Ward’s First Year

This morning, I found this truly amazing video– a documentary made by a father following the first year or so of his son’s life after his premature birth, 3.5 months before his due date.  While watching the incredibly moving footage, I found myself considering rhetorical choices made, just like we’ve been doing in class with the Concept in 60 videos.  While you watch, keep some of those same questions in mind:  What is the message?  How is the message conveyed visually?  How are video/text/still images used?  How does the music affect the message?  How does the filmmaker play with sound and silence?

How cool is that?  Some observations:

  1. I absolutely LOVE the music.  The way it builds from solemn, cautious, and almost mournful to joyful and exuberant kind of mirrors the course of Ward’s life so far, really driving that point home.
  2. I was really affected by the contrast between the music and the white noise of the hospital in the opening shots, the sounds of machines whirring and nurses chattering.  When the music begins, it’s like all of that falls away.  This move does a great job of replicating the mindset of Ward’s parents; when they’re looking at their baby or holding him close, they’re alone with their emotions and all the rest falls away.
  3. Although the text fit nicely with the song in that it appeared when The Fray was singing about “home,” I think the song and images alone could have expressed that message.  It didn’t detract but because of the beauty of the sound and visuals it seemed a bit superfluous.
  4. This message couldn’t have been transmitted as powerfully in any other form than video.  It seems to me that Ward’s father sought, not only to record his baby’s first days, but to capture the beauty and fragility of life and a demonstration of the strength of the smallest and weakest among us, a will for survival that provides hope for the future.  This is a multi-faceted message and I think that video demonstrates that dynamism, illustrating life more forcefully than still images could.

What do you guys think about this video?

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