Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo is a children’s volume that talks about a young man called Hugo who lived in the streets of the Paris. The survival of this young man depends of the secrets and the ambiguity. However, this life is unveiled by his relationship with a girl who was the owner of the toy booth in the street. The images in the publication are etched with a pencil relying on the creation of light and dark areas in black and white hues to create the narrative’s plot thus explaining the life of the Hugo and Evan Tylor. Selznick infuses the use of words very sparingly in the publication creating an allusion of a still picture film instilling a significant variation in children’s publication. The picture presentations in the book are a reminiscent of earlier film works that lacked both sound and color yet with the use of good camera work in terms of shots and angles, and minimal subtitles, the desired message was succinctly passed along to the audience.
From the text, Selznick uses shades and the creation of light and dark areas to portray contrast in the life of Hugo and Evan Tylor. In addition, it creates the plot for the story this is also evident in the film August Rush. The movie August Rush also has diversity in the shots, angles, shades and lights used in it to create distinct effects of specific scenes that are important in viewing the live perspective of Hugo and Evans Tylor. The film is involves other characters such as characters Louis and Lyla who help in bringing the story of Hugo and Evans Tylor. Lyla is a beautiful and renowned cellist and Louis is a professional bass player in a club. Lyla and Louis fall in love when they meet each other while playing music. The two are forced to separate due to different lives that they lead though they conceive together. Lyla is involved in an accident and gives birth to Evan Tylor who is filed for adoption by his grandfather behind his mother’s back. This action shows the deception that surrounds the birth of the two characters which are Hugo and Evans Tyler.
Both Louis and Lyla give up music and later on, their son finds his way to New York in search of his parents. While in New York, he realizes his talent as a musician though he encounters a few troubles and conmen. He finally runs to church for solace and the church sponsors his tuition in the best music school in New York after noticing his talent in music. Meanwhile, Louis and Lyla begin playing music again and the three meet in a concert where all of them played and reunite. This shows the compatibility concept between Hugo and Evan Tyler in terms of adapting. These events are put together in a classic mix of shots, angles, shades and lights that help the viewer and the director of the movie to express and explain key aspects of the movie.
For instance, the film exhibits a diverse mix of camera shots that has been associated with each character and angles that offer an appreciation of the same with regard to Selznick’s publication. In this way, we are able to determine the resembling character in the pay. This is depicted when a long shot of the city of New York allows the viewer to appreciate the interaction of the water line and the towers before a focus point is achieved. Another example can be seen at the close-up shot of Lyla during her performance on the cello during the concert uses the aspect of lighting to draw the attention to her as the central figure in the performance. Her dressing also draws attention towards her. Lyla is in white attire while the rest of the orchestra members are in black creating contrast (August Rush 2007). An example of a birds eye view perspective is evidenced in the scene where Lyla and Louis sleep together in a couch prior to their son’s conception. Another close up shot is used when the camera zooms in from the middle view and onto Lyla’s stomach to reveal that she is pregnant.
The use of these different shades and camera angles indeed enhance the understanding of the film together with the text since contrast is created and with its clarity is achieved. Selznick’s publication applies the same concepts. The initial chapter begins with the caption ‘The Thief’ and a picture of a glowing full moon probably taken on a close-up shot as it has filled the whole drawing space and parts of it appear to be left out. This creates the effect of drawing attention to the nighttime associated with thieves and the reader knows that the thief is the subject matter. Selznick use of camera spans amazingly transforms the picture work with the subsequent image focusing on sunrise in Paris; the span is indicated by the fact that, in the third picture, the Eiffel Tower appears at the left side of the drawing while in the other picture it is on the right side. This effect gives the idea of the sunrise. Again, the use of the different angles gives difference and clarity to the picture.
The different visual designs and elements used are supplemented by text as used in Selznick’s book to enhance characterization. He uses the text to explain briefly some of the pictures in the book to enhance clarity and make the reader to understand the text better. A close-up image of Hugo is seen from the text during the scene at the shop. Selznick creates this effect to create emphasis on the boy. A section of written words follows and the audience learns that Hugo is the thief referred to in the title of the book and the woman shopkeeper catches him in the act of stealing. The two main characters Hugo and Evan Tylor do not have many similarities and thus a comparison can hardly be drawn from their personalities and the roles they play in both works (Selznick, 2007).
Selznick’s use of filming techniques in the creation of Hugo’s story is commendable as it aids the audience in creating a diverse relationship with the environment, emotions and setting used to enhance the story’s plot. However, these aspects can only be truly appreciated with the knowledge of filming techniques with regard to shots, angles and camera positions, which could have enhanced the plot development and characterization aspect of Evan Tylor and Hugo.
August Rush. Dir. Kirsten Sheridan. Odyssey Entertainment, 2007. Film.
Selznick, Brian. The invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2007. Print.
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