The Pestle


Ep 29: “Never Let Me Go”

January 25, 2018

In this episode we discuss:

  • Lighting and camerawork;
  • framing & compositions;
  • film stocks;
  • and much more!

The aim is to postpone frailty, postpone degenerative disease, debilitation and so on and thereby shorten the period at the end of life, which is passed in a decrepit or disabled state, while extending life as a whole.Aubrey de Grey

Film Analysis:

Let’s take a quick look at some of the lighting and framing choices.

The film keeps a strong sense of window lighting which allows for rather soft lighting since it’s quite diffused by the time it reaches the actors, it maintains a very naturalistic feel and texture, and grants a lot of freedom for the actors to move in the space. Symbolically, it may also add a great sense of their sadness and lack of control since there is no internal lighting that could represent how they’re kept in the dark.


Outside there never seems to be a clear sky with a beautiful saturated blue, instead it tends to be overcast and bleak. Kathy is still backlit here to add to the mood, like the sun is continually setting on their life.


One of the few scenes to incorporate artificial light takes place in the hospital with a nurse from the real world. Perhaps the only times when Kathy is out of the dark and actually participating with the world.


Soon after the scene with the nurse we have this hallway scene that incorporates both the artificial light on the left, the direction they’re leaving while they are backlit with the window light. On the one hand it creates a beautiful image, silhouettes and keeps the texture and tone of the rest of the film, but there is also strong symbolism of exiting the world and “going into the light”, as this is Kathy’s job and she is escorting Ruth to her end.


Finally, let’s look at two scenes that compose a strong storytelling point. Here we’re in the diner and our image has our three leads, but notice their order: Kathy, Ruth, Tommy. Ruth is in the middle, coming in-between Kathy & Tommy. It’s a simple and effective visual communication of what’s happening within the greater story itself.


Here, we finally have Ruth extracting herself from between Kathy & Tommy. In this scene she comes clean and tries to make amends by getting them together which is told in a simple composition. In the rest of the scene we move into a clean single of Ruth, and a clean two-shot of Kathy & Tommy, giving us a clean view of the relationships.

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