Wasp

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Wasp is a 26 minute short film released in 2003, written and directed by Andrea Arnold. This short film directed by Andrea Arnold won the Oscar for best live action short in 2003. Summary Wasp is the brief insight into motherhood. Young and juvenile Zoe is a single mother of four in modern day Britain. Destitute and alone, she has an unconventional method of dealing with her life and children. Being youthful, she has her own desires and has been deprived of the freedom that women her age often experience. She also lacks the comfort and support of a husband. She runs into her childhood crush that is interested in her; and she is so excited at the prospect, that she goes out in her night gown and her bare feet. She and her daughters make a joke about it by comparing herself and her date to Victoria and David Beckham. The director used this in order to facilitate the idea of Zoe having a date seem far-fetched. She is torn between her wish to go out and the understandable compulsion to be with her children. Zoe lies to David that she has been taking care of someone else‟s children and she agrees to meet him. She dresses up for him and makes her children wait outside of the pub so she can have a few hours to herself and with her childhood sweetheart. Wasp depicts the poverty faced by the family in a very realistic manner that is central to social realism films. When David makes Zoe pay for the drinks, she chooses to give up her drink so that her kids can have chips and Coke. The hungry kids pick up food off the streets which again shows the struggle and hardships they have faced. A wasp attack interrupts the date and makes her realize her recklessness. Mise-en-scene The film is set in Dartford which is the director‟s hometown. In the first half of the short, the audience begins to find out about the family and are shown the area in which they live in. Although it is clear that she lives on a housing estate, the area in which they are living in looks fairly nice and wholesome. The director implemented this in order to emphasise the fact that she is a single mother who is struggling, but she isn‟t looking for everything. However, what is then portrayed in the house is juxtaposition, and it is very different to the pleasant sunny scenery outside that the audience witnessed initially. Camera Work/ Editing Although it is bright outside, the lighting produces a very grainy effect. The yellowy lighting is clearly not natural. The use of lighting is extremely effective when the children are sitting outside of the pub, as it really emphasises how dirty the children actually are. This connotes that the state that the children are in is not normal and is unnatural. The children‟s clothing is dirty and unclean, which shows to the audience that Zoe doesn‟t take proper care of her children. Furthermore, as she takes her baby out without a nappy, this symbolises to the audience that she is quite clueless in raising her children. Moreover, she goes out in her night dress, which further supports the idea that she doesn‟t know how to behave what is considered “normally” in public, this makes the audience question her mental stability due to the fact that she leaves her children outside and goes on a date, despite the family being financially restricted. However, a dramatic change can be noticed when she goes out and the way she dresses. The close-up shots capture the emotional struggle of the mother and the innocence of the children. The film is shot with a shaky handheld camera; which makes the film highly realistic, therefore keeping in line with a social realism drama.

Sound Throughout the film, the majority of the sound is diegetic; in order to keep it as close fitting to social realism conventions as possible. The song „Be My Girl‟ runs throughout the film and represents the conflicting mother and woman inside Zoe. The baby crying and the music which plays inside the pub are the most prevalent uses of non-diegetic sound. The diegetic sound coming from the pub heard by the children of whom are forced to wait outside, really gives a sense of neglect and just how separated the children are from their mother.

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