Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Tupac - Ghetto Gospel analysis..
This music video is very different to others I have analyised as we do not see the artist perform the song, it is all narrative, this way the audience can purely focus on the story. The song title can be seen as oxymoronic as the words 'ghetto' and 'gospel' do not really go together. One is known to be rough and a place of crime whereas the other is holy and a place of peace. Also the two singers, Tupac and Elton John are very different people, used to working with different genres, ones a black heterosexual and the others a white homosexual, this is known as juxtaposition.
It opens with the diegetic sounds of a woman speaking, a helicoptor and we see flashing lights and a paramedic, these are all codes for crime and trauma. The rain is pouring down which adds to the mood (pathetic fallacy).
The camera is a hand held P.O.V shot which is very realistic and allows us to feel as though we are apart of the crowd. The camera then pans passing through onlooker's legs on ground level and follows a woman towards a young boy laying on the floor, when she reaches him she crouches down and begins to cry, this tells us that he is important to her. This can all be seen as an introduction before the song begins.
As the music starts the woman holds the boy in her arms as she mourns, this is code for loss and heartbreak. The camera then turns to a high angle shot looking down on the scene as though blurred, this gives the effect of crying or even distance, as though he is looking down from heaven which then turns and fades. We are then presented with a wide angle shot of the same boy laying in bed, we are told that it is 9:00am which is backed up by the following shot, the sun rising in the distance over the city, this shot is a code for freedom. We then see a series of astablishing shots of urban lanscapes telling us where he lives.
As the narrative continues we are shown an image of the local church, this is juxtaposition as it doesn't really fit in with the area, as we can already see that we are in a rough city. The shot of a close-up of the boy eating breakfast is a code for normality, to him this is just another day. The next shot we see is a close-up of his mother reading which again is juxtaposition as this shows she is well educated although living in a poor working class area, they are good people who don't belong where they are. The shot of both the young boy and his mum sitting at the table is very significant as it reflects the image on the wall behind them, Jesus and The Last Supper. He may not know it yet but this is also his last 'supper'. We then see a shot of the mother smiling towards her son which tells us that she loves him and is proud of him.
We then see a shot of a gang of boys standing outside the chuch, this is not something you would normally see together, a church is a place of worship whereas gangs are normally associated with crime and danger. Their costume, body language and bars on the church are all codes telling us that they are a gang.We are then told that the day has moved on as it is now 11:42am. After this a close-up of one male passing something to another is presented to us which continues the narrative and we can automatically tell is a drug deal. This is a stereotypical view of gangs.
We now see the boy in the cafe messing around with his friends, this shows popularity and is a code for youthfulness and a playful attitude. We are then given an element on religious iconicgraphy when we see a low angle shot looking up at a statue of angels as if to represent heaven.
After this we see the narrative move on to 4:15pm where we can tell an argument is taking place, the body language of the female is a code for this. On the television we can see Tupac, her movements mimic his. The male character is playing with a young child who we can believe is his son, he is smiling, we see close-ups of his face. These are codes for happiness.
From here the narrative continues and the producer has chosen to show us the couple laying in bed and then present us with a close-up of them holding hands. We can see they are comfortable and happy together, this is a code for love and passion.
We then see a series of images that match the lyrics of the song i.e. 'the lady living out of black bags'.
The male character is then seen to be looking over the city from a rooftop this is a code for power and responsibility. We get a close-up on his face then a long shot, from this we can see he is in deep thought. The audience then see an image of the sun behind his head which gives off the imnpression of him being holy and 'Jesus like', he raises his arms out to the side as if being crucified. These are all codes for peace, religion and hope. He doesn't want to be where he is, he wants to get out. We see a close-up of grafitti on the door as he walks back down through the building, this is a typical stereotype of teenage gangs in this kind of rundown area. We then see a series of establishing images which show a deprived rundown neighbourhood. His body language tells us that he feels trapped and wants to escape. When surrounded by the gang in the next shot, he walks away as though he doesn't want to be a part of it anymore.
As the narrative continues we can tell people are travelling in a car from the close-up of the lights in a tunnel. The images switch from this to the main male character, this gives the impression that they are looking to find him. During this we see an image of him sitting behind bars this relates back to him feeling trapped.
We see the care pull up and his gang all drop to the floor and duck, this represents violence and danger. They all know something wrong is about to happen. As we see the car pull up outside where he is we see him stand up when he notices them. A flash of light represents what is about to happen, he has seen 'his life flash before his eyes'.
After this we see an empty glass fall and its contents splash to the floor, from this we know he has been killed. This represents Jesus with the bread and wine.
The video starts and ends in the same place, with the ambulance, paramedics and a crowd around the body in the street. All this tells us that the rest of the video was a flashback of his last day.
His mother's costume in the next shot is a code for death, she is wearing all black therefore we know she is going to her son's funeral.
As she looks across the street she thinks she has seen him, he touches his hand to his heart, this is a code for love. He has been ressurected to save others which represnts Jesus and his ressurection.