Maria Full of Grace and De Nadie: Immigration in Terms of Shots and Angles

Maria Full of Grace is directed by Joshua Marston with Catalina Sandino Moreno and John Alex Toro starring. In the movie Maria Full of Grace, the director represents a variety of shots to describe how various and terrible the processes of immigration for people can be: a full shot when the biker is moving along the street introduces the distance that is between the main character and this young man, and how slowly this distance becomes shorter because of current conditions; a middle shot in the same scene when Maria looks at the biker and realizes that she has the way out of her problems; a long shot may be observed in the plane when stewardesses serve the clients (the idea that they are responsible for immigrants around); a deep focus shot when the officer checks Maria (ability to observe people at the background, officer’s tool, and Maria’s frightened eyes); and a close-up shot of the drug when the dealer give the one to Maria attracts the attention to the object that plays an important role in the whole movie; extreme long shots and extreme close-up shots are not used by the director because this movies touches upon one particular story and issue, and there is no necessity to represent panoramas and close-ups.

The use of examples also deserves attention to comprehend the essence of director’s message to the viewer: a low angle (when Maria kisses the boy and looks at the sky that is so far from them), a high angle (when Maria is sitting on her bed and has to listen to her mother’s cries about her mistake), an eye-level angle (when Maria looks at her boyfriend and wants to find a drop of understanding and love), an oblique angle (when Maris talks to the young man who offers her a job), and bird’s eye angles are hard to define because there are no such scenes where situations require the overall establishing shot.

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De Nadie directed by Tim Dirdamal is the movie about Central Americans who are ready to leave their native countries in order to find better life. First, the variety of shots and their purposes are mentioned: a full shot (when a man comes to the wall at the station in order to change his cloth) helps to define his status and conditions under which he has to work and live; a middle shot (when Jaime Valdez tells about the situation with immigrants) demonstrates that the person has some duties he has to complete and it does not matter what may happen around, he has a responsibility and awareness of some facts and uses his power; a long shot (when an immigrant in the blue sweater waits for the train to start working) shows that a person does not care of environment and has nothing to do but to wait for his work and his destiny; an extreme long shot (when a guard is sitting be the orange building and observes trains passing) introduces the panorama immigrants have to work at; a deep focus (at the beginning of the movie, Maria de Jesus Flores shares her experience and story and people and cars pass by on the background) creates an image of the woman with her eyes full of tears who knows what happens around but who does not have any powers to resist these problems; a close-up shot (when a man talks to the phone at the street) helps to focus on his emotions and worry about the situation he gets into; and finally, an extreme close-up shot (the same scene of a man talking to the phone) demonstrates director’s focus on the man’s lips in order to introduce how disappointed this person about the situation is.

The use of angles also becomes a helpful tool to evaluate the idea of immigration and human frustrations because of it. Different types of angles perform different functions in the movie: a low angle (when a young man tells a story of Tierra Blanca) is used to make the observation of his face traits possible; a high angle (the observation of the immigrant in the white shirt sitting by the wall) helps to recognize the conditions under which immigrants live; an eye-level angle (use almost in all scenes when the director communicates with immigrants) helps to create proper conditions for talks; a bird-level angle (the man sitting by the orange building) promotes the viewer with an opportunity to look at the panorama of the place where immigrants earn for living; and finally, an oblique angle (a visit to the hospital to Jose Medina) helps to hide the most disgusting things because of which the boy suffers.

The life of immigrants is not safe, and these people have to use any opportunity available to them and to improve the conditions they live under. It is not always possible, and such cinema techniques as shots and angles in the movies prove this cruel reality.


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