Reed Morano

Silent Battle Cry: How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Speaks Volumes Through Visuals

By V Renée

When words fail visuals speak.

In the dystopian world of Gilead, where a totalitarian theonomy has enslaved fertile women to turn them into child-bearing servants of the state, civil disobedience is subtle and revolutionaries keep their battle cries under their tongues. Being “under His eye” not only sets rigid restrictions on what the citizens of the former United States are permitted to do or say, but it turns one’s mind into a place that serves as both Promised Land for free thought and war room to plot resistance.

Cinematically this gives The Handmaid’s Tale fewer options to communicate the harrowing stories of Offred and her fellow handmaidens, but director Reed Morano and cinematographer Colin Watkinson’s audiovisual approach to the series creates a unique style of storytelling that allows the silent rebel yell of an entire group of marginalized women to be heard.

In this video essay, ScreenPrism digs deep into the techniques used in the show that grant us entry into places to which not even the Republic of Gilead has access.

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From:: No Film School

How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Uses Shallow Focus to Show Oppression

By V Renée

“As a slave in an authoritarian state…your only agency is mental.”

In recent years, shallow depth of field has become cliché. Seen almost as a shorthand for the “film look,” it’s used constantly by beginners to give an almost instantaneous boost to their production values despite the many potential flaws in composition, lighting, and overall quality of their filmmaking. However, shallow focus shouldn’t be written off as a cheap device to make images look more cinematic—instead, look at the many gifted directors and cinematographers who utilize this technique to tell more dynamic stories through their visuals.

In this video essay, Evan Puschak of Nerdwriter does just that by highlighting the brilliant way director Reed Morano and DP Colin Watkinson use shallow focus to effectively communicate the devastating oppression and totalitarian theonomy in Hulu’s hit TV show The Handmaid’s Tale.

Though shallow focus has its obvious visual merits, Morano and Watkinson use it more for its narrative potential. Puschak notes three ways in which they do this:

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From:: No Film School