The Giver

Table of Contents



Technique Explanation Example
Aerial shot • a shot of the exterior (outside) from a high perspective Image
Background • the items or objects that make up the scene, but are the not the focus Image
Backlighting • the main light source behind the subject creating a silhouette Image
Narrative • denotes the events of the film
Confrontation • usually occurs in the middle of the plot where characters attempt to fix the conflict of the film Image
Cut • switching from one scene to another
  • the spoken words that occur in the film
  • may be exchanged between characters
  • voiceovers
  • soliloquy
Diegetic sound
  • sound effects of the film (sounds that actually occur in the story)
  • dialogue
  • sound effects
  • ambient noise
Non-diegetic sound
  • sounds that do not occur in the story of the film
  • part of the cinematic experience
  • e.g. the soundtrack, music, voiceovers
Establishing shot • a shot that usually demonstrates the location of the scene and allowing the audience to understand what is occurring Image
Dolly shot/Panning shot • a shot taken whilst moving Image
First-person point of view • shot that demonstrates what the character would see Image
Foreground • the elements in the scene that are shown ‘at the front’ – i.e. closet to the viewer Image
Hand-held shot • camera motion is unstable (jerky) suggesting a documentary style, providing a sense of authenticity and realism Image
  • the whole cinematic process
  • includes the setting, props, lighting, actions of characters, costumes
Insert shot • inserting a shot in a scene to highlight important information Image
Lighting • the effect of light which may lead to suggestions Image
Location • where the film is set
Reaction shot • a quick switch to a shot that displays a character’s reaction preceding another’s action
High-angle shot
  • the person/object in the shot is photographed from high up
  • usually implies a sense of inferiority, weakness, powerlessness
Long-angle shot/Low-angle shot
  • the person/object is shot from below, causing the view to look up at them
  • usually implies that this person is superior, power, dominating, has authority
  • person ‘below’ is weak, inferior
Eye-level shot
  • where people are shot at the same level
  • equality
Close-up shot • a shot that clearly displays the person’s face (usually only their head and their shoulders) Image
Extreme close-up • a shot that displays the character’s face (usually their eyes or mouth) Image
Medium shot
  • a shot that usually shows half of the person (waist to head)
  • personal relation to the subject
Long shot
  • displaying the entire scene
  • usually provides context/background information
Scene • a series of shots that display a single action and occur in the same location
Setting • where the film takes place
Shot • a single ‘picture’ in the film
Subtext • the underlying message behind the surface language and actions


Symmetrical: posed, calm, formal

Asymmetrical: natural, everyday, unposed

Static: lack of conflict

Dynamic: disturbance, disorientation


Selective focus: draws attention, foregrounds

Soft focus: romance, nostalgia

Deep focus: all elements are important, commanding the gaze


High key: happiness, positive

Low key: sombre, downbeat

High contrast: theatrical, dramatic

Low contrast: realistic, documentary

Film stock

Grainy: realism, authenticity

Smooth grain: normal, everyday

Video: modern, immediate, journalistic


Warm: optimism, intense emotion

Cool: pessimism, clinical calm, reason

Black and white: realism, actuality, film noir

Cinematic codes

Zoom in: observation

Fast zoom in: passing of time, humour, suspense

Zoom out: context, location

Pan: survey, follow, eye witness

Track: intimacy, immediacy, urgency

Tilt: survey, follow, eye witness

Types of edit

Fade in: beginning of new section

Fade out: ending, contemplative

Dissolve: passage of time, link between scenes

Wipe: Conclusion or transition imposed externally

Cut: normal change of shot

Cut to black: abrupt ending


Image Image Why don’t we have…th…that thing?’

‘It’s not a ‘thing’. It’s…’


‘Everything is connected, everything is a balance.. With a good there is always a bad.’

It’s a sled.’

The sled symbolises Jonas’ journey of discovery throughout the film. It is the first memory he receives from the Giver and his initial encounter with emotions of joy and excitement leaves him bedazzled, at a loss for words and further fascinated. His inability to name the sled reflects the nature of society – closed and unaware, shielded from the outside world. Yet Jonas’ ride on the sled ultimately parallels his own experiences. Exhilarating – yes, echoing his enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge, but it also underscores the difficult journey ahead, as portrayed by the bumpy ride. Ultimately he arrives at home. Noyce bookends the film by concluding with Jonas’ actual encounter with a sled. This moment is symbolic as it represents his entry into the real world.

Image ‘It was the Stirrings they said. Everyone had them. Medication would stop them.’

The most prominent colour throughout the film is the colour red. He notices it first in Fiona’s hair and is almost immediately captivated by it. The very appearance of her red hair allows Noyce to insinuate that Jonas (and hence suggest that the colour red) is indeed different within the community, juxtaposing the notion of Sameness. Thus, red is a symbol of emotion – the ‘difference’ that sets Jonas apart from the rest of his community. Later, Jonas comes to discover the enforced repression of emotions, realising that ‘medication would stop them’.

Note: the monotone perception of the world aims to harmful emotions such as envy stemming from colour (i.e. skin colour)




‘He’s not usually like this.’

‘But I had learned that knowing what something is, is not the same as knowing how something feels.’

Prick your finger and put a little blood on this apple.’

Conveying an almost biblical definition by emulating the ideals of the Garden of Eve, apples are employed throughout the film to display the ideas of reality, loss of innocence and the truth. After receiving his first memory, Noyce depicts Jonas holding an apple, displaying his attainment of the forbidden fruit of his society – knowledge of reality, emphasised when Jonas states that he ‘had learned that knowing what something is, is not the same as knowing how something feels’. Noyce further plays on these biblical allusions with Jonas’ act putting ‘a little blood on [his] apple’ in order to manipulate the medication system. Not only does it display Jonas’ personal development where he employs his growing intelligence to defy the very construct of society, but it also illustrates his embracement of prohibited actions.

Image You will learn the secret history of the world.’

‘I provide wisdom. That is now your role. To provide guidance in the present using memories of the past.’

We sit in chairs and don’t talk all day long.’

  • act of receiving – symbolises the attainment of knowledge
  • personal growth
Image • Jonas notices a tree amidst the fog through The Giver’s window.
Image Image The Triangle of Rocks!’

Note the triangular shaped camera surveying the area

  • restriction
  • triangle
  • a possible symbol of sanctuary and growth
  • truth
Image The river (and hence Asher’s actions) embodies unpredictability and change.


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