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Formalist Analysis of Cinematography in King of Boys – The Return of the King

Formalist Analysis of Cinematography in King of Boys – The Return of the King

The Return of the King, the second installment of the Nigerian thriller Netflix film series King of Boys, provides a gripping narrative centered around Alhaja Eniola Salami, a multifaceted character with a complex past and a promising political future. In this piece, we delve into a formalist analysis of a specific scene from the film, exploring how cinematography serves as a powerful tool in conveying cultural nuances, emotional depth, and thematic significance.

The selected scene, occurring between the 13:01-15:25 timeline, focuses on a conflict between two traditional rulers, each grappling with the abduction of their children. The cinematography in this scene is not merely a visual spectacle; it serves as a deliberate storytelling device, intricately weaving together the cultural fabric of Nigerian society.
An extreme long shot is strategically employed to establish the mediation and potential reconciliation between the two rulers. Placing the abducted children at the left-hand corner of one ruler and his queen, and the second ruler and his queen seated at the left side of the mediator, creates a visual balance. This shot, coupled with pan left and right camera movements, crafts an ideal dispute resolution setting deeply rooted in Nigerian culture and broader African ethical systems.

As the camera gradually moves to a very long shot of the invited traditional ruler expressing his displeasure, the audience is drawn into the emotional landscape of the characters. The subsequent shift to a medium-close-up shot captures the second ruler’s anger, juxtaposed with his queen’s fearful expression. This deliberate use of shot composition heightens the emotional tension, creating a palpable atmosphere for the unfolding dialogue.

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The cinematographic journey continues with a replication of similar shots to capture the responses of both rulers and their queens, showcasing their mournful moods. A close-up shot is then introduced to unveil the mediator as a traditional chief, emphasizing his pivotal role in calming the characters’ emotional imbalances. This seamless transition from medium-close-up to close-up enhances the audience’s connection with the characters, adding depth to the narrative.

Introducing a flashback proves to be a masterstroke in providing thematic meaning to the scene. Before employing this cinematic device, a close-up shot captures the mediator’s mood, allowing viewers to gauge the extent of his involvement. The queen of the invited ruler, strategically positioned, becomes the gateway to the flashback, underlining the importance of visual cues in narrative progression.

In essence, the formalist analysis of this scene unveils the meticulous craftsmanship of the director in utilizing cinematography as a language of its own. The deliberate choice of shots, camera movements, and the seamless integration of cinematic devices like flashbacks contribute to the overall aesthetic and narrative richness of the film.
As we consider this analysis, it becomes evident that the cinematography serves as a conduit for cultural representation, emotional expression, and thematic depth. It seamlessly integrates traditional elements with contemporary storytelling, making “King of Boys – The Return of the King” not just a cinematic experience but a cultural exploration.

the formalist analysis of this selected scene from “King of Boys – The Return of the King” highlights the director’s adeptness in using cinematography as a storytelling tool. The nuanced use of various shots and cinematic devices adds layers to the narrative, elevating the film beyond mere entertainment to a thought-provoking exploration of culture, emotion, and storytelling excellence.

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