Psycho

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“Psycho” is one of the first horror films ever made, it is even seen as the original horror movie. Alfred Hitchcock was a genius at directing horror movies and this was his first. This film consisted of many genius aspects including the MacGuffin of the money, and wonderful editing. One incredible choice that Hitchcock made was to kill off Marian early in the movie. Up to that point she had been the only character that had really been featured in the film and it was a bold decision to cut her out entirely. Hitchcock made many bold decisions throughout this film and they helped to make it great.

There was amazing editing in this film. For example, in the scene where Marian is killed in the shower, the editing done is very impressive. Many shots are blended together to create a very hectic scene. There are around thirty shots in this scene of about a minute which create a very hectic scene of Marian’s murder. This is a good choice because the murderer is not shown here and all of the shots help to make the scene more disorienting for the viewer, as it clearly would have been for Marian. This scene and all of the others in this film consist of masterful editing by Alfred Hitchcock which help to make “Psycho” one of the greatest horror films ever made.

“Psycho” is certainly a frightening movie, but “The Shining” is definitely a scarier film overall. “The Shining” is much more terrifying in the way that Stanley Kubrick makes you think about it. The point of a horror movie is too scare the viewer, and “The Shining” does a much better job of doing this in both the extremely detailed and specific mise en scene, as well as the masterfully executed sound design. “The Shining” leaves more to the viewer to think about while the suspense and fear that “Psycho” is attempting to inflict is more blatant and in the face of the viewer. That is why “The Shining” is scarier than “Psycho,” in my opinion.

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Avant-Garde

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Avant-Garde films a regularly very strange films, as they push film to the extremes that it can go to. “Superstar:The Karen Carpenter Story” is no different by any means. This is a very strange film acted out by Barbie dolls that is based on a true story about a woman named Karen Carpenter. She was the daughter of two star singers, who formed “The Carpenters.” Karen always had paparazzi around her and this caused her to obsess over her image, essentially creating her desire to look like a Barbie doll.

Avant-Garde films are known for being the most extreme kinds of movies that are made. The three films for this week are certainly up to par with that concept. These three films’ directors do some very strange things in their films that are never seen in regular movies, such as the Barbie dolls who act out the entire film. Avant-Garde films are very strange and these films are all certainly very strange films.

The use of Barbie dolls for all the female characters sends a strong message to the viewer. It sends the message that all of the females of the movie and even of the world are obsessed with their image and creating a perfect body. This has a very strong message about feminism and that not many women care about it much. It is more important to most women to look perfect than to hold to their values and fight for their own rights. The Barbie dolls certainly send a strong message in this film.

Weekend

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“Weekend” is a very hectic film about a couple’s trip through the French countryside. Along the trip, they experience many crazy things, such as extreme traffic in unusual places, major accidents, cannibalism, and terrorism. And not to be forgotten, both the husband and the wife want to kill the other. This entire film is very odd and shows off the strange mind of direct Jean Luc Godard.

In this film, the concept being studied is social context. This is a good film for that as it shows off the many issues of the French Bourgeoisie society. In the film, the couple experiences a revolution and a civil war along the way and this shows off the issues with the French middle class society, especially when the film was released. The social context in which this film was released into in 1967 was a very hectic one that was clearly expressed through the trip through the countryside. This film is perfect to examine social context in, as the social context that this was released into was affected by what Godard put into this film.

In that time period, it was a common bourgeois past-time to take trips into the countryside with one’s significant other. This film makes a mockery of this tradition, as it is meant to be a leisurely event but in this film it is nothing near that. The events that take part along the trip are anything but leisurely. Godard messes with the concept of a nice trip into the country and instead makes it the most wild and hectic way in which a weekend can be spent.

Chicago 10

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“Chicago 10” is a documentary about the court case regarding eight protesters who were charged for inciting a riot at the Democratic National Convention. The film uses actual footage of the event that occurred that day at the DNC as well as animation to recreate the actual trial. The film is directed in a very strange way that can be seen as artistic or just plain weird. Either way, it is a fairly entertaining documentary that does a good job of explaining the events that occurred that day.

This film was a documentary, as previously mentioned. That means that it not only is based on a true story, but is meant to show the actual events that took place. This film is a different take on how a documentary can be done, as regularly it is done through strictly actual footage, or by live interviews and investigation. This film uses animation, which is not a regular aspect of a documentary movie as it provides an aspect of falseness and an absence of reality. While this is a factual movie that depicts the scenes of that event well, the animation makes it seem a bit less true.

Animation was not a very good choice for this film. It does give an artistic approach to the film, however it does not make the factual representation of events that a documentary is supposed to give seem as real as they are meant to be. It is also inappropriate for the time period in which the film is depicting, as it was a very serious time that included America being in a major war with Vietnam. There was death and sadness everywhere, along with riots and protest around ever corner. The animation in “Chicago 10” takes away from the seriousness of this time period and makes it seem like director Brett Morgan does not see that time period as seriously as it should be looked at.

