Body language

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Body language is the unspoken communication of all living creatures, we understand it and react unconsciously. When capturing imagery or creating it, tapping into natural mechanic can help create the fundamentals of conveying a story.


Below is the first meeting scene between Hannibal and Clarice the bit I am interested in is the part in which Hannibal receives the questionnaire from Clarice.


The section as detailed is Hannibal opens the hatch, takes the questionnaire , stands side on, leaning on the glass, licks his finger then winks at Clarice. She responds by shuddering with a nervous smile as she half blinks.

Hannibal:

  1. Stands side on – He is showing that she is no threat to him and that he is in control.

  2. Leans – Portrays that he is in no rush.

  3. Licks finger – Colloquial gesture of western world, creates a false sense of security with Clarice to unnerve her (dominating).

  4. Winks – as above, trying to instil trust so she trusts his word.

  5. Piercing glance – the eyes are used to see straight through to the soul, Hannibal is fixated on Clarice, the heaviness of the eyes shows he is focusing, scanning her to dismantle her.

  6. Smile – a threat of situation change he knows its going his way. he is not locked in a cage, she is locked in here with him.

  7. Dark eyes – hiding behind the shadows of his inset eyes, he works in the dark where people are afraid of because he knows he cant be seen/read.

These are all used as a form of primal communication that he knows he is in charge and can now lower defences. He knows that he is not the only one locked in the cage, se is locked in the room with him; he knows he is in control.

Clarice:

  1. Sat down – adopted a weakened stance, shows submission.

  2. Shudders – she has been unnerved by the situation.

  3. Smiles – this false smile is used to try and diffuse the situation to try and regain control, this is contradicted by her eyes. Try’s to mirror emotion to try and achieve a connection for mutual gains.

  4. Half blink – she is on to high of an alert to fully close her eyes, when the eyes are closed you are defenceless, she cannot afford to fully close the eyes.

  5. Wide eyes – worried, keeps large amount of light in the eyes to focus on entire area like a lens aperture being wider to get more.

  6. Red lips – lips become more red when emotional charged, she is worried.

  7. Holding the jaw – she is tense in the jaw, she is preparing herself for fight or flight.

Clarice has adopted the submissive action, this is likely for her own protection as fighting a man in which she knows the reputation of could be bad for her, however it could be argued that this is a front to get what she wants out of Hannibal seeing as she could come to no physical harm due to him being in a glass box, however it would be safe to assume that she is also worried about the psychological damage that Hannibal could do as she knew his profession. The amount of information,  that can be gained from 4 seconds of footage due to body language alone, there is no dialogue in this clip, however provided time has been invested before, we can instantly recognise the situation. This is what we do in everyday life as well as what we see on screen.

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