Wasp Textual Analysis
Wasp is an award winning short film which was directed by Andrea Arnold and stars actors such as Danny Dyer, Natalie Press and Jodie Mitchell. It was hailed by many people as it uses a range of shots and shows the challenges that working class people face in life.
The film shows the struggle a mum is having raising her young children in a rough part of Dartford. At the start of the film, the camera shows a person walking down the stairs which the audience later finds out was the mother. She is viewed walking bare foot down the stairs which would again show that she is working class and the audience is left wondering where she is going without footwear on. There is a high angled shot of the mother looking up at her children from the bottom of the stairs then the camera pans as the children begin to walk down the steps. As the children follow their mother outside, there is a close up shot from behind of the mother carrying the baby without a nappy on. This could show how much the mother is struggling to look after her children as she can’t even afford the bare essentials for them. When the mother arrives at the other mother’s house, there is a long shot of her standing at the door followed by a framed shot of the two of them beginning to fight. Once the fight begins to go onto the grass outside, the camera spins to show how the two mothers’ are being spun around by their hair by each other.
The audience can see straight away that she is a working class mum as her clothing appears cheap. The camera shows an establishing shot of the two mothers fighting and as one of them jumps onto the other and they fall on the floor, the camera goes to their level on the ground and shows on lookers watching them. This could appear a significant shot a it could be suggesting that the two mothers are low for using violence in front of their children. There is a strong use of taboo language which again shows their class to the audience. There is a shot reverse shot of the mother’s reactions to their children’s, then back to the mothers. As the children leave the scene of the fight, they all make a gesture towards the other mother; this allows the audience to see they are greatly influenced by their mother’s actions as she had just previously used taboo language in front of them. There is a medium shot of the mother walking home when there is a car pictured in the back of the scene, giving the audience the impression that they are being followed by someone.
There is a close up of the baby once the mother has handed it over to her eldest daughter to look after while she goes to see her ex boyfriend. Once she is at the car, there is a close medium close up of the ex boyfriend talking to the mother. The fact that he is low down in his car and she is shot appearing higher up than him could signify that she is in a stronger position than him. The shot of the mother looking back to her children whilst they are sitting on the curb side makes them look vulnerable as mother’s wouldn’t usually allow their children to sit near a busy road. There is a shot of the family walking off holding hands which could signal that even though they are struggling, they are united as a family. The shot of the flowers in the field and nothing else, could suggest that the family are isolated in the place that they live.
The audience sees a cut to the different shots of the neighbourhood and how it appears everyone in the neighbourhood is struggling, as the area seems downtrodden. The camera shows a variety of pictures that the children have drew while they were growing up, the non diegetic sound of the baby’s toy in the background combats the showing of the drawings as the mother appears happy while she is looking at them and the music is upbeat. The close up of a sticker that says ‘I want to be Barbie, that bitch has everything’ shows that the mother is very outgoing as people who base themselves on the imagery of Barbie dolls usually receive negative comments and criticism. When the baby starts crying, there is shot of the bag of sugar then a shot back to the baby, allowing the audience to assume that mother is going to feed the baby sugar, and she does just that. There is a long shot of the mother giving the eldest daughter the bag of sugar to share out between her children and ironically saying ‘not too much’ as she can’t afford to fully feed them. A close up of the mother’s purse shows the audience that she has barely any money to support her children. As she is counting her money, there is a non diegetic sound of a wasp buzzing in the background and then a close up of it crawling across the window which allows the audience to make the assumption that it is going to sting someone.
The family all set off to go to the pub and as they are walking, the is a shot of one of the daughters pushing her pram with a doll in it then almost a duplicate shot of the mother pushing the baby. The shot of the two prams is very effective as the doll’s eye closes then opens again making the audience think that it is a voodoo for the baby, therefore something is going to happen to it.
This is a clip from Angela Arnold's Wasp: