In this clip, the disabled person (Blake) is perceived as weaker than the so-called ‘normal’ characters. Blake is represented as somewhat of an outcast, like disabled people usually are, not understanding/get to know everything going on around them. Blake’s disability is very seen as a tabu subject in this clip, and as something the other characters avoid speaking about. This is because the representation of someone disabled is quite often that they are dumber than the average person (thus, we avoid speaking about it to be polite). Blake is also represented as helpless, as he relies on other people to ‘survive’ in the world they live in.
A high angle shot is used when filming Blake person, to represent him as the weaker one whilst others are filmed from a low angle shot or eye level shot, making them look more powerful and in control. A 2 shot is also used to show his dad is his caretaker; someone he needs and relies on to get by on a daily basis. This is a very good example of the ‘helplessness’ being represented in this clip. Long distance shots are used frequently in the clip to establish the spacious apartment the characters find themselves in, as well as to make us focus on elements of Mise en Scène, such as the props, for example the red big bed, curtains and everything else that makes the room romantic. This makes Blake seem out of place, as his surroundings are not where you would normally expect to see him, tying in with the outcast assumption of disability.
Subtle blurriness is used to represent the element of romance in the clip. The tone and ambient lighting used in the clip also represents this romantic touch, still keeping the disabled person as the weaker individual by connoting that the woman (the romantic influence in the clip) is powerful, that her sexuality is raw and stronger than the disabled one, tying in with the representation of disabled people being weaker than your average/healthy individual would be. We can see a match on action being used when Blake’s father places him into the bed, as well as an eyeline match combined with match on action when he kisses him on the head, to reinforce that Blake is taken care of by his father (that he depends on others). Long takes are also used throughout the clip to establish the awkwardness, as well as the tabu element to the clip. Combined with the eyeline match of the woman, Blake’s father and Blake exchanging looks, the long takes create a uncomfortable ambiance, reinforcing the tabu issue.
Sound and Music:
Softspoken, discreet language is used when speaking about Blake’s disability to represent the element of tabu. The dialogue leaves key words out and simply starts the question (eg. “Have you talked about the..?”) and leaves it unfinished, yet finished enough for us to realise what they are referring to. As said, this represents the tabu element, but also the idea of disabled people being slightly dumber/slower. A sad score, in minor key, plays throughout to represent the hardships Blake feels because of his disability, making us have sympathy for him. This non-diegetic score helps reinforce and represent the disabled boy’s helplessness, making us understand him and his emotional state more.
For most of the clip, no score is heard, which itself stands to make a statement. Not only does it make us focus on what the characters are saying, but also has an effect on the discomfort of the situation of the clip. What the characters are doing is tabu to disability, they rarely speak about it in a upfront manor, and Blake is most likely to be seen silent, making him seen unaware and unable to be like everybody else.
Mise en Scène:
The main character, Blake, is filmed under a pale whitish hue to emphasise his disability/’illness’. Looking closely at the clip, we can see that nobody else is displayed under the same kind of light; everyone else has a warmer hue around them. Not only does this connote to the element of him being different, or an outcast, but also that he is weaker is reinforced here. An obvious representation of disability within Mise en Scène is the wheelchair – distinguishing the disabled character right out of the crowd. The wheelchair sums up most of the representations at once; he is different for having a wheelchair, thus an outcast. He needs help to be fully mobile, so he is helpless. The people around him avoid speaking about the wheelchair around him, which shows us it is a tabu subject. Finally, as he is not able to access every area a normal person would be able to access because of his wheelchair/disability, we can safely assume he would not know of everything a so-called normal person would know of.
In conclusion, this clip gives us a pretty standardised representation of disability, with the exception of the element of romance/sexuality. All the four technical areas are used to represent the stereotypes discussed in the introduction.