Houjun Liu

NUS-ENG401 Film Analysis

Based only on the framing analysis of Sax’s Othello, I want to write a piece analyzing collectively grip (lighting) and gaffing (framing) of the films, specifically with a contrast as much as possible to the original text’s discussion of framing in, for instance, stage directions. In Sax’s Othello, Iago’s musings are always framed medium-close from below, with lighting coming from above: the framing helps show a sense of “ascension” (perhaps not unintentionally biblical, like an ascension to heaven), showing how Iago’s schemes are helping him rise through the ranks: a sign of his desire for power. I want to continue to analyses these types of connection between the grip and gaffing throughout the films to help reveal the differing power welded by the various screenwriters’ differing analysis on Shakespeare’s characters.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara

  • Dreary music plays during the misc.

  • Games of marbles

  • Mopeds?

  • small bounding songs

  • Differences: Desdemona and Rodrigo were engaged

  • Emilia is Othello’s sister

  • Instances of violence/impending violence underscored by very cheerful music

Introductory scene

  • Intro credits: “lyrics”, “music”, “dialog” as the three scripting components
  • call Othello a “half-cast”
  • “abduting”—actually in love or not

Marbles scene

  • Robantio (Desdomona’s dad) goes and tries to find Othello
  • Ominous music?
  • Monster, Half-Caste, etc.
  • “never trust what your eyes say, your eyes will betray you
  • Enable

100 Bet Scene

  • Robantio sets the seed of jealousy by explicitly calling Desdemona “two-faced”
  • Laugh and discussions
  • The music: very cheerful during scenes of violence
  • Omi was able to kill everyone
  • Steps over dead body: washes himself with water


  • So Othello’s boss
  • During ceremony, Othello chooses Cassio to be the new general
  • “How did you get such a light girl in these dark parts”
  • “dark lord and magic fluit”
  • Music swells and Rodrigo cries

Rodrigo and Iago

  • Moving the “I ahet the moor” scene to the middle of the film
  • Iago fires Rodrigo’s jealousies, and then Rodrigo fire’s Iagos by engaging

The Son’s BD, etc.

  • Iago listens and watches
  • Camera flashes are the only sound that’s present
  • Camera flashing sound is like guns
  • Iago again talks with Rodrigo about Dolly

Bianca and Cassio

  • Filmed through a bollywood musical number: very cheerful despite the omen of bad consiquences

Cassio is Drunk

  • Typically, HAPPY precededs violence
  • Smoking hurt the music, which causes the Cassio/Rodrigo brawl

First Tail Spinning after brawl

  • “It was the booze”
  • Iago used
  • “Only one voice that could work, Dolly’s”

Omi Brother is back

  • Mopeds
  • Iago begins to spin his tale by avoiding talking about Kesu
  • Drum samples + acient vocal chops
  • Symbolism of dissonant music
  • Othello is not fighting back
  • Long songs to illustrate love:w
  • Not enough
  • Blue cololr grading
  • Desdemona very white because of framing compared to all others


  • So motivation is given
  • Serious music in the background, replaying the two characters'
  • Tone of the phone number

Basil Dearden’s All Night Long

Timing: 1962, after the war.

Rex + Delia: Othello and Desdemona

Iago want to break off from Othello’s band, but his financeeer will only finance him if Desdemona will join Iago’s new band instead of staying with Othello’s band.

Gift: cigerette case.

Brazillan pistol drums: mark of

Introductory scene

  • Stairs; what does rising a lot of stairs mean symbolistically?
  • framing: xylophone; poster; bass — marrige celebrating poster meaning?
  • “Cause I want you, always have” — new angle: Iago is in love Desdemona
  • Cassio introduced Desdemona to Othello
    • “Here’s to the two men in my life” — Desdemona; does she have affection for Cassio too?

