Scene 1 (general Aung Sang is assassinated)
The opening scene of Luc Bessons The Lady is describing the events in Burma shortly before General Aung Sang was helping the nation gain independence from the British rule. However the scene depicts the events when a group of armed men of previous prime minister U Saw with illicitly gained British guns shot and killed Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers at a political meeting in downtown Rangoon where they were discussing the future of Burmese politics. The scene starts with an over the shoulder following General Aung San walking down the corridor in the Secretariat Building. This is paired with muffled almost silent audio with eerie sounds which creates a feeling of uncertainty in the viewers like we are watching over Aung San but have no control of the events that are about to unfold. The following shot we are introduced to the next main character of the scene with a mid shot of a shady looking man smoking. The sound then switches to Shaka’s and an assortment of other hand played instruments which continuously increase in frequency creating a sense of anticipation for the viewer. Luc Besson pairs this with a wide-angle shot of three men walking down the same corridor Aung Sang did. The shot shows the men simultaneously put on red scarf. Luc Besson uses the red scarf is used in various parts of the films as a representation a position of power in the military. The director also uses this form of prop as a symbol of dictatorship as we can see from history is similar dictatorships such as Mao’s China, The Soviet union and North Korea the color red is seen in a lot of propaganda and symbols representing the blood of the people and the expectation of the citizens of that country to be willing to give their blood for the good of the country. This prop in itself tells us a lot about the intentions of the three men and the dictatorship that they represent without the use of any dialogue which is a direct reflection of Luc Bessons cinema du look auteur style. The following scene is a wide-angle shot showing the men kick open the door and enter the room. The audio then goes silent and muffled paired with the scene going into slow motion giving the atmosphere a near death feel. We then see Aung Sang slowly turn around as the assassin draws a gun to his head. An extreme close up on Aung sangs face is used by Luc Besson to show emotionless look being displayed by Aung Sang showing that he is willing to give the enemy no satisfaction indicating to the viewer that he is mentally strong even in the face of death. The fact that he is content with going peacefully shows that he has more power in the situation despite having a gun to his head indicating his dedication to democracy even past his death. This is directly contrasted with a similar shot of the assassin except he looks reckless and angry before pulling the trigger. These two scenes show us the nature of Aung Sang as a peaceful yet strong man and the very opposite nature of the military directly reflecting Luc Bessons auteur style of main characters showing integrity in their corrupt world. In a way this scene sets up the rest of the film for us viewers by showing us the way Aung Sang reacts when the soldier acts out irrationally in which later in film we see a similar conflict of personalities in Aung sangs Daughter and General Ne win. The scene then comes to an end with the use of a panning shot of daughter Aung sang Suu Kyi as a child sleeping indicating the potential significance these events will play in her in the future. Overall the scene as a whole is brutal to watch as a viewer and in doing so leads us as below the surface of society to see a more distasteful reality which is a prominent style in Luc Bessons films.
Scene 2 (Aung Sang Suu Kyi
Luc Besson uses this scene to depict the events at a of a national league for democracy public event led by Aung Sang Suu Chi in Rangoon which ends up being shut down the military. The opening scene is a low shot of a recently put up National League for democracy banner. Luc Besson often uses the low angle shot to emphasize a person or object and give it power in this case Luc Besson uses this shot to set the scene as well give Aung Sang Suu Kyi a false sense of power which we find out is soon taken away. Besson directly contrasts this shot later in the scene with the same shot of the banner being pulled down aggressively by the military. Despite it being a small detail these two shots do a great job of indicating a shift in power from Aung Sang Suu Kyi to the military. We are introduced to Aung Sang Suu Kyi and her entourage with a panning shot from above them. The lighting used is bright and euphoric like something out a nativity paining giving Aung Sang Suu Kyi an angelic like the image. The clothing used is humble and simple such as white plain shirts and modest shoes worn by Aung Sang Suu Kyi and her followers she is also wearing flowers in her hair which is a traditional symbol of Burma. On the other side of things, an unlit wide-angle lens shot showing six soldiers in full military over the top uniform lined with the intent to fire.This scene used by Luc Besson reflects his general style of cinema du look in which he shows ”spectacle over narrative” in other words using a variety of techniques to show a story rather than narrative. He successfully does this in this scene as the clothing lighting and camera shots show us the level the military is going to control this one woman as well as the different light they are viewed in. The final scene involves Aung Sang Suu Kyi disregarding a generals threat to fire if she came any closer, walked straight through the line of soldiers and into point blanch range of the general. We then are presented with an extreme close up on Aung San Suu Kyis face where she closes her eyes and gives no emotion making no retaliation what so ever which shows that despite having a gun in her face she has more power in the situation. The significance of this scene is that Luc Besson uses a flashback shot of a similar scene from the start of the film of her father before being shot. Besson backs this up with muffled sound along with peaceful music which along with portraying both General Aung Sang and his daughter’s non-rebellious nature manages to create a feeling of suspense in the viewer as to what events are about to unfold. We are then quickly reassured when the music stops and the audio continues and the soldier is ordered to move out. Overall this scene shows us the similarity between Aung Sang and Aung Sung Suu Kyi and their dedication for their country.