Analyse the ways in which the director builds tension during the first two shark attacks in Spielberg’s 1975 film, JAWS.
Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie thriller, JAWS, creates and builds up tension during the first two shark attacks. The director uses different camera techniques and use of music to create different atmospheres and tries to get the viewer’s moods to match this. The theme of JAWS is mans’ powerlessness over nature, and Steven Spielberg creates this theme with the various techniques which he uses throughout the two shark attacks.
Firstly, throughout both shark attacks, there is a use of the JAWS signature tune. The director uses this signature tune to let the viewers know the shark is there, and this creates an image of the shark under the water, ready to attack. He tries to make the viewers feel terrified and wants to make the shark present in the viewer’s mind. In particular, he tries to build up suspense by making the signature tune louder and faster.
Secondly, throughout both shark attacks, we see a Point-of-View shot of the shark under the water, which is a shot made from a camera position close to the line of sight of a performer who is to be watching the action in the point-of-view shot. This also lets the viewer see the shark’s manoeuvre and it gets them involved. At the start of the film, the signature tune is played to create suspense, and we see a Point-of-View shot of the shark to create a presence in the viewer’s mind. After this, a Jump cut is used to go directly from one atmosphere to another. Jump cuts will cause viewer disorientation and are sometimes used deliberately to create that effect. As the director jump cuts to the party on the beach, a long shot, which is a camera shot used to emotionally distance the viewer from what is happening, is used to show the whole atmosphere and the director creates a ‘Danger vs. Party’ atmosphere. This contrast of moods and emotions affect the viewer, whose response is immediately...