Monday, 7 May 2012

Representation of ethnicity in hotel babylon

The clip begins with a medium shot of the immigration officer and two policemen beside him, all three being Caucasian. These men are shown to be the danger in this clip due to the mise en scene of their clothing, creating authority and power, and the tone of voice sounds serious. The medium shot also allows the viewers to establish who they are and it is also stereotypical that the authoritative figures are from a white background and creates a superior feeling for these characters. The sound also builds the tension of the scene due to the non diegetic soundtrack complementing the men walking towards the member of staff at the hotel. It is common to use such a soundtrack as the audience would connotate this with some intense action that's about to follow. Furthermore, the focus, for now, is mainly on the immigration officer and we can tell this though the use of editing. A tracking shot of the officer walking towards the lady and the over the shoulder shot of their conversation emphasizes the importance of the man and thus increasing their power, representing ethnicity in a stereotypical manner.

There is also a positive representation of ethnicity from the scene where the black and white men are sitting, showing that their ethnic backgrounds does not matter and the two can integrate without any problems. However, the black man leaves and starts running down the stairs, which may show that his ethnic background is subordinate as he does the running around whereas the white man is still sitting in his seat upstairs.

The scene continues on to a panning shot of the black man running as he then tells Jackie about the immigration officers. Jackie is shown to be talented as she communicates to the illegal workers in their own different languages, and she is also from an ethnic minority, showing an atypical view of her ethnic background. She is attempting to save the workers from immigration and this is shown through a number of shots, some being a panning shot and medium shots. The mise en scene of the workers hurriedly running, the fast paced, tense soundtrack returning and Jackie shouting, all adds to the representation of inferior ethnic backgrounds. The long shot of Jackie and the workers running in the corridor is shown behind some sort of caged door, adding a sense that the workers are trapped and are in desperate need of help, which Jackie is attempting to provide them. The shouting workers are all talking in their language, further emphasising a subordinate ethnic background.

Another positive representation of ethnicity is that one black man in the room full of the illegal workers identifies the diabetic women's problem after she faints, showing that the ethnic minority are not all uneducated or useless. He talks about how to get the sugar into her body as fast as possible, showing a brighter side to the ethnic minority. Also, the worried faces of all the workers is supposed to make the audience empathize with the ethnic minority, which adds to the sympathy created for the workers.

The scene of Ibrahim getting caught is where the audience should most sympathize for the ethnic minority as he is shown through a close up to be innocent and doing his work and then he gets interrupted by the 'villains' who then take him away. This is shown by editing by changing focus of the character.
 The scene ends with the immigration officer looking down on the hover as the camera pans downwards. This could show that the officer looks down on the ethnic minority, further representing ethnic minorities in an inferior way.

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