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Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash” Essay

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Updated: Sep 14th, 2021

Crash is an Academy Award-winning drama film directed by Paul Haggis. It was first seen at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2004, and was discharged globally in 2005. The film is about racial and social pressures in Los Angeles. A self-imaged “fervor piece” for director Paul Haggis, Crash was motivated by a real life occurrence in which his Porsche was carjacked outside a video store on Wilshire Boulevard in 1991. It won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing of 2005 at the 78th Academy Awards.

The film reveals a few characters living in Los Angeles during period of 36 hours and brings them together by the means of car accidents, shootings, and carjacks. Most of the characters represented in the film are ethnically prejudiced in some way and turned to be involved in divergences which force them to inspect their own prejudices. Through these characters’ relations, the film seeks to portray and inspect not only racial nervousness, but also the coldness between foreigners in general. Crash is often contrasted with Babel, for both movies show the lives of dissimilar personalities and shows how their lives interweave and both film deal with major matters in nowadays’ society.

Novel, which was adapted in 1996, is by English author J. G. Ballard, first published in 1973. It is a story about car-crash and sexual and racial prejudice: its characters turn to be sexually provoked by staging and participating in very real car-crashes, often with very real consequences. Ballard uses a cold and disconnected language, giving some the intuition of an engineering report or a medicinal journal.

While comparing the adaptation with the original novel, first of all it is necessary to mention, that inspite of the similarity of main ideas in the movie and in the novel, the dissimilarity of authors’ accents is rather sensitive. Thus, Paul Haggis (director of the movie) was “inspired” for the film after personal experience of car crash. The book was taken as the basis of the script as the suitable background for depicting matters of sexual and racial prejudice, as it is known, that all vile features of people reveal only in danger, or in need.

Crash is not, as many have alleged, an erotic movie. Though it has lots of sex scenes, most are shot from the waist up. Moreover, Crash has much more on its mind than the normal stag film. All of the upset that Crash has reasoned only confirms to its authority. Distorted though they may seem, it’s clear that the images and themes of Crash hit a little too close to home.

Technically, Crash is top notch in every respectas we’ve come to expect from Cronenberg. The car accidents are brilliantly staged, as are the sex scenes. But those viewers expecting to see something along the lines of Cronenberg’s earlier films are bound to be disappointed.

Crash is unrivaled, even in Cronenberg’s already unique filmography. But then, as bizarre as it is, perhaps Cronenberg’s greatest achievement here is the unsettling familiarity of his images: babes stroking auto parts, sex in the back seat of a convertible, car chases, car crashes…all well-known to us from thousands of movies and television commercials. This, then, is Crash ‘s most disconcerting qualityit deals with fantasies we’ve already had.

Genre analysis

Minority Report is a 2002 science fiction film by Steven Spielberg, droopily grounded on the Philip K. Dick short narration under the same name. It is set in Washington D.C. in the year 2054, where a special police subdivision called “pre-crime” arrests criminals based on foreknowledge, offered by three psychics defined “pre-components”. The film stars Tom Cruise as John Anderton, a pre-crime officer, who heads the pre-crime control power. Colin Farrell plays Danny Witwer, an agent from the Department of Justice who is sent to scrutinize the procedure, Samantha Morton depicts the senior pre-cog Agatha, and Max von Sydow plays Lamar Burgess, Anderton’s senior. It is one of a few movies grounded on stories by Philip K. Dick.

Sci-fi is a popular contemporary subdivision of prose literature that discovers the credible consequences of some unlikely or impossible change of the basic situations of individual (or bright non‐human) existing. This alteration need not be brought about by a technical discovery, but may involve some mutation of known biological or physical reality, e.g. time travel, extraterrestrial invasion, environmental disaster. Science fiction is a kind of fictional fantasy or romance that often draws upon earlier kinds of utopian and apocalyptic writing.

The term itself was first known general coinage by Hugo Gernsback, editor of the American magazine Amazing Stories from 1926 beyond, and it is usually shortened to SF; previous to this, such works were called ‘scientific romances’ by H. Wells and others. numerous early patterns have been asserted for the genre — particularly Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) — but true contemporary science fiction starts with Jules Verne’s Voyage au centre de la terre (1864) and H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895).

