Today, we have a double-header! Our good friend, Len Massaar gives us not only his exposition article but a breakdown of V for Vendetta.
Many of you know him as Crossword on TriggerStreet. He’s also the author of A Curious Potpourri blog. Plus, you can find Len here on the IMDB (where you can see his picture)! Hehehe… The first thing Len ever wrote, he sold, and he got his name on the IMDB. It was non-fiction, but as he told me, “I laughed my ass off and had some money to spend. lol I'm a real beginner when it comes to writing fiction. It's a slow plod because I need to find time & focus. But then don't we all?”
He was born in The Netherlands, raised in Australia and Britain (mostly). He’s been in the U.S. since '93. In fact, he lives in L.A. and became a U.S. citizen last year.
Great to know you, Len. Thanks so much for both articles.
* One BAD example of exposition.
This example comes from the Wachowski Brothers' V for Vendetta (2005). You may recall that the entire film has been spent toying with the central question as to whether or not the terrorist known only as "V" will make good on his promise to bomb the Houses of Parliament (set in the future year of 2020). In a key moment in Act 3, two Detectives talk to each other about how heavily fortified the Houses of Parliament are today.
Zoiks! This is our first opportunity to witness the actual response of dictator Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt)... up to now the Fascist government have been in complete public denial that there was a terrorist, that he was alive and then that they took him seriously.
What's worse is that we HAVE to eventually see what they're talking about anyway. The ending pretty much HAS to happen at Parliament anyway and the story wouldn't be believable without our witnessing armed troops.
But the writers/directors didn't want us to see this imagery just yet. To do so would diminish the power (presumably) of our seeing it right at the very end of the movie. So the Detective characters of Finch and his partner yak about it instead, hoping to create suspense and anticipation. Wrong. It wasn't worth the additional 15 minute wait.
* One good VERBAL example of exposition.
This example comes from Kenneth Lonergan's fine You Can Count on Me (2000), a story of a single mother Samantha (Laura Linney) trying to keep it all together and having to put up with a slacker of a younger brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) who makes an impromptu visit to her home in the Catskills.
Before her brother arrives though, an early scene in Act 1 establishes the protagonist Samantha's character well IMHO. While out on a date with her ersatz boyfriend, we see them have dinner and not long after find them in bed, post coitus hehehe. The super polite Samantha thanks Bob (Jon Tenney) for "a lovely evening".
That's it! She's calling the shots and the conclusion to their date is now over and she's moving on to thinking about the next day already. This is probably as vulnerable as she'll allow herself to be right now.
* One good NON-VERBAL example of exposition.
Actually there are two in this scene. My example comes from Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (1968) starring Mia Farrow as the young Rosemary Woodhouse. You may recall that towards the end of Act 3, Rosemary has given birth while heavily sedated but was told her baby had died due to complications.
While watching television, she hears the faint cry of a baby coming from somewhere close. Up to now we have drifted into and out of consciousness along with her... we really have no idea what happened and so now this is our first inkling of proof that the others were lying (e.g. notably her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) and Dr. Sapirstein (Ralph Bellamy) her obstetrician).
Eventually a neighbor enters her room to administer some medication along with a meal. Rosemary pretends to take the tablet but secretly hides it among the brickwork behind her bed. Again we drift in and out and for Rosemary all the days blend together... but the very next time we see her hide her medication, there are about half a dozen tablets secreted into the brickwork.
Friday, August 03, 2007