Using 20 words, or less, complete this sentence: Christopher Nolan’s film is about Using 20 words of less, complete this sentence: The film explores Alfred Borden “The Professor” & Robert Angier "The Great Danton " Christopher Nolan’s film is about rival magicians; it looks beyond the magic tricks and illusions at the reality that is concealed beneath them.
The is that no matter how closely you watch, no matter how carefully you follow the subtleties of the story, you are still going to be fooled. The Prestige does not allow the option of realizing final twists prematurely, because these twists literally come out of nowhere. The viewer would have to read the minds of the characters to know their tactics. The film isn’t about “tricks” at all, but rather our helplessness in understanding them, and the ………………………………………… that control both the film’s characters and us. irony obsessions
Answer these questions aloud 1. How many stages does a magic trick consists of? 2. Name the three stages as described by Cutter 3. If the ‘turn’ is when the magic is performed, what is the ‘prestige’? The Pledge, The Turn, and The Prestige It is the restoration of the object back to its normal state, e.g lady sawn in half is joined together again. 3 stages
Read and evaluate this statement: Good magicians create tricks that end with an impressive prestige; great magicians create illusions centered on the prestige, that are so superior that even other magicians are stumped. The prestige thus becomes a competition between magicians; if they are not careful, they can easily become obsessed with trying to learn their adversary’s advanced tricks. Evaluate using this question: Who do magicians create their tricks for? An audience of strangers other magicians? Explain your answer.
First, there is the setup, or the "pledge," where the magician shows the audience something that appears ordinary but is probably not, making use of misdirection. Next is the performance, or the "turn," where the magician makes the ordinary act, extraordinary. Lastly, there is the "prestige," where the effect of the illusion is produced. There are twists and turns, where you see something shocking, something you've never seen before. Evaluate: Is it still possible for a magician to shock? How a magic trick is constructed
Evaluate: Is it still possible for a magician to shock?
The Prestige is like an irresistible puzzle box, a perfectly executed magic trick. The film is split into three storylines, each resembling one of "the three stages of magic". Each narrative has its own plot problems and goals for the character to achieve: … must escape prison,.. must be a better magician than.., and.. must get the machine from.. Alfred Angier AlfredAngier Tesla
Explain the 3 parts of a trick using Borden’s life. "The Pledge: … The magician shows you something ordinary: … a man.” "The Turn... The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. "The Prestige... every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, … making something disappear isn't enough you have to bring it back.” (Quotes: Cutter)
The Prestige” is told through a fragmented timeline. It is constructed as a post-modern puzzle, framing stories within stories, flashbacks within flashbacks, and presenting us with at least two unreliable narrators - one of whom is the victim in the murder trial that opens the film. Which slide sums up the narrative structure best? Is it this one? Why? Slide A
The Prestige is told through a non-linear, flashback structure, starting the film at the ending, and then reverting back to the beginning. There are three narratives going on at the same time: The ‘End’ narrative (jail cell), the ‘Beginning’ narrative (starting with the feud and the first murder), and the ‘Middle’ narrative. By having three narratives, the stories intertwine and strengthen each other better than a linear narrative could. Which slide sums up the narrative structure best? Is it this one? Why? Slide B
MOTIFS A MOTIF is a recurring element that helps to develop a major theme of a text. In film, a motif is a repeated idea, action, pattern, or image. Can you tell if the bird on the left, or the bird on the right is in Cutter’s hand? What motif is Nolan presenting right at the start of the film through this trick? (Think/Pair) The motif of doubling and the motif of illusion
Nolan continues to present a theme through using the same motif. The audience routinely sees the same tricks performed at least twice: by Borden (aka The Professor) and Angier (aka The great Danton). What motif is Nolan continuing through this repetition? To pull off The New Transported Man, Angier requires his own double. Fortunately, an out of work actor is found who is Angier’s double. What motif is Nolan continuing through this? The motif of doubling or parallelism.
Name some other examples of this motif in the film. For example, Nikolai Tesla, has a rivalry with the inventor (and moving picture pioneer) Thomas Edison which mirrors the magicians' relationship. What theme is developed through the motif of doubling? Identity …. Identity as an illusion … The ambiguity of identity … Identity as a maze of possibilities …. Identity as a construction, rather than an immutable truth … Identity as a socially defined reality …. (Pick one or write your own.)
Every scene in the film has a meaning above and beyond the telling of the main narrative as each scene gives clues to the secrets concealed in the film, and the main themes. What was the narrative here and what was concealed? Hey, aren’t you Batman? Yeah, and you’re Wolverine, right? Just messing with you!
Problems to puzzle over Who is the protagonist? Is it Angier, because he is the murder victim? Or is it Borden, who is framed by Angier for his murder? Who’s the Antagonist? You have 6 minutes to work with a partner to respond to these questions in a few paragraphs.
You might have written something like this … Both Borden and Angier have questionable morals and limited capacities to experience life beyond their performances, so we cannot decisively determine which of them is the protagonist and which is the antagonist. Ultimately, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, play characters that are required to be very controlled in their ability to reveal as little as possible in as many exaggerated interactions as necessary. How much of their lives is a façade is difficult to ascertain, especially when Borden and Angier knowingly write diaries which they expect the other to read, and our knowledge of what they do and think is limited to what the diaries reveal. By the end, perhaps both are victims, tragic hero protagonists, in an Aristotalean-type tragedy.