Just the once equally sent away as pulp trash, SF gained greater admiration during the 1950s, as authors like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke increased its range. SF has also had a significant power on postmodernist literature by writers not applied to this genre alone: Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Doris Lessing, and Italo Calvino are noteworthy instances.

Distinctions

Crossgenre stories defy easy differences between science fiction and other types, such as fantasy (“if it’s psychic power, it’s science fiction; if it’s magic, it’s fantasy”). Christopher Stasheff’s Warlock in Spite of Himself series, for instance, places a space-traveling agent on a planet apparently populated by witches, werewolves, and other fantasy beings. Such novels may also blend discipline fiction and legend, mystery, anticipation, and even Westerns.

Hard science fiction is driven more by ideas than characterization. Plausible science and technology are central to the plot. If your story is set on a lunar colony, for example, issues of technology may be of greater concern than a character’s personal life. To write effectively in this subgenre, an author must generally have a good grasp of the scientific principles involved. Much classic science fiction, including the earlier works of Asimov and Heinlein, fall into this category.

Light/humorous science fiction may occur within any of these subgenres, or (often) spoof a subgenre. Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the best-known examples of humorous science fiction.

Military science fiction looks at combat in future locations (space, another planet), against a range of opponents (modified humans, aliens, machines), with futuristic, high-tech weaponry (including genetically modified soldiers). While some military science fiction asks “how fast can we blast the bugs?” (Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers), many authors use this subgenre to address anti-war themes. David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers series explores both the heroism and the carnage of warfare.

Near-future science fiction takes place in the present day or in the next few decades. Elements of the setting should be familiar to the reader, and the technology may be current or in development. Stories about nanotechnology or genetics, such as Greg Bear’s Blood Music, often fall into this category.

Science fantasy/future fantasy, rare now but popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, alters, breaks, or ignores known laws or scientific theories for the sake of the story. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels (set on Mars) are a good example.

Full metal jacket

There is no need to give the full text of the plot, but it is necessary to note, that the use of the listed effects are essential for such movie. It is psychologically hard, and tracking, close ups, high angles are used:

  • Extreme close up: Focuses on a single facial feature, such as lips and eyes.
  • Close-up: May be used to show tension.

But shooting an extreme close-up also means dealing with a great challenge: a surprisingly narrow depth of field (what’s in sharp focus from front to back in the final image).

Tracking shot (also known as a dolly shot or trucking shot) is a segment in which the camera is mounted on a wheeled platform that is pushed on rails while the picture is being taken. The tracking shot can be combined with other movements. If there is a crane mounted on the dolly, the camera can rise or fall while tracking. The camera can zoom and dolly at the same time — known as the “dolly zoom”, although its inventor, Irmin Roberts, named it the “zolly”. There are cases where an operator carrying a camera is dollied for part of the shot and then smoothly dismounts to continue the movement while walking.

Tracking shots and Steadicam shots are both sometimes confused with zooms, but it should be noted that they typically look subtly different. A zoom simply magnifies part of the image by moving a lens within the camera; a tracking shot or Steadicam shot involves moving the entire camera. The difference in apparent position caused by the change in focal length will often be so subtle as to go unnoticed. For that reason, any shot showing parallax will typically not be the result of simply zooming in or out (though the camera operator may of course zoom in or out while tracking).

The 2003 film Biker Boyz opens with an extended tracking shot that moves in and out of buildings and around a parking lot filled with motorcyclists. Though the film was largely panned by critics at the time of its release, the opening sequence has since been cited by many film enthusiasts as being a brilliant utilization of the technique.

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IvyPanda. (2021, September 14). Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/haggis-screen-adaptation-of-ballards-crash/

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"Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”." IvyPanda, 14 Sept. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/haggis-screen-adaptation-of-ballards-crash/.

1. IvyPanda. "Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”." September 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/haggis-screen-adaptation-of-ballards-crash/.


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IvyPanda. "Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”." September 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/haggis-screen-adaptation-of-ballards-crash/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”." September 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/haggis-screen-adaptation-of-ballards-crash/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Haggis’ Screen Adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash”'. 14 September.

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