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Monday, 10 January 2011

What interests you about intertextuality in film? Post some examples : RESEARCH ©

Intertextuality: What is it exactly?

Intertextuality is a term mainly used to describe visual referencing between films in media. In literal terms, it is when films 'borrow' certain aspects of other films such as certain edits, mise en scene, and even the same style of music used. It isn't an unusual thing to do, many great films such as What Lies Beneath have taken some aspects from the famous 1960 film Psycho, referencing the shower scene. One of the many joys of intertexting between films is that the viewers get pleasure out of recognising the reference in one media text from another.

One film that many film makers like to reference in their films is Psycho. Psycho is famous for it's shower scene, in that it conveys violence and terror without showing much graphic detail and gore. What makes it unique is the mysterious motherly figure behind the shower curtain, which heightens the fear in the audience. When the victim in the shower falls to the floor, the shower curtain unhooks from the railing, which is a commonly used reference in many films.

The Stepfather, uses part of this scene significantly, even right up to the point where there is a cut away of the shower hooks coming off the rail, as shown here:

As you can see here it is clear that the same camera edit has been used to capture the hooks breaking, apart from a slight low angle from Psycho's original. I find this an interesting concept to use as when viewers recognise a certain feature from a famous film used in another film it heightens their interest in the film and it's context.

Another film that references Psycho is What Lies Beneath, in regards to the shower scene, when the woman is dead in the bathtub. I believe many film makers use this shower scene because it shows how vulnerable people can be when in the shower, due to the fact that when in the shower, you wear no clothes, therefore there is no "security" shield to protect your personal space. In both scenes, the use of the high angle shot of the women, further highlights their vulnerability.

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