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Raging Bull Essay

In the opening scene of Raging Bull, Scorsese establishes the themes
that control the rest of the film. Although it looks like a long take that
lacks editing, the scene is visibly employing a formalistic quality because
of the abstractness. I think that throughout the film, the fight scenes
have formalist tendencies while the scenes on the domestic front lean
toward realism. In this first scene, Jake is a depicted shadow boxing in a
smoky boxing ring, seemingly inspired by his mental and physical
preparation. Physically, he is preparing for the boxing match he will be
competing in; mentally Jake is preparing for the battles he will face in
his relationships with those around him. Through the use of mise-en-scene
we are introduced to the dominant themes. The scene opens with a long shot
of Jake, who is illuminated by top lighting. By using top lighting,
Scorsese seemingly isolates Jake from the rest of the scene, commenting on
Jake’s isolation from those around him. Further commenting on this idea is
the idea that the people in the background outside the ring are barely
visible, developing Jake’s sense of autonomy and individualism. As we watch
Jake gracefully dance around the ring through the ropes, we get the sense
that he is caged in. Another aspect of the mise-en-scene, Jake’s leopard
print robe, gives Jake an animalistic quality, signifying that he needs to
be caged in the boxing ring. The fact that Jake is on the left side of the
screen notes his weak mental position. Lastly, the non-digetic soundtrack
is classical music, further commenting on the melancholy preparation for
battle. Observing this mise-en-scene, we are already familiar with the
leading themes of the film without the need for a single word of dialogue.

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Scenes that include dialogue, such as the scene following Jake’s
first fight when he bullies his first wife around, also express Jake’s
aggression and interpersonal conflicts. Jake is depicted with his
animalistic nature as a societal outcast, incapable of well-mannered
relationships with his neighbors and even those who love him. The scene
opens with La Motta in an undershirt, with a black-and-blue face from his
fight, with three point lighting being applied. Jake is eating like an
animal, yelling at his wife: “Don’t overcook it. You overcook it, it’s no
good.” The desire for an undercooked, bloody steak represents Jake’s
carnivorous inclination. The camera cuts to a tracking shot zooming in on
an obviously irritated Irma; in the mise-en-scene there is a clock directly
in front of her head, implying that her time with Jake is coming to an
imminent end. Scorsese frames Irma in the kitchen, using the mise-en-scene
to show her separateness from Jake. As the two argue about how the steak
should be cooked, we see the shot/reverse shot method of editing being
implemented, adhering to the 180 degree rule. Exhausted by Jake’s
badgering, Irma brings the steak over to him and slaps it on his plate. The
camera cuts to a medium shot of the unpredictably explosive Jake flipping
the table over, steak and all.

At this point we are introduced to Jake’s relationship with his brother and
the conflict with the mob that will be a prevalent problem throughout the
film. The film cross-cuts to Joey talking to Sal, agreeing to talk to Jake
about an association with the mobster Tommy. Then it cross-cuts back to the
apartment where Jake is violently pushing his wife around as Joey enters
the frame. Irma subsequently slams the door, literally putting a barrier
between her and her ferocious husband and figuratively showing their
isolation once again. The off-screen voice of the neighbor Larry calls out,
“What’s the matter with you up there, you animals?” The camera cuts to a
medium two shot of Jake and Joey, then to a shot of Jake framed by the
window, hollering back at Larry that he will eat his dog for lunch. The
statement further illustrates Jake’s instinctive nature while the mise-en-
scene of Jake in the window depicts his isolation from the entire society
outside the apartment. Then we see an eye-line match of Irma’s silhouette
through the bedroom curtains from Jake’s perspective. The mise-en-scene
used here gives us the feeling of an impersonal relationship between the
two as Jake cannot see his wife. His threat to kill her if she breaks
anything further embodies Jake’s meanness.

READ:  The Metamorphosis Essay

Once the domestic argue calms down, the camera cuts to a medium two
shot of Joey and Jake at the kitchen table. The mise-en-scene depicts Jake
on the left side of the

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Raging Bull Essay
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
In the opening scene of Raging Bull, Scorsese establishes the themes
that control the rest of the film. Although it looks like a long take that
lacks editing, the scene is visibly employing a formalistic quality because
of the abstractness. I think that throughout the film, the fight scenes
have formalist tendencies while the scenes on the domestic front lean
toward realism. In this first scene, Jake is a depicted shadow boxing in a
smoky boxing ring, seemingly inspired by h
2018-12-27 03:00:22
Raging Bull Essay
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
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