Rodrigo and Iago

  • Iago planting in Rodrigo the idea Cassio is in love with Desdemona
  • weed is an important plot point
  • Emilia breaking the fourth wall
  • Iago picks up the cigarette case manually

Iago handed MJ to Cassio

  • Cigarette case handed to Cassio too
  • Rex does not want Cassio to smoke
  • Uses the idea of smoke
  • Iago’s gaze looks down below Othello when speaking to him
    • Iago looks to the side/in front a lot when talking normally
  • Alcohol and MJ is swapped, but the point is about the same
    • Cassio, instead of fighting Rodrigo, fought a different person

First drum solo

  • Contrast: Iago looking very ominously forward towards othello, Othello looks to the side
  • Symbolic meaning of drum solo?
  • Triangle between Othello vs. Desdemona vs. Iago

Tape Editing

  • Talk to Delia; “ocular proof” out of the audio recording
  • “I know how you feel” — similar to Ben Jago in the previous film
  • The tape editing as a part of Rodrigo’s setup, so Rodrigo funded Iago’s things
  • “Drop that Sherlock Holmes bit, that hat looks funny”

All Night Long Song

  • All night long song — why so sad?
  • Othello looks at Delia in a funny way because of the songs
  • “I love you both”: odd choice of words on Delia’s part

Ocular Proof

  • Cigarette case + and
  • The tapes were rolling

Backroom conversation and recording

  • Camera angle between Othello and Desdemona
  • Othello view from the top looking down, Desdemona/Rodrigo view from the bottom looking up
  • Iago holding door for Othello, submissiveness

strangling and throwing out

  • Desdemona is alive?
  • Iago is not attacked and Othello didn’t kill himself?
  • Confused about the ending
  • another drum solo: I don’t even love Jonny, Iago
  • Repeated shot between the two people
  • Imaginary band playing during Iago’s solo

Geoffrey Sax’s Othello

Geoffrey Sax’s Othello Symbols

  • Light on Iago’s face when he is scheming

  • Extreme closeup on Othello and Iago is close together

  • Drums + violin to build tension; happy violin to show happiness

  • Iago: “I know what you are talking about, I’ve been there”

    • BOTH interrogation
    • and the scene with Cass
  • Iago: “And that’s a promise

  • The Iago/Othello closeups are very close

  • Othello gave the impetus that he is afraid of marriage falling apart explicitly, and Iago explicitly planted into Cassio that their marrage is failing

    • Cassio in this version is much more active, it is not entirely a misunderstanding
  • “TLC”: shot from above—kind of pressure overpushing

  • Dessie bought the gown

  • moment whenever light comes across Iago’s face

  • repeating violin theme in happiness!!!!

  • repeating vocal theme in sadness!!!!

  • “It’s a shame really, really. He’s a broken man.”

    • Who is Iago talking to?
  • Is Othello really rushed to his head?

  • “I want an example made”: kind of a way of cracking

  • Advanced interrogation methods: methods of guaranteeing trust

  • “I know what you are talking about, I’ve been there”

    • interrogation
    • and the scene with Cass
    • and towards Othehllo
  • I don’t think I can handle it

    • before otherllo’s “death” (unraveling)
    • before the constable’s actual death
  • Othello realization

    • Extreme close ups
    • When Othello was about to kill Iago, lots of light on hisface
  • Death scene, repeat from the beginning, replaying the intro, but with DIFFERENT MUSIC

  • So desdemona looks the same as in life or death

  • Also Emilia didn’t die??

With remember

  • “And that’s a promise”

  • loud songs

  • light cast onto Iago’s face

  • Rainy, “hello”

  • The hankerchief is “Dessie’s early days”

  • What does the swimming symbolize?


  • extreme close up of lips, hands, blackness vs. whiteness
  • background singing: a little bit greek?

Intro Cuts

  • The cuts between chaos and peace: riots and looting
  • Othello is a policemen
    • Police: elevated POWER
    • Difference in modern power dynamic, etc.
  • Iago: breaking the 4th wall
  • “Yesterday’s Man”

Bathroom scene

  • Both groups secretly conspiring
  • Unbeliving (jelous? in love with? of Othello’s strength
  • It was recorded! Creating the difference

Justice under the law

“Justice under the law”, “unlawfully killed”: that is that meaning? Did Othello unlawfully kill?

  • Clear bold statement
  • “I know my worth”
    • Tell them the status
  • The eyes’ angle of Ben Iago:
  • Light casting directly cast onto Ben

Becomes a Commissioner

  • “Something loveable about everyone, even if they turned out to be assholes”
  • Iago and Emilia
  • “Don’t you think John is too good to be true”


  • Doxxing people on a nazi website
  • Michael cass as a form of protection:
  • Story is different


  • “They love each other” Extreme closeup of Othello and Iago
  • Cassio’s character is very indirect: uncomportable angles

Shell Marriage

  • “Shell marriage”: Iago priming Cassio
  • “Happy ending”: interview suspending as a way of pretense… of sexual hints?


  • Robe is the hankerchief