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Movie: The Power of One Essay

The director John G. Avildsen has made the concert scene memorable from the film “The Power of One” which was set in apartheid time in Africa by using many visual and verbal techniques such as lighting, music and dialog that support all the suggestions that the scene makes. These techniques make this scene and film memorable.

During the concert scene Peekay conducted a group of non-white African prisoners to sing for the commandant. Peekay was proven to be smart and determined in this scene because he translated the guards speech to the prisoners incorrectly to encourage the tribes to unite. The Guard told Peekay to translate “…sorriest prisoners in all of Africa!” but Peekay translate it to “Let us be one under the African Sky”. The prisoners sang a song about the guards “they run this way, they run that way, they are afraid, they are cowards..” in Zulu. Sergent Boreman cornered Peet and made him tell what the words to the song meant and then beat him to death because he was aggravated about what the prisoners were singing. Peekay got to Peet in time for him to say his last words: “All the tribes as one, thanks to you rainmaker”.

A visual technique which made the concert scene memorable was lighting. The dark dim lighting suggested that the conditions of the prison were harsh. An example of this is when Geil Peet is beaten to death by Sergeant Boreman, the lighting was harsh, artificial and spot lighten which made Boreman look evil. The lighting gives the audience clues about the dark emotions experienced by Geil Peet in this scene.

Another technique used in this film is the music during this scene. There were only two types of music, the piano and the background singing of the African prisoners which suggest a lot of things, for example the prisoners singing from different tribes could suggest co-operation and equality between tribes and the singing in Zulu meant that the commandant and Sergeant and guards could not understand what the tribes were singing about the guards being cowards and afraid. “Alyea Olyeah mon!” is what one of the prisoners was shouting out. Peekay in this scene translated the commandants speech incorrectly which gave the prisoners encouragement to bring honor to their tribe.

The dialog also made this scene memorable in this film. The dialog was very moving and powerful. The speeches were moving because the verbal and visuals at each part of the scene were supporting each other to create something beautiful even though Geil Peet was dieing in Peekay’s arms saying “… rainmaker” the over narration when Geil dies is also moving “…for a brief moment he was a freeman”. This suggest that Peet had a hard life before if he was a freeman just before he died. The actual English speech of the commandant suggest that he hated all black people and thought that whites are superior which also suggest racism.

I believe that this film “The Power of One” is a bold, strong and moving film and many memorable and important scenes like the concert scene. The Director John G. Avildsen has attempted to recreate what apartheid was like in Africa and I strongly believe that this film has captured that image.

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