Far From Heaven

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“Far From Heaven” is a film about a family who appears to live a perfect life in a nice house in a nice suburban neighborhood in the 1950s. However it becomes very clear that their family is very far from perfect, as the husband ,Frank, turns out to be a gay man, and his wife Cathy falls for an African American man named Raymond. As this is in the 1950s, these are both unacceptable things for a white married couple. Frank ends up so self-conscious about his “problem,” that he ends up hitting his wife when she mentions it to him. When Cathy’s relationship is exposed, Raymond has to leave town without even saying goodbye to Cathy.

Ideology is a very big deal in this film, as it was in the 1950s. There were many clashes in the film between class, race, sexual orientation and gender. These are all impossible to ignore throughout the film as they were all very clearly present. The social image was very important to people in the 1950s and the many ways that the characters in this film corrupted the “perfect” image that they were attempting to uphold. The idea of a perfect social image has changed dramatically since the time this film takes place in, and when the film was released it definitely showed people how far civilization had come in fifty year.

As many ideologies were shown in the film, some had to be more important than others for director Todd Haynes and clearly some were. The ideological construction of racism was definitely the most prominent one in this film. Raymond as his daughter were constantly at odds in the film. One good example is when his daughter goes to play with all of the other kids at the art gallery and they end up throwing rocks at her. The racist ideology climaxes at the end when Cathy can’t even go to see Raymond as he leaves town. Racism was a strong theme in the movie and Haynes did a great job of showing how terrible it can be for a man and his family.

Casablanca

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“Casablanca” is a movie about a town in Morocco during World War Two. This town is in North Africa, and is a place where people attempted to go through to get to America. In the town is a man named Rick who owns a very popular bar. At the bar, a wanted man named Victor Laszlo comes through, hoping to find papers that can get him safe passage into America. This man hopes to start a revolution against the Nazis and has been spreading his beliefs throughout Europe. With him is his wife, Ilsa, a beautiful woman who it turns out has a past with Rick as a lover. The movie has many different themes throughout it, and fits into many different genres.

Genre is the film topic being studied along with “Casablanca,” and the two are an interesting match. This film is known for breaking down the whole ‘genre’ barrier, in that it does not stick with any one genre. It is seen as a romance film, however it does not follow the general path of a romance film as the main character Rick does not end up with the woman of the story. This is a rarely seen thing in romance films which brings up the question of what genre this fits into. The film could also be a propaganda film, a war film, an action, suspense, etc. There are even parts of it that draw parallels to western films, especially the end when Rick shoots the soldier in a ‘quick-draw’ situation. This film is impossible to nail down to any one genre.

This mash-up of genre’s that “Casablanca” finds itself in is now mistake. This makes the film more artistic and much less conventional. As was previously said, this film does not fit under the romance genre that it is regularly placed in, as many different parts do not match what they should in a normal romance film. The film is conventional by no means, as the roles people would play in a regular style of romance film are all switched up and skewed. This makes the film to be more artistic than it could have possibly been if it had passed through the regulations of a film of its genre.

Apocalypse Now

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“Apocalypse Now” is a film about a man, Captain Willard, on his way to find and kill Colonel Kurtz, an American soldier who had gone crazy and taken over a village of local Vietnamese people. Along the way Willard and his men encounter a lot of challenges, primarily resistance from the troops defending their country. There were also several wild American soldiers along the way, such as Colonel Kilgore, who walks around very nonchalantly while shirtless during enemy mortar strikes. This film shows how corrupt the US military leaders were during the Vietnam War, which eventually led to the defeat.

The sound design of “Apocalypse Now,” is some of the best work ever done in that field. The design of the opening scene in particular is masterfully crafted. The beginning to the movie features the song “The End” by The Doors. It is a song that features fast, wild parts as well as slower quiet parts to it, and these line up perfectly with the scenes shown in the film. The song starts fairly wild and this comes in unison with a napalm strike and helicopter blades churning through the air. Then the song slows down and comes to a halt as Captain Willard has an opening monologue to the movie. Then it picks up again as he begins to rampage around his room, eventually shattering his mirror, sitting down, and screaming. This sets a tone for the movie that while there are a few slow points there are mostly high-paced, action parts of the film.

While the sound design of “Apocalypse Now” was brilliant, it could have used more popular songs such as The Doors song in the beginning of the movie. The story takes place in the middle of the counterculture revolution in America with sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, and it would have been more appropriate to include more songs of that time period that exemplify how the people felt about the war that was going on. As the movie showed the many flaws with the American leaders, it would have worked well to include plenty more songs that show the discomfort and distrust that many Americans had with the war in Vietnam.