Gordon’s Will is the 2nd episode of a six part series called Changi. The story is of one mans struggle to overcome and survive life in a POW camp. Gordon uses flash backs to reconstruct the past for the audience. Gordon (in the present time) has suffered a stroke and is having major medical and family troubles. Most of the show is shot in the POW camp where the secret nine live, a group of Gordon’s friends that are also being held captive and that have formed an unbreakable and special bond. Midway through the show Gordon is asked to salute lieutenant Aso. When Gordon refuses, Aso commands Gordon to stand on a box until he is ready to salute, Gordon still refuses and stands on the box for three days, this is an example of Gordon’s will to survive Changi with respect.
There are many influential characters in Changi. ‘The Secret nine’ are a ‘band of brothers’ who without each other could not have emotionally survived the Changi POW camp. Gordon is the most influential character in the show, being that this episode is based on his time in the camp and life after it.
Changi needed to use alot of dialogue because it is a television program. Australian slang such as ‘G, day’, ‘bloody hell’, ‘Japs’ and ‘stick ya bib in’ is used regularly throughout the show. Japanese is used throughout Changi wich gives the show a sence of urgency and helps to establish the setting. In the opening title you hear soothing/melodic music with a sudden burst of screaming, crying and wailing, this is symbolic of the pain and suffering Gordon (and other POW captives) had top survive.
Changi is set around Gordon (an old man in the present and a young man in flashbacks). In the present Gordon is a lonely, old and sick man. In the Flashbacks Gordon was strong, stubborn, and willing to do anything in order to survive. The literal setting is a Japanese POW camp and a hospital, both places are symbolic of death.
Many different camera techniques are used to develop the theme in Changi. Extreme close ups are used mainly in Changi to show fear and desperation on a characters face. In the second half of the show an extreme close up is used, it focuses on sweat that is dropping from Gordon’s head when he is standing on the box, this was to show Gordon’s determination to survive.
On the Road to Gundagai is used as a theme song for the ‘secret 9’. Music was a coping mechanism for Gordon and his fellow prisoners so as to survive imprisonment with a stable mind. On the road to Gundagai was used because a lot of Australian people know and recognise that song.
Both Changi and the Shoehorn Sonata have many similarities and many differences. In regards to the plot the Shoehorn Sonata and Changi are both about WW2 and being captured in a POW but are from two different perspective’s (women’s and men’s). In regards to the characters in the texts both texts showed the main characters in the past and the present. In regards to the dialogue both texts use Japanese to give the show or play a sence of urgency and to define the setting clearly.
IN regards to the setting both texts are very different; one is set in a hospital and the POW camp and the other is set in a television studio and a hotel. In regards to photography both texts use images to provoke the audience into feeling for the characters. Being a television series Changi has used photography every second of the show but being a play photography was used sparingly, but was still present. In regards to music/songs The Shoehorn Sonata used songs with lyrics that were symbolic of survival and Changi used a popular Australian song to symbolise ‘the secret 9’s’will to survive.
This essay has shown the distinguishing features of episode 2 of the mini series Changi and The Shoehorn Sonata, it then compared and contrasted them. Both texts dealt with a common theme of survival.