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The Graduate

            The Graduate is a beautifully shot film from the late sixties that chronicles a recent college graduates struggle through life concerning his future, love, and life in general. The film had stunning photography and sharp color contrasts that caught my eye. There were many shots throughout the movie that stood out with a similar theme. Shots involving water usually symbolized Ben's sense of drowning throughout the film. However, shots with windows or some sort of glass usually represented Ben's alienation from his surrounding environment. .
             The first scene after the credits stop rolling, the camera zooms in to show Ben sitting in front of a fish tank in his bedroom. Later that same night, his face is shot through the aquarium as he stares into it. These scenes show Ben's feelings of drowning and a loss of direction in his life. At the bottom of the fish tank we see a plastic deep-sea diver, which foreshadows the next scene involving water. It's Ben's 21st birthday party and he has reluctantly agreed to model his birthday present--a new scuba diving suit. He moves through the crowd of guests and jumps into the pool. He surfaces, but his parents push him back down. They are assisting in his "drowning" this time. To escape them and the rest of the crowd gathered to honor him, he sinks to the bottom of the pool. Another scene where Ben uses the pool to escape his parents is when they suggest that he take Elaine out for a date. Their prodding forces him to slip into the pool and he swims underwater beyond their reach.
             After Ben and Mrs. Robinson's initial affair, there is a montage sequence of images that show either Ben in his pool or in a bedroom (his or at the hotel). Ben enters his house from the pool and the scene jump cuts to him entering the hotel room with Mrs. Robinson. We know this because a hotel towel is placed in the mise-en-scene, hanging from the bathroom door. There is a close-up shot of Ben staring blankly into space.

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