An essay analyzing the use of a variety of film techniques in the documentary, "Life And Debt" by Stephanie Black to convey her arguments to the viewer.

Essay by BigJimManHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2006

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In her acclaimed documentary, "Life And Debt", Stephanie Black uses a variety of film techniques to express the complexity of her arguments to the viewer. Using these techniques she conveys the ignorance of the tourists who continuously neglect the noble plight of the Jamaicans who work inhumane hours for inconsiderate, manipulative American corporations just to survive. Among these techniques, she uses Contrasting Image Juxtaposition, suitable interview environments that accurately convey the feeling behind the interview, and an appropriately expressive soundtrack that is relevant to the message of the film.

In Life And Debt, Black makes extensive use of adjacently displayed contrasting images to reveal the unjust and unequal conditions that Jamaica and its inhabitants are subjected to. For example, in one scene, American tourists are shown dancing and doing other recreational physical activities while the native Jamaicans are shown immediately afterwards using their bodies for strenuous work to make enough money to support the lives of themselves and their families.

This parallel contrast reveals the excess of the luxury of the American way of life that was created by undercutting the well being of others. So much excess in fact, that the American tourists have the luxury of spending their physical energy for non-productive enjoyment while ignoring those who are working themselves to the fringe just to survive. Contrasting images are also employed in the beginning of the movie when the serene calm of the natural vegetation of Jamaica is exhibited to represent what tourist expect and see from Jamaica; this calm is then immediately shattered by the roar of helicopter engines, the screams of the Jamaican urbanites, and images of riots in the streets of Jamaica that the tourists are shielded from seeing. This contrast is used effectively to express Black's disgust of the sheltered, oblivious attitudes of the...