Extra credit -comment in “Gone with the wind” and “The birth of a nation”

December 8th, 2010

­United States, 1939


Clark Gable (Rhett)

Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara)

Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes)

Olivia De Havilland (Melanie Hamilton)

Director: Victor Fleming

Producer: David O. Selznick

Music: Max Steiner

U.S. Distributor: MGM

Running Length: 3:42

I have to say Gone with the wind is my all time favorite movie and I watched it over and over again. It is an epic romantic melodrama and I love the passionate saga of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, played out against the flaming red backdrop of the Civil War, generates enough romance, historic drama and deep emotion to fuel a dozen great films.

Actually, I think Gone with the wind’s story pattern is similar as The birth of a nation because both of them are talking about romance, war and racial issue. And both of them are long movie like over three hours (of course Gone with the wind is tend to the romance plot more and The birth of a nation is tend to the war part)

At the beginning scene of Gone with the wind, I see two black children are pushing the wheel to ring the bell and this scene is telling me the whites treat the blacks as the black instrumentality and I can’t see the two black children’s face clearly which means they are not important. The other scene in Gone with the wind is also showing the whites treat the black as a fan to make them comfortable and this is the other example of black Instrumentality.

And in The birth of a nation, some of the plots are showing me the whites treat the blacks in lynch and treat them like a servant. This two films are telling us the historic event about how the whites to treat the blacks in equality and this is the common point of Gone with the wind and The birth of a nation.

Even Gone with the wind and The birth of a nation have the common point about the racial issue but we can see Gone with the wind is more humanity than The birth of a nation. For example, Scarlett is very upset when she knew her mammy is died and Rhett brought a gift to Mammy (a red dress). But the birth of a nation is extremely discriminate the blacks like the whites treat them in violence and lynch which is very inhumanity.

Also the big difference between these two movies are Gone with the wind is a color movie and the Birth of a nation is a black and white movie. Of course I like Gone with the wind plot more because its plot pattern is very smooth and in consistent but The birth of a nation is kind of bored and I think the director made the film in a complicated mode because it is a black and white movie and without vocal dialogue so I think director should avoid to prolong the plot.

To my thinking, I really the extreme close up of Gone with the wind because I can see the variety facial expression of Scarlett and of course I do like the color movie more because I can see the beautiful dresses as Scarlett wears (her dresses are classic) And about The birth of a nation, I really hate the director (even some people say he is a great director) Griffith because he is extremely discriminate black people because I can’t see any black actors in his film, he just use the whites to pretend the blacks. I think The birth of a nation is a movie without respect.

Analysis paper – Breathless

December 4th, 2010

The movie that I want to analysis is Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) because I think this is a  “new” movie to me, its shooting skill, plot and editing are giving me a huge surprise which is just like a modern movie and I cannot imagine it belongs to 60s. Breathless was shot on hand-held camera in Paris live-action and its main feature is episodic plot, improvised dialogue, jumping editing and natural light so some people say it is a masterpiece of French New wave. Of course I’m totally agreed with that, Godard was using the most shocking technique at that time – jump cuts to express the reckless nature of Michel and Patricia.

(Natural-light, black &white cinematography)

(Excellent use of Paris live-action shooting)

Actually I love Michel and Patricia these two characters so much, I love their improvised dialogue, gesture and feature. For Michel this character, Godard was creating a unique style and feature to him. Michel postures looks like a gangster because he wants to maintain a cool face to conceal his hopelessness and I think this is a big contrast between his look and inner thoughts.  On the other hand, Michel is a simple-minded person and he just does things following his mind. For example, if he needs money then he just goes to restroom to rob somebody else and if he wants to sex with Patricia then he will keep urging her to do it in every minute. Michel also is a chain smoker and I think this is one of the features of the New Wave youthful characters so Godard put this important element in the New Wave movie. About Patricia, she is a boyish American girl whose attraction is her cool caprice and I can tell it from Patricia’s dialogue like “I don’t know if I’m unhappy because I’m not free, or if I’m free because I’m unhappy.” She is an independent woman and she wants to be free and that is the key point of New Wave Style too. I think this is the main reason for Michel loves her so much.

(Patricia’s gesture)

(Michel’s trademarks: chain-smoking, lip wipe)

My favorite part of Breathless is the final death scene of Michel. Patricia is not really sure she wants to be in love with Michel or not so she called the police to arrest him. Actually, Patricia sets a test for herself to determine that she loves Michel or not but I think her thinking is so extreme; it might be the New Wave style is just like that. Suddenly, Michel hears his friend arrives and runs outside. His friend urges him to escape, but Michel says his famous last words to the cops (This is my favor dialogue): “I’m fed up, (and he looks into the camera) I’m tired and I want to sleep.” This dialogue is completely to depict the desperation of Michel at that time about Patricia’s dispassionately betrayal. After his friend says he is nuts and Michel suddenly changes his mind and run away but the cops have just arrive and shoot him. Then the long dying scene of Michel is like the usual melodramatically, he cannons in the street and finally fall down. Meantime, Patricia arrives and Michel never dropping his omnipresent cigarette from his mouth and makes his typical faces at her and says, “You’re a real scrumbag.” And then he drops and dies. Then Patricia said, “what’s a scrumbag?” and she stares at Michel, then at the audience and imitates the trademark of Michel – lip wipe and the film is finish.

To my thinking, I love Michel this character so much even I think Jean-Paul Belmondo’s acting is exaggerated but this is exactly good match with Michel’s personality. And I think his dialogue is so meaningful which is like implying or conveying a message to an audience. The background jazz music also is a good match for the relax location as Paris and the random personality as Michel and Patricia. Natural Light shooting is a good way to bring out open-mind feeling and pop up character’s personality. At last, I think Godard is a talented director to create this never outdated masterpiece.


December 2nd, 2010

Michel is a funny and straight guy, he likes to say out what he thinks and wants. The background music is great, it gives me the happy and relax mood to enjoy the movie and I think the background music is matching Michel’s personality. According to the plot, background music and character’s personality, I can’t believe that this movie belongs to 60s because I think Breathless is a unique movie and its plot and script are just like Hong Kong director – Ka Wai Wong style (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0939182/). It has some meaning in the dialogue but I have to find out by myself. (Dialogue can describe a character’s personality and thinking)