In the final speech scene of ‘The Kings Speech’ distortion occurs with a wide angle lens. Close ups are very, very close to the camera. The distortion is uncomfortable as it feels as though it is the point of view of the the other person. It mimics invasion of personal space. As in the rest of the camera rocks slightly, the camera is at just out of level. A slight wobble alluding to the King’s Speech impediment and the anxiety he is feeling.
Towards the King (Colin Firth) the microphone is initially like a noose, then prison-like, bars cross the King’s face .The microphone is like another character in the room frequently shown closer to the camera to show its position of power i.e. the strongest. As the speech goes on and the King becomes more fluent the camera is shown smaller as though its power has diminished and the his face is nor obscured as though set free by his fluency . A narrow depth of field is employed, focussing on the faces of the King and Lough, the speech therapist.
This scene, like the rest of the film is very intimate. It shows the close bond between the two men which has transcended the therapist/client relationship.
It cuts away to listeners in the wider world, again using odd compositions that have been used throughout the film with actors angled out of the screen rather than across/ into the screen. Like the ultra-wide angle cinematography in the ‘The Third Man’ the vanishing points are outside of the screen to create disorientation in the viewer to increase empathy of what the King is feeling. The shot of the soldiers moves the focus deep into the picture. Focus has been used throughout the picture to denote importance.
At the beginning Lough has equal screen time in the scene actively encouraging ,again as it progresses the focus becomes the King. The encouragement no longer required.
The film won Best Director, Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and nominated for eight others including cinematography. It was similarly nominated in the Golden Globes, and Baftas in the same category but did not win. However, it was beaten by ‘Inception’ an extraordinary cinematographic presentation.
The distortions in the camera reflecting the psychological disturbances are very impressive indeed. I would like to use this technique when filming in Ilfracombe to add this sense of distortion. and that everyone is looking at the character.