Angel’s Egg is a movie rich in surreal symbolism. As a whole the film is abstract and difficult to decipher but many scenes or shots on their own are eloquently lucid. It’s the vivid composition and meticulous camera work that constructed such visually engrossing and cohesive scenes.
The huge antenna structure functions as a strong leading line that visually guides the viewers’ eyes to the sky. With the viewers focused on the sky, the scene cuts to a shot of it with the camera tilting up to slowly reveal the main subject of interest, which is the descending orb. The third image compositionally puts everything together. The antenna continues to function as a leading line as it points to the orb. It also provides linear perspective, which creates depth. The man’s presence along with the orb establishes the important connection between the two. The last image also uses compositional triangle to not only provide balance but to connect all the subjects. This is a well thought out scene that visually presents the importance of the orb and its connection with the man.
The first image was the first shot of the girl. It has a monochromatic chiaroscuro look but what makes it striking is the use of bloom. The chiaroscuro exaggerates the bloom which makes the girl look ethereal and angelic. It was important that this imagery was established early on since the movie strongly presents a divine relationship between the girl and the egg.
The second shot uses the arc as a framing element. Arcs are a reoccurring shape in this movie. More importantly, the warm colors in the last two shots are consistent with the previously talked about scene. This was to provide a stark contrast that would exaggerate the gloomy mood exuded by the muted blue hue that dominated the rest of the movie.
The slow camera pull and tracking movements behind the windows create a haunting observer’s point of view. This view immerses the audience into the eerily abandoned town and produces a strong sense of desolation. In addition, the girl being repeatedly framed within the windows visually communicates her isolation. The scene ties everything together by ending with an overhead reverse establishing shot that shows all the windows and the girl standing all alone.
The first shot uses forced perspective to magnify the size of the egg relative to the girl. This further stresses out the importance of the egg to the girl. This juxtaposition also can be interpreted as showing the egg to be the defining purpose of the girl’s life.
The second image is a full shot of the man, the girl and the egg. The prior shots were consisted of mid-longs, mid-shots and a close up in order to build drama and engage the viewers. This full shot provides context to the dramatic shots by framing all the important elements together. In essence it’s the cohesion of the previous shots. This shot was also held for 16 seconds, the extended take lets the audience recognize and then absorb the significance of the moment. It let us observe the curiosity of the man, the distrust of the girl and their apprehensive interaction.
It’s subtle but that full shot made great use of leading lines to add more focus. Even though, the audience’s eyes are naturally drawn to the subjects on the screen, the use of compositional tools like leading lines can make a big difference in augmenting the significance of the shot.
This scene uses the curves of the fence shadows to create a relaxing mood that reflects the girl’s softening feelings towards the man. In this scene she has come to accept his company. The sped up passing shadows also add a dreamlike feeling, as if to suggest all of this is happening in the girl’s head. When, it cuts to an overhead shot the scene slows down and reverts back to reality.
This wide shot was held for about two minutes. The audience again plays the role of the observer. The long take creates anticipation on what the man will do. As the fire light flickers and the place dims, we wonder if he will accept her trust and companionship or break the egg. Unfortunately for the girl it was the latter.
This is the shot of the girl after she found her egg in pieces. The cracks used as converging leading lines combined with the spot light strongly emotes the girl’s anguish and despair. Also, the spotlight combined with the overhead look resembles a stage play presentation that makes it more engrossing.