Here is a link that shows the “I want my cigarettes" scene, from the film
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Choosing a Linear piece of Media was hard, I think I chose a safe bet by picking a film that was made before non linear editing was popular in the 1990's. Either way this is a scene that starts at the beginning and progresses to an end point.
When it comes to the relationship between sound and image I thought was cleverly done. It’s common for films to have music underlying the dialog to enhance the mood of a scene. But, this only had dialog which in my opinion enhanced the relationship between the images. And, allowed me as a viewer to focus on the dialog between the characters (to really observe their tone and emotions).
The scene opens up with the character Cheswick asking with a stern voice for his cigarettes. The sound of ONLY his voice automatically makes me feel present; it draws me into the scene.
The camera shots shift between the patients and staff in a slow rhythm. These images play on the silence in the background; it symbolizes the built up tension and anger that wells up in nurse Ratched. When Mcurphy says, “Cigarettes are not important, will ya”, and see nurse Ratched’s bitter look I understand where her fury comes from at that moment. That particular shot with that specific dialog lets me know she wasn’t angry about the cigarette at all. She was angry about McMurphy trying to control her patients; he is in a sense, taking away her authority.
The shots become short and faster as of view bounces from patient to patient, and back to Cheswick. These images go along with the fact they are passing around a cigarette and that Cheswick wants “his” cigarettes. But, it also perfectly correlates the sped up dialog. The images are more chaotic and sounds grow louder expressing the growth of Cheswick’s temper.
The sound eventually dominates the images to represent the tension and opposing sides between the staff and patients. Nurse Ratched’s voice is calm and on the opposite side of the spectrum Cheswick is still really loud. She uses her calm voice to manipulate Cheswick into being calm too. This is an awesome transition to Cheswick ‘s” I hate you, but I’ll do what you say anyway” facial expression.
As the scene progresses see the image of Cheswick’s second outburst is provoked by an environmental chaos. (Before it was his frustration led to the passing cigarette chaos frenzy, now it was another patient’s outburst that allowed him to scream.) The image of the patients’ reaction to his pants on fire is symbolic for Cheswick’s internal state. For all the patient’s internal states as we find out late in the film, because they all in a sense feel trapt.
Finally, when I saw see and heard McMurphy break the glass I was relieved. The sound broke my built up tension/anxiety as an audience member. But, it was too little too late. The cigarettes didn’t matter anymore Cheswick was too far gone in his emotional state. The image of him being held and taken left me upset.
The relationship between Sound-Image and Image- Image had definitely created a moment in me and dragged me through several emotions. It served its purpose in plot, but it was an extremely well done representation of the characters' mental and emotional state.
There were a lot of shots that switched perspectives, but that is justified because was giving a fair share, each character was represented. It made the battle between the McMurphy and Ratched was clear and it showed how McMurphy’s authoritative nature is used a leader to the patients with no say.