Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ethnicity representation and Camera shots in TV drama - Hotel Babylon

Identifying ethnicities

This TV drama makes the ethnicities and racial backgrounds of all of the workers clear to the audience as soon as they are shown by giving them extremely over exaggerated stereotypical aspects, such as how they look and act. This is very common in TV dramas and is done to let the audience know key features about the characters' personalities based on what they have seen in the media through their lives; this technique is used to quickly give information about the characters without the need to explain, therefore making it easier for the production team and the audience.
  • This screenshot uses a medium/mid shot camera angle to present the fear in every one of the immigrant characters as they hide; this angle shows how each one of them is scared.

Interests, personalities, attitudes and behaviours based on ethnicity

The interests, personalities, attitudes and behaviours of every character in this TV drama are assigned to them based on their ethnicity and common stereotypes from the media that go with them. A clear example of this is through the character Jackie, who is presented to be of Asian ethnicity or origin. This character is seen by her desk working on a computer and surrounded by technological gadgets when she is first introduced in this extract; this presents the common stereotype of Asian people being intelligent and interested in technology. Her intelligence is presented once more when she has a plan to hide the immigrant workers and takes charge of the situation.

These stereotypes are used to let the audience know what kind of people the characters are without the need to explain.
  • The screenshot to the left uses an interior close-up on the character of Asian ethnicity to clearly present her actions to the audience; this angle makes it obvious that she is counting.
  • The screenshot to the right uses a high angle medium shot to present her at her desk; this shows the stereotype of Asian people being intelligent. The high angle is used to show how this stereotype makes her weak in this setting.
The importance of their ethnicities in their lives

The ethnicities of the characters are shown to be very important to them in this TV drama; this is seen in the final scene of the extract. The two characters that are stereotypically presented as African are shown praying before they eat their food; this shows that they prioritise their religion and ethnicity over eating.
  • This screenshot uses a pan to reveal the stereotypes of each ethnicity as they are divided into groups on each table; the camera pans across several tables to show the stereotypical characteristics of each ethnicity.
Ethnicities portrayed to have more power

In this TV drama, the white British characters are portrayed to have more power than those of other ethnicity. This can be seen through the immigration officers as they are presented as the antagonists that hold power over the hotel workers as they gain control and inflict fear into them; this is because they have the power to deport any of the immigrant workers. Also, the white secretary character is presented to have power as she bosses around the other workers at the hotel and acts as if she is above them; an example of this is where she states that a black man has a 'brain like a sift'.
  • The screenshot on the right uses a medium/mid shot to show the three white antagonists; this shot allows the audience to see each character to present how dominant and powerful they are.
  • The screenshot on the right also uses a medium/mid shot to show the white secretary's actions; this supports the stereotype of white people being strict and powerful as it clearly presents the character demanding a foreign man to work.

Ethnicities portrayed to be abnormal/weaker

In this TV drama, every character that has any ethnicity other than white and British is portrayed as a weaker or abnormal character. This is clear because all of the immigrant workers in the hotel have to hide away to avoid getting taken away by the immigration officers; this makes them less powerful that the white British characters. These weak characters are also presented as abnormal; this can be seen through the overly stereotypical ways that each one of them acts depending on where they are from.

These two aspects are used to make the audience think that people from other places are strange and therefore shouldn't be accepted.
  • This short scene uses several handheld interior close-ups to clearly show the fear of each specific immigrant character; the handheld part of this scene creates a sense of realism to make the fearful aspect of the situation immersive to the audience.

How the characters treat those from different ethnic backgrounds

The characters of different ethnicities are treated differently by different people. The character Adam is presented to be of African ethnicity, it is suggested that he was previously a doctor as he is able to help a fellow immigrant worker of a different ethnic background. This shows that the characters that are immigrants and from different ethnic backgrounds treat each other fairly and kindly. The immigration officers treat the characters of different ethnic backgrounds unfairly and use their power to gain control of them, resulting in the immigrants being deported. This mistreatment can be seen when they chase, capture and take away the character 'Ibrahim'.

  • The screenshot on the left uses a high angle shot to present how the hiding immigrant characters are weak in this situation, especially the woman having a hypoglycaemic attack.
  • The screenshot on the right uses a low angle shot to present how the white characters in this scene have power over the immigrant character. These two shots use opposite angles to represent the power that people of different ethnicities have.

The message portrayed by the extract

This extract attempts to portray the message that immigrants and people from different ethnic backgrounds are mistreated and should actually be respected and accepted as they are presented to be caring, kind and very similar to us in the way that they mourn over the loss of Ibrahim.

  • The short clip on the left uses a high angle interior close-up shot to present how the immigrant character is weak and has no power; the close-up aspect of this shot clearly show the audience that the character is recovering.
  • The short clip on the right uses an interior close-up shot to present the sadness and mourning on the characters' faces; this tells the audience that immigrants are caring.