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Save the Last Dance- Change

            It is an inevitable aspect of human life for individuals and groups to experience change to validate ourselves as unique individuals in any society. "Save the Last Dance" directed by Thomas Carter in 2001, is a film that portrays the changing minds of Sarah Johnson, as she becomes accustomed to living in the predominantly black ghetto society of Chicago where racial segregation exists. These changes and reactions to these changes are presented in the film through visual cinematic techniques such camera shots, recurring motifs and the incorporation of flashbacks. .
             The early flashback of her mother's death establishes Sara's confused and unsettling mind presented through a myriad of scenes and images of the events that led to her ballet audition and consequent death of the her mother. These flashing images with rushing Dutch-tilt window shots of the train passing its surroundings create the mood of unsettling frustration that Sara feels. She blames her mother's death on herself and gives up ballet only possessing a magazine", to which the camera zooms up on, in memory of this part of her life.
             The film utilizes a wide selection of camera shots to portray different meanings and effects to reflect the change of Sara. A change in her physical surroundings is shown in the opening scene where the camera zooms out from a close shot of Sara into a full shot of the train track barriers coming down and making way for the oncoming train. This idea is reinforced by a contrast of the dark and cold city night sky of Chicago and Sara's warm and brightly lit hometown. Sara's shock and uncertainty created by the death of her mother and the awaiting life in Chicago is represented by a close-up of her blank emotionless face staring out into the mise-en-scene of the white clearing of snow. This reemphasizes her changing self as she endures the experiences of life and physical changes in her surrounding.

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