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Reflection on Cinematography in “The Hitch-Hiker” and “Killer Kiss.”

The Hitch-Hiker

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The cinematography in this film captures the noir aesthetics and elements throughout the film. One particular shot that is a prime example of this is when we see the two men in the front seat in full lighting while Myers’ face is cast in shadow as he sits in the back seat. Film noir focuses on creating a suspenseful story and this manipulation of lighting builds this kind of tension by having him be an unknown figure to the two men. In a way, this can be seen as almost dramatic irony since the viewers know that the man in the back is the villainous, murderous hitch-hiker. Darkness as a symbol is an obvious representation of an unknown or even an evil, which placing Myers in shadows allows viewers to get this notion quickly. Also this is in a medium shot, suggesting the close relationship the two men in the front seat share. With the placement of Myers in between them in the back seat, it could be left to interpretation that perhaps Myers will threaten to come between them and their trust in one another. This is present when Roy later punches Gilbert in the face as he goes to attack Myers when he catches them trying to escape. Which leads mehitch hiker
to discuss a particular shot that occurs just before the men are caught by Myers. It is a point of view shot from Myers’ perspective as he chases down the men with the car. The main lighting used is from the headlights of the car shining down on the men, serving as a spotlight. In a sense, this can be perceived as a predator-prey relationship, Myers hunting down the men as he drives the vehicle towards them. Also, this point of view shot can suggest a dominance or power Myers has in this moment since he has the potential to run down Roy and Gilbert (we later find he chooses not to only to trail them along more). Suspense is created in the way that the viewers fear for the well-being of the men being chased down the road.

Killer Kiss

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Dealing with cinematography in the film “Killer Kiss,” there are prominent elements that can suggest film noir. In one shot of Vincent, the window blinds cast lines along his figure as he stands in front of the television in a medium shot. This is a common feature in film noir to utilize blinds while lighting. Also, this low-key lighting allows his figure to cast a shadow on the wall behind him, creating the sense of him being a dark character. The next shot that show aspects of film noir is the shot when Vincent’s bouncers are trapping Davey’s manager in the alley. The men are placed in a long shot with low-key lighting that cast all three of them in full shadow and darkness; the source of light comes from the back of the alleyway creating this darkness. The choice to place all of them in this darkness could be to create a more ominous mood to this moment as the manager is slowly being led into the alleyway, farther from escape. A predator-prey relationship is suggested here as well since the manager is slowly stalked to the end of the alley, where he is executed killer kiss 2by the bouncers. One other idea I personally had about the choice to use this kind of low-key lighting was to possibly allude to the notion that no one literally saw this crime occur and it made it easier to pin the murder on Davey since no one would be able to identify the bouncers as the killers. The final shot that shows noir elements is the shot where Gloria is tied up and the overhead light shines on her face. These interrogation shots are typically found in film noir when someone is being questioned by a detective, yet it may be used here to show that Gloria’s intentions are being put in question by Vincent, showing his distrust in her. It is captured in a medium close up and the lighting overhead allows her and the bouncer untying the ropes behind her to have their expressions read by the viewers. It is important that this was filmed this way because it is unknown as to whether or not the bouncer behind her would be deceitful and signal to the other bouncer to attack Davey and Gloria being placed here for the viewers to question whose side she will go to.killer kiss 3


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