My Table Conflict

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The struggle between staying within society’s expectations and the desire to make a commitment to one’s art can be daunting. This dilemma has been questioned for ages. Sometimes society even questions someone who doesn’t quite fit into a norm they believe exists. These conflict or struggle is addressed in Jane Campion’s film, An Angel at My Table. The film is based on a trilogy of autobiographies by Australian author, Janet Frame. Adapted originally for a three part mini-series, the film chronicles Janet’s life from childhood to young adulthood. Throughout the film its director highlights the contest for one person, with immense talent and insecurity, to conform to the social norms of the 30’s, 40’s, and onward. The director’s use of narrations,…show more content…
Laura Jones was enlisted in this task to bring acting and dialogue together. The script from the start aims at expressing what lies ahead. The outspoken word of the characters along with certain actions show a opposition right from the beginning. As told in a voice over in the second scene of the movie; young Janet( Alexia Keogh ) and her family are on a train traveling to there new home. The camera moves to a man in the station who is standing in front of an insane asylum; which by the way, Janet ends up in later. The actor’s facial expressions are made extreme as if to extenuate his assumed mentality. Just then Janet's brother (Mark Thomson) states “that's where all the loonies go”(An Angel at My Table). Through this dialogue and motion the film is setting pace of how the young Jane's life will continue. Micki Nyman in his article, “Interpretation Makes it Real” from Disability Studies Quarterly conveys seeing this also in the film. “She is on the move but constrained by the desires of her family, even as his movement is constrained by his disability, while anchored on the station landing”(Nyman, 1). Through her brother's words and the execution of the actor on the platform the film makes it known that anything out of the ordinary is ridiculed or made fun of. As for the young girl’s budding talent, different family members contradict how Janet should express…show more content…
Janet throughout the film is notably placed in windows. In Mark Cousins book The Story of Film he mentions Campion’s way of making Frame look startled in the film. “Campion and her cinematographer, Stuart Dryburgh, used-wide angle lenses to exaggerate spaces in the film” (Cousins, 708). Her mother frames her face in the first train station scene in order to protect her from the scenes of mental illness out her window. ”Framed by the window Janet is still contained” (Gillet). She is looking outside for what awaits. Her containment within that window can also be viewed as her containment in her mind as far as the community sees it. A positive outlook is asserted in the scenes where Janet is in Spain. In this shots she is sitting in the window while it is wrapped around her. She smiles, alone in her freedom to be who she without restrictions from outer infringements. Finally, the closing scene, the author is home and content to be within that window. Sue Gillet concurs; “She speaks the words she has found to write, comforting words “ (Gillet, 1). Janet Frame is no longer is is confined to was society wants from
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