Instead of going to his father, Ryan plays with James (Ratcatcher). Their rough play has resulted to Ryan’s drowning in the canal. James feels guilty because he has not alarmed the neighbours of what happened, and instead, he runs away. James has other friends, Margaret Anne (Leanne Mullen) and Kenny (John Miller), who all have their personal issues. The rough boys in the neighbourhood make fun of Kenny and Margaret Anne, while also sexually abusing the latter. The military arrives to clean the rubbish in the area, but somehow, James feels that only the outside aspect of their social dilemma is cleansed.
He jumps into the canal and commits suicide, while the film ends with the vision of his family relocating to their new house. To begin the analysis of “perception, ” Ratcatcher illustrates the perception of the director of a good life that can be described as limited and delimiting. The difference between limited and delimiting is that limited pertains to the film as it is, a limited view of life, while delimiting pertains to the intentions and biases of the director that affect what can be included and not included in the elements of the film.
The director controls the camera, which, as a tool of perception, can only include a semblance of reality. In the bus scene, where James runs away and rides a bus, he sees mounds of trash from the bus windows (Ratcatcher). The bus windows are similar to the camera. It can only catch what is in front of it without fully covering everything and without completely conveying what the presence and absence of images mean. The scene exposes the limitations of the camera as an eye for the director, and in connection, to the viewers.
Brakhage states that the camera can only capture so much, as it superimposes images on one another and attempts to cover varied motions and emotions (122). He argues that the camera eye is a limited peek into the world. Furthermore, the director holds the camera and designs the editing process. Referring to the bus scene once more, Ramsay places Margaret Anne along the ruins (Ratcatcher). The impact indicates that like garbage around her, society’s maltreatment of the girl has turned her into someone who feels like trash too.
The sexual abuses she endures must be taunting her, pushing her deeper into the abyss of moral pollution through sexual corruption. The mise-en-scène from the window of the moving bus is Ramsay’s way of capturing society’s
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