Author Topic: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene  (Read 6083 times)

Marge_Innavera

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2008, 01:14:49 pm »
I think Ennis probably had at least a little sense that getting married wasn't the best idea from the prespective of personal desires and happiness.  Yes, the wedding set into motion a lot of misery for himself and Jack, but also for Alma.  It does seem very true that Ennis is going through with this marriage out of his characteristic desire to try to have a "normal" life that won't freak out the "people on the pavement"... or to appease Society (as I believe the gathering in the church represents).  I think he knows this is all a very dicey situation even during the ceremony, which is why he looks so pained.

I'd like to add to that --

People often go through with weddings that something tells them on some level is a mistake.  I had a cousin who did that -- huge, elaborate wedding and they got divorced six months later, and he admitted afterward that he'd known within a few weeks of the wedding that they shouldn't go through with it.  Ennis probably wasn't as direct with himself about marrying Alma being, ultimately, a mistake but something like that could have been going on underneath.

As I recall, my cousin remarked that he'd 'hoped it would all work out anyway', which is what Ennis might be doing with his own half-admitted doubts at that point.

Marge_Innavera

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2008, 01:17:45 pm »

She does appear to be dressed for the outside with a hat and coat.  I notice a number of women in the crowd wearing hats... Isn't there an old rule of etiquette about women covering their heads in church?  I don't really know, not having been raised as a church-going person.  But, I'd think that a maid of honor would have a more formal looking outfit on.  The coat seems particularly odd.

Many churches had that requirement; but if we're assuming that was a Methodist church, I don't think they ever did.

But IMO that might be explained by this being 1963.  At that time, women still wore hats at festive occasions.  And the outfit looked to me more like a dressy ensemble that included a coat-like jacket.

One thing I didn't notice was how old Alma's mother appeared to be -- the actor in the first pew looked more like she'd be Alma's grandmother. Maybe Alma's mom was no longer living and a grandparent was standing in.

Offline LauraGigs

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2008, 03:01:56 pm »
Quote
Theres no heavy symbolism, because the players are loaded enough with significance all by themselves...

I agree that the players and the occasion are quite significant. And there may not be heavy abstract symbolism (as in "the green, orange & white in the stained glass window each represents...").  But this is the largest ensemble scene in the film (2nd only to the July 4 scene) with very significant players some of whom we see for the only time.  And this is Ang Lee!  8)  So I do think the blocking and the angle would be set up carefully, with a consistency and carry-through regarding the rest of the story.



There is something noticeably unique about the blocking!  Normally, the best man and maid of honor act in parallel either turned in the same direction or mirroring each other. Here, the maid of honor faces inward toward the wedding party, while the best man faces forward.
I think this is a visual shorthand for the roles they play. Alma's sister will be a personal, practical help for the couple, looking after their offspring.  K.E. who faces the priest and the altar, and faced Earl with Ennis provides a male role model and reinforces convention. He + Ennis are separated in the frame by the priest possibly illustrating how they come down on opposite sides of a major moral rule?

Offline LauraGigs

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2008, 03:15:21 pm »

Check out the angle here.  Ennis, surrounded on all sides by the congregants, is next to a clear window.  Alma has nothing between her and the door the exit, the escape.

Who left the marriage?  Who had a legitimate 'escape route'?   Alma.

For Ennis, there is no escape from the expectations and conventions.  He can only 'gaze out windows' (at what he feels to be impossible dreams, as Katie & Holden aptly pointed out).  When Alma later asks why he hasn't married again, he gazes out the window.  When Alma Jr. tells him of her impending marriage, he gazes out the window. 
What's the last shot of the film?  Out Ennis's window.

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2008, 03:44:45 pm »

Check out the angle here.  Ennis, surrounded on all sides by the congregants, is next to a clear window.  Alma has nothing between her and the door the exit, the escape.

Who left the marriage?  Who had a legitimate 'escape route'?   Alma.

For Ennis, there is no escape from the expectations and conventions.  He can only 'gaze out windows' (at what he feels to be impossible dreams, as Katie & Holden aptly pointed out).  When Alma later asks why he hasn't married again, he gazes out the window.  When Alma Jr. tells him of her impending marriage, he gazes out the window. 
What's the last shot of the film?  Out Ennis's window.

What a great post Laura. Love the windows theme. They sure are important in BBM. Some more window-themed observations come to my mind. How about making it a new thread: "Views and windows" ? Your post could be a good jump-off point.


Another thought on Ennis and the door: the only thing blocking Ennis from the door is Alma. Once she's out of the picture (and the marriage), the way to the door is seems open to Ennis. And that's exactly what Jack thinks when he drives up twelve hundred miles, post-divorce.


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2008, 03:49:45 pm »

I also love your post, friend. I noticed a couple of other things. Ennis' diagonally striped tie tells of his ambivalence, like his plaid shirts. Also, Alma appears to have two halos...the flowered one on her head, and then the half-moon window.

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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Ennis & Alma's wedding scene
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2008, 04:09:25 pm »

Laura, these really are great observations and avenues for discussion.  I agree with what you say about this being a rather elaborate, ensemble scene.  And you're also right that it is one of the only chances we get to have any sense of Ennis and Alma's wider family/social circle.

But, your pics here are coming through as red "X's" for me. :(  Maybe it's because I'm looking at this at work.  :-\

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