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UB BIO 201LLB - I, Tonya -2

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“I, Tonya”, directed by Craig Gillespie, is a movie about the renowned American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history which is based on a true story. Harding was the first American female figure skater to complete a triple axel in competition. Tonya experienced a lot of ups and downs, but she still managed to break into a great sport while her divine technique had a huge number of fans. This film though is not a typical sports story. It focuses on the fact that Harding suffered numerous abusive relationships. Plenty of movies show issues of domestic violence and portray the abuser who believes that he or she is a good person and all the actions are caused because of the victim. The latter is often shown as a weak and fearful person. Tonya was abused during her childhood and it continued when she was already an adult. Her mother humiliated her physically and emotionally, never believing she was good enough, even despite Tonya’s athletic abilities being extraordinary and exceptional. The movie represents the abusive relationships and domestic violence that are shown through different types of shots such as zoom, close up and medium close up. The first abusive relationship in “I, Tonya” is between Tonya and her mother. Her motheris physically and emotionally offensive throughout Tonya’s entire upbringing. At the beginning of the movie, it is explained in one of the interviews of Tonya’s mother, where scenes cut between the interview and where it demonstrates how she is beating eight-year-old Tonya, kicking a chair from underneath her and hitting her with a hair brush. The filmmaker used a popular cinematic technique known as the zoom shot in order to make the audience focus on these short scenes. During such a shot, the camera remains stationary, maintaining a constant perspective of the scenes as the lens zoom from a wide angle to telephoto, or zoom in (Mercado).It immediately brings the audience to an action. This type of camera shot makes us pay particularattention to the abusive relationship and makes it more personal. But Tonya’s mother does notconsider herself a bad person. Conversely, she sees herself as a positive influence on her daughter, which pushes her to greatness and occasional abuse is simply a tool for upbringing. This type of unrepentant behavior exhibited by the mother is conveyed in the movie through close up shots as well as a subtle use of sounds and music. The zoomed in cut has the power to explain a person’s emotions without having to narrate it, which is mostly achieved through showing detailed facial expressions. Tonya’s mother has always had no remorse while conduing herself in the way that she did or while explaining her abusive actions towards Tonya. Additionally, sounds and music, including its respective absence and different volumes, make viewers pay more or less attention to certain scenes without the audience even realizing it.Domestic violence had the effect of lowering Tonya’s self-esteem since she was mistreated all her childhood and it continued even when she became an adult. The filmmaker uses different cinematic techniques in order to create a significant scene and, in this way, the audience extracts meaning from images to understand a story by establishing connections between shots (Mercado). In the scene when Tonya and her mother were sitting in the kitchen, the filmmaker used the medium close up shot to let the audience focus on the behavior and emotions of the character, and it includes the shoulders which convey the importance of body language. The camera moves to each character as they were talking. In this way, the audience could see that Tonya’s mother's face was angry and disappointed since Tonya received low scoresin the competition. Tonya’s face was indifferent, yet also sad. The scene starts with a conflict where Tonya’s mother slapped her in the face. After, the fight escalates to the point where Tonya’s mother throws a knife into Tonya’s arm, the atmosphere in the scene was very loud and chaotic; however, when everyone sees a knife stuck in the arm, the sounds become very silent and deathlike, which is a powerful method to concentrate all the attention on the drama of thesituation. Moreover, a close up shot of this moment was used to emphasize domestic violence, then the camera showed both characters’ faces which expressed shock of what happened. Tonya’smother pushed her daughter to become a great skater by using violence, and she believed that Tonya never repaid in any way even though she became the first woman to complete a triple axel.There is a perception that her life disadvantages could have found expression in how she was judged. Tonya’s entire life, she always was humiliated by her mother and she could not do anything. It eventually becomes what leads her into a second abusive relationship. She gets married and her husband, Jeff, also physically abuses her, although sees himself as a nice and loving partner. Most of the time, he rationalizes his behavior in the context of passion and support for Tonya. This means that Jeff is able to occupy the same space and function in Tonya's life as her mother. The movie shows various scenes of Jeff beating up Tonya. The camera moves with Tonya, showing that she wanted to run away from her husband, but she could not. For the victim, it is always difficult to get rid of an unhealthy relationship because the abuser convinces the victim to believe that all the actions are a result of the victim's behaviour. The next scene demonstrates that this relationship is very dangerous and can lead to many consequences. In this scene where Tonya left the house and wanted to start her own life, the filmmaker uses the medium close up shot to focus on Jeff’s face when he came to Tonya to beg her to come back. This shot let the audience view that Jeff’s face is full of sadness and pain. When the camera moves to Tonya, her eyes express the fear and fright since Jeff holds a gun in his hand. After the medium close up shot, it expands to a long shot where the audience sees how Tonya tries to escape from her husband, but he shoots at the ground, and the bullet accidentally ricochets andtouches Tonya’s face. The movie discusses an important issue when abuse becomes a routine andthe person being abused becomes desensitized to it.Hence, young and impressionable Tonya, with no one else to support her, virtually


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