How does the director, Alan parker, established tension between the two FBI investigators Anderson and ward, in the opening scenes of the film?
In the opening scenes of Mississippi Burning Alan Parker creates tension between Ward and Anderson to increase the audience's interest in the plot.
When we first meet the FBI agents, they are driving in to Mississippi. We see Anderson joking about the KKK song, but Ward is unimpressed and is more serious. In the sheriff's office we see Anderson, himself a Mississippian, able to relate more easily to the locals than his superior, ward. Their differences are highlighted in the café scene.
The first shot is a long shot of the crowded café, with the 'coloured' section in the background; this establishes where the action is taking place. The entry of Ward and Anderson walking into the café was a full shot of them both, parker shows us how Anderson can fit in with this society this shot was a mid-shot of Anderson and Ward, Anderson is wearing a short sleeve t-shirt and Ward still in his suit. The next shot is a long shot of the coloured part of the café. Then there is a full shot of Anderson, Ward and the waitress and then flatters the waitress. There are no seats in the white section; once again Parker shows us that Ward is a lot different by a tracking shot of Ward going to the black section, all the diner stop eating and everyone turns silent. Ward ask the black man he was sitting next to if he would answer a few questions but the black guy reply’s with ‘I’ve got nothing to say to you sir’ he then picks up his meal and walks away. Ward looks back to a mid-shot reaction shot of all the white diners looking at him in disbelief showing Ward is the outsider in this society.