Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on post-1945 film-making. Through his use of historical footage, recordings, and photographs, Stone is able to capture a sense of the historic in JFK that is rarely seen in films that aren’t strictly within the documentary classification. Despite his insistence that he is not trying to portray a historically factual documentary regarding the assassination, Stone utilizes several real-life players in depicting his version of events. Key among these is President Kennedy himself. By refusing to recast the president, Stone not only proves his talent as a director working with limited available footage, he provides a sense of reality into the story. When he uses the Zapruder film, Stone is able to inject a somber mood of reflection as audiences realize this is the actual event and not a staged recreation. The man in the picture really ends up dead when the camera stops rolling. Another significant cameo appearance is that of Jim Garrison himself as the Honorable Chief Justice Earl Warren. By placing him in this role, Stone adds an ironic twist to the story, yet also suggests that anyone placed in the real-life role may have been obligated to come to the same conclusions the Warren Commission delivered. The film’s technical consultant Robert Groden appeared several times in the film, first as a doctor trying to resuscitate the president at Parkland Hospital and later as the court’s projectionist. Through these roles, Stone, who believes in the subtlety of film as shown in his use of subliminal messages, perhaps is suggesting that he has his own eyes and ears in the most significant aspects of the story. Real life assassination witness Jean Hill also appeared in the film as the stenographer taking down Hill’s real-life statement. Again, the underlying message is that of authenticity – Hill wouldn’t change her own statements or misrepresent what she said herself. Although both directors use shifting camera angles, shifting shadows or quickly shifting images to help define their topic and to encourage audience members to see things in the same ‘light’, Altman and Stone are able to do so in unique ways that develop completely different ideas about their subject. . By watching the scenes without sound, one can begin to develop an appreciation for the ways in which the camera alone takes on the duties of an actor by portraying the shifting nature of man or the way in which memory tends to capture only isolated images rather than a smoothly running motion clip. .
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