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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): Part 2

Here I pointed out some aspects of the narrative and the mise-en-scene of the film. Now we continue with analyzing the cinematography, editing, sound techniques and the genre.

When the cinematography of The Royal Tenenbaums is analyzed in terms of camera usage, there are certain scenes with handheld camera, zooms, tracking shots. The handheld camera gives the sense that the audience is more in the action rather than an observer; the zooms give the impression as if the audience is focusing on the item with their own eyes; and tracking shots let the characters remain at the centre of the frame to keep the symmetry and balance.

Handheld camera in films usually give energy to the narrative, and here is significant in two scenes with Chas. The first one is where we are introduced to him and his children with the fire drill where the handheld camera gives the impression of panic, chaos and fast action. At the very moment that we are introduced to Chas, it is certain that the character will neither be a tranquil nor a passive one.

The second scene is where Chas chases Eli after he almost drove over the children. Here the camera technique invites us to get into the chasing and internalise Chas’ anger towards Eli. A musical tone with drums and bells accompany the scene. The chasing begins in front of the door, continues indoors between stairs and ends as Chas throws him over the brick wall. The camera is never stable during the scene and it finalises when Chas accepts that he doesn’t have a stable mind and that he needs help.

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