M. Night Shyamalan analysis project overview

Montages is running an analysis project about M. Night Shyamalan’s five films from 1999 to 2006: The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002), The Village (2004) and Lady in the Water (2006).

Realism – Search for Truth or Road to Nowhere?

«What gives a work the kind of mark of authenticity that can prompt the sophisticated cinephile to nod with approval and self-satisfaction at being able to appreciate such a difficult but worthwhile film?»

Signs, Part IV: Visual style

In Signs scenes do not only exist to drive the plot forward. Their formally distinctive staging creates additional layers, encouraging meanings and symbols, often enigmatic.

Signs, Part III: Dreams, demons and birds

Signs offers rich allegorical subtexts of dreams, magic and the aliens as metaphors for the characters’ inner demons. We also chart references to The Birds, and analyse the masterful cellar sequence and the film’s ending.

Signs, Part II: Motifs and horror shows

M. Night Shyamalan is particularly adept at creating a set of hidden motifs that govern the film. We look at circles, water, doors, houses, the sky and how they operate in two brilliant horror set pieces.

Signs, Part I: Delightful entertainment, with meaning

M. Night Shyamalan has created a Signs fiction film about alien invasion, with powerful horror set pieces and comedic touches. An analysis of its dreamlike opening sequence peels away complex layers of motifs and echoes.

Unbreakable, Part III: Visual style

M. Night Shyamalan’s visual style consists of a series of recurring formal devices. Watching Unbreakable feels like participating in a ritual where these devices are applied and reapplied, in new variations and combinations.

Genuinely socialist: The Midnight Sun Film Festival

Like many of its own films, the Midnight Sun Film Festival remains true to perhaps the greatest cinematic – and human – aspiration of them all: to express an understanding of, and solidarity with, all the others washed up with us here on this strange little planet of ours.