Elizabeth - Realism of Transformation in Film


In the movie ‘Elizabeth’ the lighting, wardrobe, editing, etc. provides the realism of transformation of her changing persona.

The transformation of Elizabeth is the main storyline, from the trusting young girl who dances in the fields with her friends to the cold and calculating monarch as she rises to power. The film has realism of the time with intricate sets, dialogue and costume. The use of low-key soft lighting, under-lighting and the use of shadows give the dark and damp feel of the Middle-ages as they truly were. Discontinuity editing and quick pans keep the level of anxiety high giving the viewer a constant sense of impending danger around every corner.Kapur makes good use of wide-angle shots and extreme close-ups to keep us off balance.

But it was the lighting, make-up and wardrobe that show the transformation and changing persona of Elizabeth. We can see her power and strength grow as the costumes get more elaborate and the hemlines about her neck rise higher. The stiffness of the clothing that binds her reflects her attitude and persona from fun loving naïve girl to the woman now in rule. The heavily applied white make-up with frontal lighting gives the appearance of her wearing a mask as we know that if any part of her old self exists inside it is now covered forever as she is becomes the ‘Virgin Queen’, married only to her country.

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