It’s hard to determine who the protagonist is, but now you HAVE to decide who the protagonist is. Using these two statements from Bordwell’s book, “Three Dimensions of Narrative Film” will help you to decide on an answer: “The protagonist may be the character with the greatest power.” (This will be our exemplar) “The Protagonist may also be the character with whom we tend to sympathize most keenly”. Use this quote and work with a partner to write a response to determine the protagonist.
“The protagonist may be the character with the greatest power.” So, who has the greatest power? Borden has dedicated his life to being a magician, on stage and off, to the extent that it causes his wife’s death, and the eventual death of his twin brother. Angier is the better showman but his reliance upon Cutter for magic, as well as his decision to turn to science, reveals Borden as the better magician. Yet, in establishing their power, both lose a great deal : Borden, loses a brother and the woman he loves, and Angier, has to drown himself 100 times.
Cutter, in my opinion, was on the side of Borden at the end, having chosen between the better of the two magicians. Also, the ‘power’ held by each magician changes constantly throughout the film. In one scene, Angier sabotages Borden’s act; in another, those roles switch. In one scene, Borden’s Transported Man trick is superior; in another, Angier’s device stumps even Borden (Note: Borden always could figure out Angier’s tricks UNTIL Angier resorted to Tesla’s machine). All in all, I believe that Borden best fits this definition because he ends the film a) Alive, and b) with some future (his daughter). “The Protagonist may also be the character with whom we tend to sympathize most keenly”. Respond
Who do we feel most sympathy for? I sympathized with Angier’s revenge motive for Borden’s role in his wife’s death, until it is revealed that ‘one’ Angier, is alive while ‘one’ Borden has been sentenced to death AND his daughter is in Angier’s custody. Angier goes too far by sending Borden to his death. Yes, Borden takes things too far as well. He lives his tricks, to the point of obsessesion, but his last words to Fallon reveal he is truly sorry: “I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry about Sarah. I didn’t mean to hurt her… I didn’t. You go and live your life in full now, all right? You live for both of us.” That apology, as well as the fact that Angier set Borden up, threw all my sympathies behind the surviving Borden. I even had no problem with Borden killing Angier at the end.
In the film, Sarah’s nephew points out that for the disappearing bird trick to work, something has to be killed. Why is this an example of foreshadowing? The fact that Borden has no problems getting his hands dirty, and is happy to kill the bird, foreshadows that he’s willing to make the sacrifice of living half a life with Sarah to preserve the illusion of his greatest trick. Angier won’t kill the bird but ultimately has no problem disposing of the replications of himself. What theme does this reveal?
Borden tells us that a Chinese magician's trick relies on the man living his entire life as though he's a cripple. He's really very strong, but the way his trick works is if the audience thinks he's physically unable to do it. Borden explains this illusion to us. What was real for him? Do you think Borden and his twin were already switching places, or do you think the Chinese magician gave him the idea? Borden's wife understands implicitly, from the very beginning, that there are two Bordens. But she can't verbalize it. To her it's perplexing, it’s two Bordens in one body. Nolan gives us another clue when Borden tells Fallon to talk to her. What is real for her?
Colorado Springs Magnifying Transmitter TESLA: MAN OUT OF TIME Nikola Tesla was a world- renowned Serb-American inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer. In the film Angier speaks to him about obsession being a good thing, to which Tesla responds, “I am their slave, and one day they will choose to destroy me.” He is warning Angier not to allow an obsession to rule his life.
Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 - 7 January 1943) David Bowie plays Tesla http://www.ted.com/talks/marco_tempest_the_electric_rise_and_fall_ of_nikola_tesla.html Click on this link for a TED talk about the Magic of Science.
Aside from his work on electromagnetism and engineering, Tesla is said to have contributed in varying degrees to the fields of robotics, ballistics, computer science, nuclear physics, and theoretical physics.
In his later years, Tesla was regarded as a mad scientist and became noted for making bizarre claims about possible scientific developments. Contemporary admirers of Tesla have deemed him "the man who invented the twentieth century. Tesla once said that magic was just science that did not yet have an explanation.
Tesla and magic – still go together David Blaine - street magician
Questions to ask as you analyze this film: 1. What does the film establish about its setting, characters, and plot within the first few minutes? Characters: 2. We look to the Main Character to find out who we will empathize with most. Through whose eyes do we witness the story? Are we looking at this character, or are we looking from within this character’s experience? Setting: Victorian Era England & Colorado Springs, America (not obvious)
3. What are the key scenes or sequences in the film, and where do they occur?
4. What was the pacing of the film like? Slow? Quick? Frenetic? Lyrical? 5. How would you describe the acting performances — were they restrained, flamboyant, self-reflexive? 6. How do the actors’ costumes add to their characters and make the film more plausible? 7. How does the film open? How does the film end? Was the ending predictable, surprising, ambiguous?
8. Was the film composed mainly of stars or lesser- known actors, and how did this shape your response to the characters, if at all? 9. How would you describe the cinematography? Was it a highly stylized film, or one aiming for a less intrusive and more “realistic” camera? 10 What is the Point of View of the film, how is the story told? 11. How does the director assemble the film, how is it edited together?
12. Does the film make interesting use of colour or lighting? (Clue – this era transitioned from candles to electricity.) 13. What was the soundtrack like, as well as the film’s use of sound and sound effects? 14. What about the dialogue? Was there anything noteworthy about how characters converse in the film? 15. How does this film link to the overall theme: What is real? To what extent does it demonstrate a quest for veracity in a maze of dreams and illusions?