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The significant issue of racial discrimination by the Ku Klux Klan within the southern states of the USA in 1964 is presented to the viewer throughout Mississippi Burning (1988). Along with this issue of racism, the director Alan Parker also illustrates another important issue of corruption within the film. A further sub-issue presented is the powerful effect and pain of murder. Additionally Alan Parker demonstrates justice in the final shots which assembled his resolution. The issues that Alan Parker successfully demonstrates throughout the film attract the viewer’s attention through its entertaining value while enabling the viewer to reflect on the ideas in the context through the techniques demonstrated.
Racism is no dough the primary issue in the film and is most effectively presented though an audio code in the opening shots of the film. After the car with the Black nigro and two White civil rights workers is pulled over by what seems to be police vehicles, one of the police officers points a revolver at a one of the civil rights workers head and pulls the trigger. When tho trigger was pulled, the viewer glimpsed a shot of brains sprayed across the other mans face then the screen went blank. At this time we perceive the sound of the police state “I go me a Nigger”. This introduces racism to the film which is reveals the theme for the remaining context.
Alan Parker illustrates murder best throughout the film through symbolic and technical codes. In the opening shots when the man was killed, the viewer glimpsed the brains across the man’s friend then the screen went blank. The quick altering of transitions represented that the murder was quick and the blank screen is very symbolic of death. The symbolic code was used in the shots when the Black man was hanged in front of the burning church with the fire being symbolic of hell. The close up of the man’s feet swinging from fast then slowing is a symbolic code of body language and was used successfully.
Although corruption is accruing in the opening shots, the most expressive example of it is revealed by an audio code when one FBI agents is viewed singing a song to the other. The song is an anti-blacks White supremacists song. The ironic fact that the people, who are supposed to protect the blacks against violent White supremacists, are White supremacists themselves.
Justice is represented in this film as the resolution. Alan used a combination of a technical and written code to achieve this. He used a technical element of first person view of a photo each with a member of the Ku Klux Klan in it then added a written element by stating their name and sentence. This combination was really successful at summarising the investigation which the movie was based on.
The brilliance of Alan Parker and the issues possessed by the southern states of the USA at 1964 have formed not just entertainment film but a movie that successful makes the viewer think and reflect on the text by the techniques used.
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Racism, Reconstruction Era, Discrimination, White supremacy in the United States, Anti-Catholicism in the United States, Films, Racism in the United States, Ku Klux Klan, Mississippi Burning, White supremacy, Parker
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