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City Lights Movie Reflection Essay

A film in pantomime, I believe, means a romantic comedy where actors express their feelings by miming. The film’s story was mainly told through mime actions and the actors along with their facial expressions since it’s the only thing that is going on in a silent film, besides the sound. A pantomime uses its technique, in where a story is told using just music, sounds, and the motion and facial expressions. The scene I find memorable is where the main character firsts meets the man trying to commit suicide. I find it memorable because the same camera angle was used, and there was little camera movement.

The man falling into the water and coming back out several times was shot in one take, if I remember well, and that takes lots of good acting and possibly more than one take was used for that scene. What also made the scene memorable was the lighting, because the scene might have been filmed during the night time, and the lights that were used showed the important places of the scene without showing much of the background, for example the bench had proper lighting and the place where they jumped in the water did as well.

This movie’s filming is different than modern films because the shot lengths are much longer and there is little camera movement. There were few close-ups and few establishment shots. The only transitions between scenes were fade-outs and fade-ins. Shots also had to be rehearsed several times because film was very expensive and cameras were not digital so things could not be deleted on the spot or filmed over.

Because of no sound, filmmakers had to rely on picking good actors, sound effects, and facial expressions. The actors play a huge part because the story can only be told through their motion and or expressions. The music had to be used to show suspense, playful/silly moments, or serious moments. The actors needed to be really well because it was really expensive for shots to be filmed more than once if not needed. The actors needed to know how to show different moods by facial expressions, movement of body, etc.

This film is unique because of the long shots and the little camera movement. Charlie Chaplin did a great job at telling a story, and he did so with using few quote screens, and used them only when they were completely necessary. The storyline is also very different in this film. The opening scene of the movie also was irrelevant to the plot, and was used as an introduction to the main character and the type of person he is. I haven’t seen a single movie similar to City Lights.

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