Assignment 1

October 17, 2011 | | Leave a Comment


Martin Vukaj


Med. St 144

History of Cin.


Analysis 1:


Umberto D: Maria and the Kitchen scene

  • Scene commences with medium-closeup of Maria awakening, then cut to cat walking on the roof (MS), then cut back to Maria
  • Maria’s hands are on her face, she is visibly tired. Cut to —>
  • Long – Medium shot of Maria walking down hallway into kitchen cut —>
  • She is in the kitchen (MS), viewer notices that it is very dirty, walls are scratched. There is, in my opinion, seemly depressing music being played whilst Maria is in the kitchen.
  • Maria then continues to light a match on the wall, notice scratch marks. An inference can be made that Maria has done this task all too often as there are what seems to be hundreds of scratch marks on the wall from her always lighting matches.
  • After the match sequence, Maria seems to look almost directly at the camera and begins to walk toward it then cut —>
  • The camera is outside the window (longshot going into a medium shot) still zooming on Maria. It zooms on Maria’s face and upper chest, but she is contained inside by the window, almost as if it is a barrier. Cut —>
  • Maria looks outside and the camera also switches view, in her perspective to what she sees. There is a cat walking. Cut —>
  • Cut back to Maria’s face and her eyes wander to something off screen (medium-closeup shot), and she moves toward the other window, then walks back toward the cabinet area in the kitchen, with her back to the camera (medium shot). Cut —>
  • The camera is now inside the kitchen, Maria’s back was still turned. Still a (medium-close shot, not showing the entirety of the kitchen but what Maria is interacting with. Her back is still turned as she goes to get the coffee pot. Then the camera pans as she walks to the sink to fill it with water. She uses the water to splash at the ants on the wall. The camera is revolving around the kitchen no cuts in this sequence as she brings the coffee pot to the stove. Her side is to the camera next to the stove. Cut —>
  • The shot is readjusted to be straight on, to see her front of her body, still a (medium-close shot) seeing the upper half of her body. She begins to touch her stomach, indicating the notion that she is pregnant, and looks up at something, the camera is slowly zooming in from a medium to a real close up shot of her torso and face. Cut—>
  • Back to medium shot of Maria. The camera pans, not changing view, just seems to slide and watch over her movements. Maria moves away from the stove, grabs the coffee grinder and her back is to the camera again, and then she sits with her back still to the camera. Cut—>
  • The camera cuts to a new shot, (medium) of Maria sitting down, her side, not a straight on view of her from the front, but an angled view. She puts coffee beans in the coffee grinder, and she looks up, beginning to grind, you can see a tear or tears underneath her eye. (the side angle may have been used so that the viewer can see the tears because maybe a straight on view of maria, you may have not been able to see the tear formation from the lighting) She keeps grinding, and then the camera moves down to her feet, and the viewer notices her trying to close the door with her feet. Cut—>
  • Medium-close shot of Maria’s upper body in the chair, you can see how she is slouching down to extend her leg to close the door. Cut—>
  • Close up of her foot nearing the door, and she gently taps it and the door closes slightly. Cut—>
  • Back to (medium-close shot) of Maria in the chair, still grinding coffee. Maria hears the door ring and she wipes her face, to remove any tears she could have possibly had left. She gets up. Cut —>
  • You see door opens, still (medium-close shot), then Maria’s back as she walks through the door. You only see Maria’s upper body portion again, like the rest of the scene. Cut —>
  • You still have Maria’s back to you, and then she opens the door and that is the end of the Kitchen scene with Maria.



There is much to be said on this scene about Maria. The overall analysis is that Maria is stuck in this same old routine that she has gone over hundreds of times, which is evident with the scratch marks from the matches on the wall. She is stuck in an old woman’s life but she is still a young girl, and is even hampered more by the fact that she is having a child (evident when she touches her stomach, and looks down at it.) She is still only a child, and the REPITION of her spilling the water on herself, also seen in previous scenes, seems to me as an indication that she is still a young girl, and clumsy, because usually children spill things on themselves.

When she also looks outside the window, she is contained by the window themselves, almost as a barrier from her to the outside world, and she sees a cat (actually twice, once when she wakes up looking through the roof, and another outside the kitchen). The cat most likely represents freedom, a freedom that Maria is most likely unable to have given the predicament she is in. Her eyes tell an amazing story through this sequence of shots. When she looks off camera, right before she leaves the window, it seems as though she is looking at something she cant have. She is looking at something the viewer cant see, and quite possibly could mean that she wants to leave the life she is in but she cant.

One of the most grasping shots has to be when she is sitting down and you can see the tears around her eye. The tears are actually a physical manifestation of how she is feeling. She is sad and begins to cry and all her physical gestures and her actions prior to this were hints to how she was feeling.

The directors and the producers of the film definitely chose a more stylistic way to express how Maria was feeling. The use of off screen observations by Maria were very important, the use of the cats, the scratch marks on the wall, her physical gestures, and the props (such as the window almost jailing Maria inside, and the action of her using the coffee pot, matches, water, and coffee grinder) all played important roles in allowing the viewer see a more complicated sequence of shots to display Maria’s feelings, and impose empathy for Maria.

All of the shots were straight cuts. The music was still playing during the entirety of the whole scene until the doorbell rings. The angles primarily used were straight on. A lot of natural lighting was used. Almost no artificial lighting from what I can recall and reviewed from the scene.

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