Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The filmmaker uses visual and sound elements to give the viewer insights into the way Powerplay is expressed and used in "1984". The term Powerplay is the ability to enforce power over others and the tactics that are employed to influence, manipulate and control society. Sound and Visual elements are used to enforce this. These include costumes, positioning of characters, gestures, facial expressions, props, lighting, camera work, voices, tones and sound effects.

This scene was set in the Ministry of Love. Immediately you could distinguish who had the power and who was in control through the costumes that were worn. The guards or police were dressed in full military, dark navy, badged uniforms which distinctively expressed their power held in contrast to Winston who was dressed in a grey, grubby, ragged tee shirt and pants.

Positioning of characters was also a significant factor in this film which demonstrates Powerplay.

O'Brien was never seen on the same level of Winston. O'Brien was always seen in this scene looking over Winston and Winston having to look up to him. This visually shows the superiority and authority that O'Brien has over Winston.

Camera work and angles also help to sense this feeling, such as, the camera always looking up to O'Brien, revealing again the authority and power O'Brien has. The angle gives an insight to the audience of what each character is feeling and how they see things, as the viewer is also looking up to O'Brien and always looking down upon Winston, Therefore helping us to also understand this concept of power and where one stands. The camera also shows close ups of Winston, which emphasises the struggle and suffering that he is going through. It also shows medium range shots when Winston is lying on the electrocution table. The fact that Winston is on the table held under restraints also shows who has the control over whom.

The lighting also employs Powerplay. O'Brien face is half lit, half covered in shadow, and using a technique where the light is coming from underneath at an angle. This gives the character a mysterious, forceful and strong look.

Also, through a visual technique, where the camera unfocussed the four fingers when O'Brien asks Winston how many fingers he is holding, It is seen from Winstons point of view and we can see Powerplay being used as Winston is being demoralised and is obedient. He realises that there is only one way that things will be done, which is the inner parties way, which is shown through his gestures, tone of voice and facial expressions.

Facial expressions of Winston illustrated that he was drowned out, in pain and it was as if he was saying that he knew there was no or will be no freedom. He knew from now on he would be terrorized and influenced by the Inner party, who exercised tactics to gain control over people just like Winston. O'Briens facials differed significantly to Winstons. His face was stern and he maintained this look and it rarely was altered. He looked very calm opposed to Winston who looked nervous, and his nervousness suggested the control O'Brien had over him.

The voices of these characters also gives evidence as to who has the power and who uses it to gain control. O'Briens voice is deep and powerful and surprisingly calming. He speaks slowly so you can understand him. This makes him sound very formal and overpowering. The language he uses in extremely intellectual and formal. This conveys a message of power over another. Winstons voice is very quiet and he has terror in the way he speaks. His tone is very emotional and fearful and we can recognise that he is under influence and has been manipulated and taken control over.

Elements such as costumes, positioning of characters, lighting, voices and tones are all illustrations of powerplay in "1984". It is through these visual and sound elements we can see Winston being crushed and O'Brien manipulating and influencing, and using these tactics to eventually gain control over Winston and others.

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