Bill: A Lifetime Original

Quentin Tarantino’s portion of his “whole bloody affair”, Kill Bill Vol. 2, initially plays with several genres to begin with, presenting paradoxical genres of the western and the eastern kung fu.  Ultimately, this R rated film is an action revenge thriller, full of gore and violence, as a female assassin seeks revenge on her lover and employer for the attempt on her life and her child’s.

In my video trailer rendition, I attempted to change both the plot and the tone of the movie. As an action thriller, with a hint of a love story within, I reversed the roles of the characters, focusing on Bill (David Carradine) as the protagonists. Presented as a troubled soul, he is only able to reconnect with his lost daughter (Uma Thurman) and his son (Michael Madson) after his grand daughter, BB (Perla Haney-Jardine), comes into the picture. Presented as a family film, with the tone comparable to a Lifetime movie, I gave the already multiple genre work an unexpectedly politically correct genre that Tarantino did not touch on.

Through out this trailer the study of semiotics can be vastly applied. Signifiers such as music, rhythm of the screen shots, the types of shots and lighting, all help to create the tone and the referent of the type of genre here created. Close-ups on the character’s faces are employed to emphasis emotion, essential to a drama.  Music signifies to the audience the type of mood that the film supposable creates and instructs the viewer on how to interpret the scenes they are witnessing.

The Kuleshov effect is also employed here. Scenes are re-sequencing to create not only a new story, but also to illustrate new emotions and reactions that were not previously depicted in the original film. This is most notable employed in the final scene with the daughter and Bill holding hands. Because of the previous sequence of shots established estrangement and Bill’s attempts to reconnect, the audience assumes that this too is a moment of reconciliation.  The presentation of BB before Bill’s sentimental comments also establishes a cause and effect pattern that the audience assumes based on the established genre of family drama.

Titles are used to direct the interpretation of the scenes as well. By telling the story, the audience is left with no real room to stray from the desired plot but is given enough of the story to know what to expect. They also slow the tempo of the trailer helping to create the slow emotional drama. By forcing the audience to read the labels assigned to Bill such as “estranged father” and “troubled man” the titles pull additional associations as these titles are signs that call to mind well established basic concepts of what a bad father is and what a troubled man does (here further reinforced with the drinking scene).

This trailer tried to recreate the family drama from an originally action thriller. The multiple genres used by the director proved challenging, as there always seemed to be a sword in the screen shot, and there was only one shot of Bill smiling. This was overcome by the design of the tailer, focusing on the emotional state of the characters rather than their interactions with one another. Relationships were thus established through the titles and the Kuleshov effect. Music had to be manipulated, as there are multiple layers that could not be separated from the dialogue but I believe that that only enhanced the mood of the trailer. Over all, I believe that the creating of the new genre was a success. Premier was very difficult but with some time I was able to figure out the basics. I suggest for future students that watching the movie with an idea in mind and writing down possible scene to use. I did this before I went into the lab to cut the scenes and this really helped in preventing the feeling of being overwhelmed.

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