My Date Death
At the beginning of this project I was immediately struck by three key themes In Ken Kesey’s Novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The first was the theme of the female oppressor. When researching both madness and depression I became aware of society’s historically warped opinions of the female mind. In the past sexism influenced the medical diagnoses of women such as the belief that a woman who desired sex would be diagnosed with madness or hysteria. Yet in OFOTCN the women, in particular Nurse Ratched prove to have a sexual dominance over the sexually oppressed male patients. Not only this they are seen as being the more powerful of the two. This is perhaps linked to the Second Wave Feminism movement that occurred during the time this novel was written as women aimed to change the social and political views that limited them. However, the role of Woman in Kesey’s novel is of an oppressor and sexual castrator. The Second theme that inspired me was Nature Vs Machine. Nature is used as a symbolism of freedom in contrast to the imagery of machines which symbolise oppression. The Final theme that I wished to explore further was Old vs Young as the men in the novel are reduced to nothing more than vulnerable boys. These three themes acted as the catalysts for my project which drove forward the overall message and atmosphere I wanted to create.
The most difficult process of my project was creating the costumes from my designs as I had not yet tackled a costume of this scale before. The male costume, in my opinion, was the more successful of the two designs, as it was simplistic and created from deconstructing old clothes, thus making it the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly of the two designs. Another reason why I found it to be more successful is that I took time to hand stitch it together. Although time consuming it gave my project a professional and accurate finish. I struggled with the female costume more, firstly because the material I choose to use in order to create the jump suit was black chiffon which I found extremely difficult to manipulate due to it being a slippery and delicate material. The material was so delicate that after shooting my short film a large section of the costume ripped which I quickly mended. In hind sight I would have stopped this issue by hand stitching the seams of the costume to prevent fraying. The second error was the inner red slip dress, as I decided to make it by reconstructing an old silk dress (for a more sustainable design). However it became apparent that I had insufficient material thus making it extremely short and hard to move in. To rectify this issue I created shorts from the inner lining of the dress. All though it served the purpose of adding length to the costume it was extremely messily sewn together. Lastly due to the fabric being so delicate I was unable to sew my ruff onto the costume. However, the purpose of the costume is for a film so I was able to simply safety pin the ruff to the costume. Despite the difficulties I faced creating the costumes they served their purpose perfectly in the short film I created with their bold and impactful aesthetic. In the future I will be more conscious of the type of material I would use in future costumes- making sure I test their durability before. I would also ensure that my measurements I measured more accurately in order to save time and materials.
On day of my shoot for my short film “My Date, Death” there were large issues due to the weather being heavy rain. This caused concerns as I was unsure as to whether my costumes would survive these conditions. Also I had wanted to film my piece in sunlight in order to create juxtaposition with the film’s events. Moreover the weather affected my props as the rain drops weighed down the helium balloons causing them to droop which I was not anticipating. Unfortunately this was the only day that I could shoot my film therefore I had to find a way to use these difficulties to my advantage. We used the rain to create pathetic fallacy and imagery in the film by linking the drowning scenes to the rain. Also the rain added depth by creating a dark and sinister atmosphere. I used the balloons to represent the oppressed characters life therefore the way they drooped became symbolic of the oppression the character was experiencing. I filmed the majority of my film outside in a large field in order to represent the theme of the natural vs the non-natural. The non-natural elements were represented by the costumes I had created, particularly the mechanical stencil on the male costumes back. I wanted my film to be made up of multiple fast moving shots in order to create tension; therefore I focused on capturing silent stylized images- similar to those found in German Expressionism and Victorian gothic film.
To conclude I’m extremely satisfied with my overall project for despite the difficulties I had to overcome I achieved my original goal of creating two costumes in the context of a short film the expressed the oppression and fear experienced by the patients in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.