‘Elephant’ is a film directed and written by Gus Van Sant and was inspired by a real incident that took place in 1999. The term “elephant” here is taken from the phrase “Elephant in the room” which means a significant issue that people overlook or do not resolve. The issue (elephant) here is high school shootings in America. Elephant is a serene, yet haunting experience that leaves viewers with a “spirit-crushing ennui” that images American culture (Zwick 2004).
The movie tracks a handful of students in an ordinary, modern-day American high school as they go about their seemingly routine-oriented day. It records extensive events in a documentary-like form in which it follows around students as they walk down long, locker-lined hallways and partake in their mundane conversations. Van Sant creates enough characters to fulfill each high school stereotype from the dorky girl to the bulimic popular girls to the jock. It gives us a brief glimpse into each student’s personality/interests. None of the students really have a connection with each other and if they do, it is mostly of the superficial kind. The scenes are shot at a slow pace and in a way that time periods overlap and the same events are viewed at a different perspective. All looks to be normal as the day unfolds yet an ominous undertone is always present from the foreshadowing that is done (Willmington). Unbeknownst to the student body, two specific students (Eric and Alex) who happen to have been bullied at their