Essay about Cultural Differences: Witness - Peter Weir: Into the World

709 Words Aug 10th, 2013 3 Pages
The film Witness, directed by Peter Weir portrays the concept of cultural differences between the Amish and the outside world through various film techniques. Weir demonstrates aspects of moving into the world using symbols, characterisation, setting and diegetic and non-diegetic sounds so to convey the significant cultural differences within the film.

The contrast of the Amish and the outside world is expressed in the barn scene. The scene opens with the car, which is a symbol and motif of the outside world. The car is placed in the barn which further demonstrates the contrast of both cultures. It is clear that the car doesn’t belong with the barn, as in Amish culture technology isn’t used, especially cars. As John Book fixes the car
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This is further implied through John singing the lyrics ‘that I love you and I know that if you love me too what a wonderful world this would be’ This indicates the possibility of how things would be if their cultures were more accepting.

The contrasts of both cultures are expressed through the mid shot of both characters as they are caught by Ellie. The car lights shine on Rachel and John, which emphasise that they have been caught in the act and that their actions are ‘immoral’, as the Amish are not to use technology, let alone listen to English music this is further supported by the close up shot of Ellie’s surprised and disappointed expression.

Towards the end of the film, there is a scene which highlights cultural differences. In this scene Rachel and John are saying goodbye as John goes back to the outside world. In this scene, it is demonstrated through the close up shots of both characters gradual smiles and combination of hopeful non-diegetic music, that they have realised and accepted that John doesn’t belong in Rachel’s Amish community and must go back to his world. The cultural differences are made prominent through setting and costuming. The juxtaposition of John’s suit, the land and the bird house emphasises the differences in culture as a suit is typically worn everyday in the modern world for work, however he wears the suit on the natural landscape which signifies his lack of connection to the Amish world. The acceptance of John’s departure

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