InformalComments and Insights of 10 Movies
Shaftis an action movie that focuses on the main theme of a racialconflict between the white and the black. The movie considers theongoing trends indicating that the reception of a movie is highlydependent on the racial representation of different races incharacters taking part in the movie (Diawara 892). The majority ofcharacters in the Shaft is black and represents the experience ofliving in an urban area that is populated by the blacks. Otherfactors held constant, the inclusion of both the black and the whitein the film, the reception or spectatorship is expected to increase.
AlthoughShaft has a fair representation of the white and the black races, theblacks are depicted in the wrong way. The movie indicated that livingin an urban area that is populated by the black increases the risk ofcrime and race-based conflicts. Characters that form the criminalgangs are the back that targets the whites. For example, Bumpy, whois the leader of the uptown gang, is depicted as black monster. Thisconsistent with the world view that depict the black asrepresentatives of absolute evil and the white as representatives ofabsolute good (Diawara 894).
Inoverall, the movie creates a perception that the blacks are raidingthe whites, and the conflict is likely to escalate to a race war onthe city streets. The intervention of the white corps indicates thatthe responsibility of the whites to restore order in the city bycontaining the gangs formed by the black urban dwellers. The blacksare depicted as agents of race-based conflicts who destroy thesymbolic and social order of their neighborhood.
Thefilm Force Majeur is a tourist drama film that was played in 2014 anddirected by Ruben Ostlund. The plot of the film is based on familythat goes out on a tour in a ski resort near the French Alps fromwhere it is torn apart by cowardice. The main theme developed in thefilm is that bad behavior tends to disrupt the accepted order. Eventsin the film unfold through a five day trip in the skiing resort.Thomas, his wife (Ebba), and their two children visit the resortwhere they meet a where they drink more than their usual habit. Theybefriend a divorcee, who also in the resort with a girlfriend. Thelady with the divorcee represents social evils because she is amarried woman who is openly seeking for sexual adventures.
Tomasand Ebba interpret the catastrophe differently, which raisesdisagreements between them. The catastrophe occurs when the family intaking lunch on the mountain top restaurant that has a magnificentview. Disagreement between the spouses occurs when controlledavalanches threaten the lives of the family and Tomas runs awayleaving the children with their mother. The confrontation between thespouses in used in the film to illustrate how conflicts worsen traumaand destroy the conception of oneself.
Scenesin the film are short from a distance using high resolution cameras,which make the scenes more interesting to viewers. The distinctivestyle of using stationary cameras to shoot scenes coupled withdeceptive positioning of actors enhances the quality of scenes in afilm (Orange 36). The plot of the film is consistent with its title.Force Majeur is a concept used in the legal context to mean that onecan get out of contractual obligations. Similarly, one can run awayfrom the family during the crisis, just as Tomas did during thecatastrophe.
Movie:Gold diggers of 1933
The“Gold Diggers of 1933” refers to a musical film that was directedby Mervyn LeRoy. The entertainment nature of the film is enhanced bya large number of musicals that are integrated into the scenes. Thesongs are done by Al Dubin, who did the lyrics and Harry Warren, whodid the music part. Other singers who starred in the film includeJoan Blondell, Warren Williams, Ruby Keeler, and Aline MaMahon. Theinclusion of music from different singers indicates that signifiesthat the film producer attaches to musicals as part of entertainmenton their own.
Thefilm is based on circumstances that occurred during the GreatDepression that occurred in 1933. There are several direct referencesto the Great Depression, including the closure of the show bycreditors of the producer since the producer is unable to settle thebills due to financial hardships. The use of musicals in the filmproduces the utopian sensibility through song, gesture, or dances,all of which serve as solutions to some real challenges (Dyer 221).Similarly, the musical part of the film “Gold diggers of 1933” isstrategically used to serve as a solution to the real challenge offinancial constraint. Brand, who comes from a rich family, is atalented singer that the producer invited to contribute to themusical part of the show. In spite of the financial challenges, theproducer of the show emphasizes on the significance of a talentedmusician instead of soliciting for the finances first.
Musicalsthat are included in the film resolve contradictions. In the Golddiggers of 1933, Brand relatives travel to New York to protect himfrom being seduced by the four gold diggers, Polly, Trixie, Carol,and Fay. Musical narratives clear contradictions and carry the viewertowards certain resolutions and happy endings (Dyer 221). Forexample, the gold diggers end up being married to rich people, whichtakes them to a happy ending.
