Hoop Dreams Analysis

2621 Words Jan 26th, 2013 11 Pages
Lorenzo de Medici

Film Analysis: Hoop Dreams (1994)

Written by Ann Kelsey
Cinema of the Real: Documentary Films
Paolo Grassini
December 5, 2012

The 1994 Documentary, Hoop Dreams, directed by Steve James, is a masterful display of human drama. The story-line is so captivating and theatrical that it seems crafted from fiction. The Documentary boasts cinematic techniques and private investigating that rivals most film of this time period. The film follows the high school careers of two boys from the Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago. The aggressive authenticity of cinema verite does not only peek through in character emotion, but film’s beginning came together naturally. James tells Robert Ebert in 2009, "A
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In contrast with interviews that James conducts as a source or witness, in which he sets the mise-en-scene, James tends to keep the camera true-to-life with the mother (Bellour, 50). James maintains a shaky camera technique to solidify his position as “the eye looking into their world.” During panning or other establishing shots, narrated sequences, and interviews with characters, a tripod is used to separate those moments from the story. Although not entirely non-diegetic, the interviews are spaces in the film shot outside of the story. The audience is given confirmation of how William and Arthur must be feeling during this time, allowing character development. Along with the ethical concerns of not tampering with reality, aesthetic efforts during the interviews was necessary to separate them from reality (Ellis, 222) Arthur's mother, Sheila Agee, was a symbolic representation re-occurring themes; strength within struggle (IMDb). Her character acts as more then a ‘rock’ for her family, but the struggle of her reality gave character authenticity, adding to film credibility. Institutions of Education and Financial policies act as the antagonists. The films hero, suitably so because our society draws a parallel between hero and mother, is Sheila. Ryan intentionally displayed her character in abundance. She stood as the

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