in this case (as she was the principle one in the broody appearance). Left girl’s massive gaze is broken by a restoration into her original gloomy look: down, and to the left. Clearly this is tough for her as she moves her mouth but does not speak.

23 – In a development, right girl continues to speak firmly to her friend.

24 – The turtlenecked man is alone, in a different chair in a different part of the room, looking at the viewer with both his thumbs up with an honestly approving face immediately after what just occurred between the two girls. The creator of the short is utilizing the man and his thumbs-up to show us that he, the literal embodiment of awkwardness and discomfort, is better not between two close friends, as ought to be. He is no longer in between them. Where he was originally in the void between them, he is no longer, and this is a positive thing as now the two friends can once more converse without ‘him’ i.e. the awkwardness betwixt them.

25 – end – The closing shot shows the two friends situated as in the principal shot, this time however, turtleneck man is not there, and the two friends are looking consistently and amiably at one another, with left girl’s hands still self-touching, but with her leg now stable, representing a more stable position. As she looks to right girl, right girl’s entire body is aimed at her friend, and she is deeply involved in the conversation they are having. As shown before, getting rid of the awkward barrier to talk to one another is the most important thing in friendships when it comes to honest communication and well-being, especially mental well being.

Reference Video:

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1 Response to Visual Rhetoric- bluntwriting88

  1. davidbdale says:

    Beautiful work, Blunt.
    Some questions.
    Are they in a finished basement?
    What makes you say those are textbooks?
    Did the girls choose the decor?
    What’s with all the stuffed animals and duck decoys?
    Why does the camera move in on them?
    Later: why do the “couples” alternate between racially-similar and racially-mixed?
    Strong combination of Visual description and Rhetorical analysis.

    Like

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