The opening Sequence is important in a film because it needs to capture the viewer’s interest. It also needs to explain to us what the film is about. To do so the opening sequence must be able to show the important themes that will be used throughout the film. It tells us about the characters also. It tells us whether or not the characters are serious or funny. There are many ways in which the opening scene can capture the viewer’s interest. It can foreshadow information to create curiosity, tension, humour and even sadness.
It is important to introduce characters in the opening scene because the director’s aim at this point is to make the viewer care about the characters and feel what they feel. This makes the viewer feel part of the action. The film opens with a shot of the roofs of terraced houses. This type of shot is called a high angle shot. This shot is used to show the viewer where the film is set. In this case the shot suggests that the film is set in the past. The scene shows small squashed houses, which suggests that the houses may be owned by the working class, it also shows the film will be set in northern England.
Alongside the scene we hear music. The opening music is a 1970s pop record called ‘The Banner Man’ by blue mink. Not only does this music date the film it shows us that the film will be light hearted and funny. Soon after we see a close up of Christ on the cross, which pans down to the Pakistani girl holding him. This creates surprise that a Pakistani girl is carrying a Christian or western symbol. This image creates a clash yet it still suggests harmony and mixing of cultures. The first piece of dialogue in the film occurs here.
It is said as follows: “Check out the nurses” Its George, he’s back early from mosque” “Red alert, red alert” This dialogue and the way it is said adds to our understanding of the story and foreshadows what is to come. This dialogue suggests that the family is used to deceiving their father. This creates a humorous effect. It also tells us that George does not approve of non-Muslim activity. George seems to give orders. But George is not as ‘in control’ as he thinks, because his family are always going behind his back. We then see George standing smiling. He is quite obviously enjoying the parade. This adds a sense of humour.
It is funny because although George is enjoying the parade, he is not aware that his kids are taking part. It becomes more funny because we know that is George knew his kids were taking part he would be very angry and quite simply he would not be smiling. This creates dramatic irony. As the camera cuts into the house, the music stops. This type of cut is called a jump cut. The shot takes the viewer to a different time and place. This shows us that we have changed scenes. The music stopping also tells us this. The silence in the scene changes the atmosphere from rowdy and light-hearted to serious.
Once inside the house we are shown close ups of the children’s portraits on the wall. This shows that Family is going to be an important theme in the film. It also introduces us to the characters, showing the viewer that the family sticks together. There is a close up of Munir’s backside, pouring water into a bath. This close up sets a comic tone and informs the viewer that the film will be funny in an unsophisticated scatological way. Straight after we see the extreme close up of the wedding garments. The humorous scene of Munir in the bath clashes with the seriousness of the close up of the beautiful and expensive wedding garments.
This suggests a clash between tradition and modernity. The scene shows a sehra; to some viewers it may seem to show marriage in a humorous or sweet way. It tells us that the film contains bittersweet. Throughout the opening sequence the director tries to show a contrast between Pakistani and English culture. One way of showing contrast is the costume. Back in the house we see Mina wearing a sari showing Pakistani dress and we see Ella wearing a traditional English wedding dress, and lastly we see Sajid in a mixture of both cultures wearing a waistcoat and a hat over a parka. The mixing of traditions sets a comic tone.