DISCUSS THE WAYS IN WHICH CAMERON HAS USED BINARY OPPOSITION TO CREATE MEANING IN TITANIC
As the extract begins, the first establishing shots are close up panning shots of the Titanic. The camera is facing up to the titanic, making it seem big and powerful. This is supported by the grand orchestral music in the background. Whilst the Titanic is on the left hand side of the frame, there are many poor people looking up at the titanic in the right of the frame. This is a binary opposition of the rich looking down upon the poor. The Titanic is an indexical sign of wealth whereas the dark, small figures represent poverty. The next shot is a close up of a car being lifted onto the Titanic. The car is purple and gold. Purple being an indexical sign of Royalty and Gold is a sign of Wealth. Furthermore, the car is being lifted by poorer people, who are all looking up at it, symbolising that wealthier people are more dominant. To add this, the car is in the centre of the frame, making it seem more important than the people surrounding it. Finally, there is an extreme close up of a young girls face looking up at the Titanic, she is extremely impressed at the ship, connoting she is not used to seeing such wealth. Moreover the girl has many teeth missing which is an obvious sign of poverty.
The next scene starts with a car, once again gold and purple (so the audience know the people inside are rich), pulls up and Rose steps out. The camera is looking down at her which signifies she is important. To support this, as the camera pans down, the music becomes louder and more impressive when her face is revealed. Her face is clean, bright and almost shining. This is a powerful binary opposite to the previous shot of the dirty, messy face of the young girl as it shows the difference between the rich and poor. Rose is also wearing mostly white, which signifies innocence, so the audience immediately take a liking to her. However when Rose sees Titanic she is unimpressed, which is another binary opposition of the young girl, because she was fascinated by it. As Roses fiancé steps out the car, there is an extreme close up of him smiling. He is charismatic and confident as if he is better and more important than the people around him, signifying he is upper class. Additionally he takes out and Gold pocket watch, which is a symbol of wealth. The usher is also told to speak to his servant, which connotes that he is not important enough to waste the man’s time. The usher also speaks to the fiancé as if he is of higher authority, he speaks nervously and quickly whereas the fiancé has better vocabulary and speaks calmly. All the rich families begin to walk to the titanic. They all are wearing bright clothes and elaborate jewellery. Although there are many more poorer people surrounding them, the focus is all of them because of their eye catching clothing, this further shows their dominance over the lower class. Finally, the panning camera shot shows the poorer class getting checked for nits and illnesses. However the rich family are allowed to walk straight through, which signifies that the higher class are more respected and trusted.
The next scene starts with the camera going through a dusty, unclean window into a dark smoky bar. This shows the difference between the world of the rich outside, which is shown as bright, clean and exciting and the world of the poor as dark and gloomy. The window is the separation between those two worlds. On top of this, the Titanic can still be seen through the window, which connotes that it’s something the poorer people are aspiring to. In the bar, a few men are playing cards around the table. A close up of the cards shows that they are tattered and worn. This connotes that they have been used a lot and the men playing with them cannot afford a new set. Moreover the men playing are similar to the cards they are playing with. They look tired and worn out. Further into the scene the camera shows the pile of money being gambled on at the centre of the table, it’s not much. The fact the money is in coins suggests they do not own much money and it’s not a large amount. What’s more the money is silver, which is not as rare or as special as gold. All this connotes the men playing are very poor. This is a complete binary opposite of the earlier scene where the man handed notes of money to the usher as if it was no big deal. This suggests richer people use notes. Furthermore when the men win tickets to the Titanic they are clearly extremely excited, similar to the reaction of the little girl who saw the ship, but very dissimilar to Roses reaction as she has been on many ships before and was unimpressed. This is another binary opposite.