24th August 2017

Film Assessment Notes

General Aung San is assassinated


What is happening in this scene?

  • General Aung San is being assassinated for his role in organising a democratic government within Burma. The militarial leader of Burma, U Saw, sees Aung San as a threat and ordered his death along with the entirety of his council.
  • Rangoon 19 July 1947
  • 6 cabinet members including his brother were killed
  • In parliament building
  • Discussing Burma’s independence from the British

What do you see? (visual techniques)

  • Point of view, close up shot at the back of  Aung San’s head walking into the council room.
  • ‘Soldier’ in the building put their red scarves on, symbolises communism and the presence of a dictatorship. Mid shot.
  • Birds eye shot of all of the council members once they have been shot with the blood obvious all over the walls and the floor which symbolises the presence of communism.
  • General Aung San is very calm as he is approached with the gunman and just stands his ground and doesn’t act against the soldier in any way.
  • Two close up shots of the main soldier’s face and the gun in his hand as he repeatedly shoots Aung San in the chest to brutally eliminate the presence of democracy and also symbolises the fall of the country’s well being.
  • Close up shot on the main soldier’s face as he watches the guards leave the council chamber and he looks around to make sure nobody is watching him.
  • The council members toast to democracy before being assassinated. They never get to drink the tea and therefore democracy is never fully established.
  • The wide shot of the council members shows the absolute fear on their faces as they are faced with their fate.
  • Slow motion shot when the main soldier bursts through the door brandishing the pistol and a mid shot shows the hate and the hostility on his face.
  • The foyer is very dark and dirty whereas the council chamber is very light and clean symbolising that democracy is a fresh start for Burma but the rebels are dirty and sweaty which symbolises they want to remain in the dysfunctional environment of militarial leadership.
  • A map of Burma on the wall in the council chamber to symbolise that Burma is the centre of focus for the council and all of their attention is focused on improving the country.
  • British flag with peacock. Symbolises the unity between Britain and Burma.
  • Tea cups are all red.
  • Scene before…. Her father gave her a flower that she continues to wear in the years to come

What do you hear? (verbal techniques)

  • Silence before the soldier finishes his cigarette. “Calm before the storm”
  • Tension building music with shakers and drums and a whiplash noise in the background as the soldiers begin to meet up in the foyer. Volume increases as the soldiers approach the council chamber.
  • Pan flute. Eerie, sad music plays as Aung San is approached by the gunman. It stops once Aung San is shot and the real life sounds of gunshots and yelling is returned.
  • “The main priority is to form a government. It’s crucial that the people participate if we are to establish a genuine democracy.”
  • Shouts of fear and shock when the soldiers burst through the door.

Consider how any of the details you have listed reflect Luc Besson’s auteur style. List the connections.

  • There is only one significant quote in the entire scene which signifies the cinema du look of the film and Luc Besson’s style.
  • Actions are extreme.
  • General Aung San does not fit easily into the conformist ways. In fact he is completely opposite the present government as he is trying to change the way of the country.
  • Authority is displayed as ruthless.
  • Authorities are young and often mindless. The soldiers who commit the assassinations are young and probably ordered to carry through with the actions. They believe that they are doing this for ‘the good of the country’.


Aung San Suu Kyi is confronted by the military at an NLFD rally

1) Where is this scene set?

  • Rangoon – streets

2) What is happening in this scene?

3) Who is involved?

  • Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters from the university and the NLFD
  • Military

4) What significant film techniques do you see?

  • Wide shot of the NLFD flag being hung in front of the building. Flag is red which is ironic because red symbolises communism and the dictatorship within Burma. It also symbolises the change in communism and change.
  • Close up of painted portraits of Suu being hung up. Views her speaking with a microphone at another rally or something similar.
  • Mid shot of university member setting up microphone for Suu. In the background you can see the setting of the back streets where the rally is going to be held. Suu is willing to go to the people to share her message.
  • Wide shot of the military approaching the group. The university members are very confused and anxious, they are trying to politely talk about what is happening but the military takes a strong stand. The group is surrounded by military.
  • Green uniform with red scarves for military and clean, crisp, pale white, yellow and orange colours of clothing for the group.
  • Low shot of the banner being ripped down. Signifies the hate for the NLFD and the effort to remove them from the country.
  • Over the shoulder shot of the group being rounded up by the military.
  • Close up of a soldier standing calmly watching over the happenings
  • Long shot of Suu greeting all of the people who came to the rally, followed by her supporters from the NLFD and from the university.
  • The people that Suu has meet yet are covered in darkness but the people following her are basked in light.
  • Wide shot of the commander ordering the soldiers to get in line with their guns. All of the soldiers’ eyes are downcast and they don’t make eye contact with the commander or with Suu.
  • The darker green of his uniform signifies that he has a higher position than the other soldiers
  • Mid shot of Suu walking calmly toward the gunmen
  • Mid shot of the commander behind the soldiers ordering them to “Prepare to fire!”
  • Wide shot of all the soldiers with their guns aimed at Suu. Ironic that it takes so many soldiers to take down one small women.
  • Wide/mid shot of Suu ordering her people to continue calmly and not be frightened of the soldiers.
  • Over shoulder shot of Suu walking towards the soldiers.
  • Burmese culture… flowers.
  • Close up of Suu’s face as she calmly walks towards gunmen. Shows determination and fear but also acceptance of fate. She closes her eyes expecting to be shot.
  • Close/mid shot of the commander shaking as he is prepared to shoot Suu with his handgun. There is another row of soldiers behind him to ‘protect’ or serve as back up.
  • Flash back to her father’s assassination when General Aung San closes his eyes before he is shot.
  • Wide shot of Suu becoming level with the guns and continuing to just walk past them to the commander.
  • Slow motion as Suu approaches the commander.

5) What significant film techniques do you hear?

  • Trucks arriving and yelling from soldiers.
  • “No public meetings allowed! Go back home!”
  • People clapping for Suu as she walks
  • “No, just ignore them. We will continue in a calm and orderly fashion.”
  • “Turn back! That’s an order!”
  • Eerie pan flute music to create suspense as she walks towards the gunmen. Some percussion in there too to create drama.
  • “Stop right there or we will shoot!”
  • Commander counts down from three but is interrupted.
  • “Stop! Let them go! We are pulling out!”
  • Pan flutes drown out all diegetic noise and you are able to see the commander shouting orders from no sound is heard. -*
  • “Sucking” sound as Suu escapes the flash back from her father
  • Clicks are the guns are all raised
  • Percussion for example drums start to beat as Suu decides to walk towards the guns

6) Are there aspects of this scene that relate to Luc Besson’s auteur style (attached)? Make the connections in your own words.

  • In the significant aspect of the scene there is hardly any sound, the whole scene relies on your visual appreciation.
  • Actions are extreme.
  • Suu is completely contrasting the soldiers and the commander.


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