Sorry that this post is short, but I want to flash out two of my ideas here.

I actually have used this clip for several of my presentations to demonstrate some theoretical ideas. Now this clip seems to again be relevant here.

First of all, it of course shows easily the notion, very broadly, of “the death of the author.” We see the images presented to us can easily be appropriated and written into different (fun) meaning, even if the fun effect is achieved by merely describing literarily what we see in front of us. The film studio of Harry Potter thus are shown to actually have no control of the trailer it releases. The trailer is subjected to any kinds of interpretation.

Secondly, however, I am more interested in thinking about this clip in relation to Murch reading about filmic cuts. Murch talks about how cuts, although it does not speak in words, can communicate meaning to us in a silent way. Above all it punctuates when a cluster of images have conveyed to us a complete idea. More interesting to me, he explains how the timing of cut affects our thinking of the characters. On page 67, he explains if he prolongs a close shot on a character after he or she has spoken, he is encouraging the audience to think there is some deeper meaning than what the character has said, even if the “deeper meaning” is never spelled out, but only communicated implicitly and suggestively.  That is, the audience does not know exactly what is mysterious there, he or she can only sense the fact that “this is something mysterious.” What is communicated is rather an affect state, although this affect is very often enough to attract the audience’s attention.

The trailer of Happy Potter 7 uses abundantly this skill, of prolonging close shots on character’s facial expression. We also note that that trailer explains nothing about the plot itself to attract the audience (which a lot of comedies that depend on verbal jokes might do). Instead, it aims to attracts the audience with facial expressions of Happy suffering, Voldemort menacing. The audience is tempted by these prolonged shots to think there is something significant happening, although he or she is not sure what exactly it is. This is why, I suggest, the Literal Happy Potter can be so funny, because it, by tending to the “face” value, betrays the suggestive gesture of the prolonged shot, and announce instead there is nothing behind what you see.

Perhaps this can be a good example to supplement the Murch article, that shots communicate to the audience without language, it communicate in a implicit and often suggestive way; but the audience can nevertheless often feel sure about what the is the affect state the films aim to convey.

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