JeanneDielman is a film that was produced in 1975 and directed by thefilmmaker firm, Chantal Akerman. The film focuses on the theme offeminism, where the director shares feminist perspectives that mostof the previous movies failed to address (Loader 329). Consequently,the film is considered as the first feminine masterpiece. The plot ofthe film is based on three days of a regimen schedule of singlemother, which includes cleaning, cooking, and mothering. As a singlemother, Jean Dielman is forced by circumstances to prostitute herselfto a man on a daily basis to sustain herself and her son. However,things change from the first day to the third day when Jean stabs theclient she has been prostituting with scissors. The change of eventsduring the third days signifies the end of the perception that womenare home keepers who have to beg from men for survival.
Inaddition, the scenes captured in the film depict the women’s urgeto fight or ask for their freedom. By killing the client, Jeannesends a message that she will take care of her family’s financialneeds, which means that she is in search for financial freedom.Moreover, the act of killing indicates the women’s anger andbitterness that increases their tendency to regenerate themselvesthrough violence. At the start of the film, scenes are captured froma fixed camera and in a slow pace before the rhythm that explainJeanne’s life (Loader 330). For the first two days, Jeanne, whichis the main character, represses her frustrations that results fromher daily roles in the privacy of her home. This indicates how thesociety denied women the opportunity to speak out their frustrationsbefore the onset of feminist movements.
Manahagaris a film that was produced in 1963 under the directorship ofSatyajit Ray. Social class and the shift from the traditions ofmodernity are the main themes advanced by the film. The film is basedon drastic modernization of life in the city of Calcutta. The maincharacter, Arati, serves as a major agent of change from traditionsto a modern life. Arati is a middle class woman who decides to join acareer in sales in order to supplement her income and address thepressing financial challenges. However, Arati has to overcome thechallenges of her conservative and orthodox family. The lower middleclass families characterize individual members of the society whowere tied by societal and familial beliefs that prevented them fromgoing the capitalism way as the rest of the world.
Thesuccess of Arati’s success in her business depicts the relationshipbetween capitalism and modernism (Ganguly 154). She manages toovercome societal and familial challenges, which helps her attainpsychological and financial independence. The subsequent events (suchthe husbands losing the job and depending on Alati as thebreadwinner) illustrate the capitalism of women starting from themiddle twentieth century (Ganguly 154). In addition, the gender rolesare changing where women can assume professional jobs besides beinghouse keepers and contribute towards the financial needs of thefamily. However, the continued involvement of women in theprofessional careers does not go without a cost. Subrata, Arati’shusband starts suspecting her of extra-marital engagement, whichincreases conflicts within the family. The lower middle class peopleare at the risk of losing their respectability in the society. Aratiis nearly losing her husband’s respect and trust while trying totransition from the lower middle class.
Movie:North by Northwest
Northby Northwest refers to a film that was produced in 1959 under thedirectorship of Alfred Hitchcock. The film is based on three majorthemes, including mistaken identity, deception, and moral relativism.The theme of a mistaken identity is illustrated by the scene in whichRoger Thornhill, an advertising executive, is mistaken for KaplanGeorge and kidnapped. When Thornhill is taken to the Long Island bythe two kidnappers (Licht and Velerian) he is interrogated by a spynamed Vandamm, but he also mistakes him with Townsend.
Dishonestyis illustrated in the film in two different scenarios. At first, whenValerian throws the knife at Townsend, the stubbed man dies in thehands of Thornhill, who then removes the knife and creates aperception that he is the one who killed Townsend and yet he isinnocent (Jameson 73). In this case, Thornhill is made to appear as akiller because he removed the knife from Townsend. Secondly, themysterious organization that is hunting for Thonrhill intend toeliminate him because the gang believes that he is interfering withtheir dishonest business of selling microfilms that contain thegovernment secrets (Jameson 53). The gang betrays the government inorder to make more money from an illegal business, which is a productof capitalism.
Moralrelativism is depicted by the scene in which Eve Marie practicespromiscuity and engages in love affairs with several men besides herlover, Thornhill. Eve Marie has an affair with Ingrin Bergman whereher second love was stimulated (Jameson 53). She later haves anaffair with James Mason, which creates confusion as to whether herpromiscuity can be reconciled into a marriage.
Movie: Fatal attraction
Fatalattraction is a psychoanalytical thriller that was produced in 1987and directed by Adrian Lyne. The conduct of Alex, one of the maincharacters, can be analyzed using Freud’s concept that depictswomen as girls who were made for boys. Both women and men havedifferent significance in the lives of each other and this makes themhunt for each other. In the film, fatal attraction, Alex is huntingfor Dan to an extent that she is willing to shed blood and engage inviolent activities just to get him. This is in line with Freud’sobservation that women are tormented by passion because theyunderstand that men play a critical role in their enhancing their‘jouissance’ or enjoyment (Apollon 111).
