analyzing dances with wolves

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The movie i chose to analyze for ct is Dances With Wolves. Dances With Wolves won 7 academy awards in 1990 including best picture. It stars Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, and Graham Greene. The three scenes I’ve chosen to analyze are the buffalo hunt, the scene when Kicking Bird talks to Wind In His Hair about finding Dances with Wolves, and the scene where the Lakota do the buffalo dance.

The first scene i will analyze is the buffalo hunt scene. this scene which is arguably the most famous scene from the movie, showcases the brilliant skill of the riders and the directorial talents of Costner. this scene uses real buffalo from a privately owned farm. During the parts where the buffalo are being killed uses state of art practical effects (for that time period). Using mechanical buffalo on rigs that would slide them down on the ground making it look like real buffalo were being killed. The effects are so well done that you cant even tell the difference. Also that should be noted is the complete authenticity of the look of the native american during this scene (the entire movie really). With Costner using real Lakota during the scene gave the hunt the most realistic feel, made you feel like you’re riding along with them. With the ending part of hunt you see Wind In His Hair offering a piece of raw buffalo meat to Dances with Wolves. That piece of meat is actually the liver of buffalo. In Lakota culture when a warrior is given a raw liver to eat its a sign of respect, a showing that you’re a true warrior. So in this scene Wind In His Hair is showing Dances with Wolves that they see him as a real warrior and are showing him and giving him that respect.

The second scene I’m going to analyze is the scene when Kicking Bird talks to Wind In His Hair about finding Dances with Wolves. The thing that makes this scene is the natural lighting of the actors. It’s a beautiful shot, the way the camera pans from behind Kicking Bird to the side of his face with the lighting on his face that shows the sternness and at the same time the concern Kicking Bird had for Dances With Wolves. Other than the lighting and the camera work, the element that really made the scene the emotional scene that it is is the score. The score throughout the film is magnificent and this scene show the brilliance of the music. Although at that point you already know what has happened to Dances with Wolves but the Lakota doesn’t. And when the music is playing with the combination of the light and the camera shot along with the brilliant acting but you can’t help but get emotionally pulled into that scene.

The third and final scene i will analyze is the buffalo dance. This scene is a small and quick scene but very nicely done. lighted by fire only you can still see the authenticity in the dance. From the actual dance to the makeup to words to the dress, the scene just bleeds an authentic Lakota buffalo dance. Real Lakota were hired to teach the actors the dance and the words that accompany the dance (as well as all the dialogue for the Lakota throughout the movie). With the elegant movements the actors and some of the actual Lakota who taught the dance is just a beautiful scene during the black of night only light by fire is done so beautifully that it makes you feel that you are right there in the middle of it.

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