Psychoanalysisindicated that Alex is seriously looking for what she missed from herfather’s discourse. The fatal attraction she has for Dan raisesdiscrepancy between love and desire. In such as scenario, sex takesthe secondary importance in the relationship since the lady islooking for an enjoyment that cannot be satisfied by sex. In the caseof Alex, her sexual intercourse with Dan is a terrain that she usesin her struggle to get the love of a man (Apollon 111). To satisfyher desire for the love of a man, Alex is willing to die, whether bysuicide or murder.
Fromthe look of her eyes, men discover immediately that she is searchingfor something. She settles on Dan, who will occupy the structure thatFreud calls the place of the other person in the real world.Therefore, Dan assumes the symbolic order of coexistence in thesociety. Alex engages in risky activities because she expects to hearsomething from him, but he fails to say what she wants him to say.
Dogvilleis a drama film that directed by Lars Trier in 2003. The story lineof this film is a parable of a woman (Grace Mulligan) who is tryingto hide from some monsters who arrives in the mountain town known asDogville. The film is an example of departure from the study ofcinema in films (Rodowick 28). Mulligan is given refuge in exchangefor unpaid labor. The universal theme that the film advances makes itmore memorable. The universal theme is presented in the form of areligious parable or a twist of the Old Testament of the Bible. Godsends his begotten daughter to the city to give people anotherchance. The name of the daughter is Grace, who is illustrated as atroubled woman in desperate need of help. However, the fact thatpeople of Dogville are willing to let Grace stay at a chargerindicates the sinful human nature that does not allow human beings tounderstand the ways of God.
Theeventual destruction of the town is attributed to the sinful natureof its people who are not willing to change. These people rape Graceand call the mobsters with the objective of eliminating her on thegrounds of immorality, notwithstanding that she was raped by the menliving in the town. The film also depicts Americans as unfriendlypeople, which can true and wrong at the same time. This is becausethe American population is composed of different people whosebehavior varies depending on their cultural backgrounds. Therefore,the level of friendliness depends on the cultural group the oneinteracts with at any given time. Although the film sends a stronganti-American message, it informs that evil can occur anywhere aslong as there is a right situation.
DieHard is an action film that was produced in 1988 under thedirectorship of John McTiernan. The storyline is based on the JohnMcClane, an off-duty police officer who takes on a gang of criminalin a skyscraper. The film is both post-classical and classical, wheredifferences depend on the technological and objective’s formalproperties (Elsaesser 77). McClane acts as a rational agent who istrying to rescue his family, but must save other hostages for him tosucceed in reclaiming the family. The film established the balancebetween the logics of acting purposefully to through the calculationof means as well as the end into a single narrative that isemotionally acceptable. McClane’s unconscious desire to rescue thefamily can also be seen from the perspective of a rhetorical strategyor formal logic. The semiotic square of the classic films isindicated in the film by various pairs, including male and female,police and criminals, working class and middle class, and lastlydomestic and foreign.
Moreover,classical films define characters that fight to resolve some clearcut challenges or achieve certain goals. These films do notnecessarily have to use reality to make the scenes appear real, butthe use rhetoric to transport some culture (Elsaesser 35). Forexample, McClane’s dilemma is character centered causality in whichnon-psychological forces were discounted as causal agents. The postclassical nature of the Die Hard film is indicated by severalfactors. For example, the early description of McClane in the earlystages of the film informs the view about the nature as a character.Therefore, Die Hard has the features of both the post-classical and aclassical film.
Movie:The sound of Music
TheSound of Music is a musical film that was produced in 1965 under thedirectorship of Robert Wise. It was an adaptation of the Sound ofMusic Broadway music that was composed by Richard Rodgers in 1959.The film has been criticized for being based on an old fashionedstory book. This implies that the film did not make a new audience,but focused on giving a new experience to the audience of the oldbook. Genre movies are generally criticized on the grounds that theyaddress pre-existing audience instead of creating a new audiencethrough the creative sensibility of the filmmakers (Braudy 663).
Thefilm director tried to overcome the challenge of relying onpre-existing audience by enhancing the quality film. For example, thedirector used the camera to create magnificent graphics thatrepresent different scenes and the Salzburg City. Although the filmsheds two overly political pieces of the song from its original stageshow, it has a lot of the ethical dilemmas that allows the audienceto choose between the wrong and the right. For example, Maria’sstruggle to differentiate between the heavenly and earthly love makesthe film more interesting.
Theexcellent performance by different actors is another source ofstrength for the musical. For example, Christopher Plummer brings thedepth to what could have been a single dimensional character.Critiques of the musical part of films hold that may embarrass theviewer and they are unrealistic Braudy 665). However, therelationship between stylization and realism should be the mainfocus, instead of focusing on absurd conventions. Magnificentlystructured, indelible, and indestructible songs make the film amusical to watch and sing along with.
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Diawara,M. Blackspectatorship: problems of identification and resistance.New York, NY: Routledge, 1988. Print.
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