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)

Mother India

November 20th, 2010

Mother India is a very sad story, director used a detailed way to depict a poor family in India. Durga’s father is a nice guy, smile always on his face and that is a big contract with Durga’s mother who is a serious housewife and she is very care about people how to think about her and Durga. And one of the scenes that I like so much which is Durga and her little brother were standing in the farm field to hear the train sound, this is another contract between tradition and modernization. For Durga and her brother, they just have a little desire which is they want their dad to bring them to look at the train. And compare with the modern people’s desire, I think Durga’s desire is so simple and easy.

Also, Mother India’s director is bringing us to another world where is totally different form our environment and life. He is showing us that how lucky we are, we have to cherish what we have. And I think the character’s personality in this film is very clear and we know that what they want, we can easily get it form their facial expression and tone.

Psycho – “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

November 20th, 2010

This is my first time to watch Psycho and I think this is a great movie though, director’s clear editing and powerful background music are giving me surprise. I think this movie conveys some imply messages to an audience and the following points are my observation.

(character) Norman: I think his name also meaning ” NO MAN”, it can represent his personality. He has no friends and no goal but his mother. He is not a mature person and always acting like a kid. (always eating candy and snacks) I think Norman refuses to grow up in his deeply mind because he wants to be his mother son forever, he doesn’t want things get change. He loves his mother so much so he can’t accept his mother in love with other men but him. I think this is the key point to make him turn to be a mental patient.

Norman’s home and Bates motel: As I see, Norman and his mother’s house is located at the top of hill and the motel is located at the bottom of hill. From this I can see Norman put his mother in a very high position in his mind (the house is represent his mother) and the motel represents Norman which is always under his mother. This is a complicated feeling and thinking in Norman’s mind

Early Summer – 麥秋

November 10th, 2010

To my thinking, Early Summer is a simple story with the complicated message and serenity & emotional richness inside. Ozu’s film style is slow and quiet, I think Ozu wants his audience to slow down the beat to enjoy every details (i.e. furniture in the house), scenes (character’s micro facial expression) and background music. Ozu wants his audiences appreciates his films.

About the character, of course I like Noriko so much because her personality is so positive. She is a nice and  helpful girl with a sweet smile but unfortunately she is living in postwar Japan with traditional and modern values so it has some little clashes in her family. Like Noriko’s family always pushing her to get a husband but she has her own idea. Noriko is a independent woman, she has a good job and stable income to support her family living expenses. Even her outside look is like a western woman but she still has a traditional personality and thinking in her mind. In Japan,man is playing a important role in the family and I can see the inequality between man and woman. Like Noriko’s brother always yelling at his wife and his mother, therefore his son is acting like his father and he treats his grandpa and Noriko impolitely. Such a negative and bad education to the next generation. But Noriko and her sister in-law are accepting this with quietly because they are a tradition Japanese woman.

Umberto D

November 10th, 2010

Umberto D is a neo-realist classic, I see nothing about happy and joyful in this movie. And the background music is giving me a mood like without helpful, the characters give me the feeling as the following.

Umberto represents a old man without dignity.
Maria represents a lower class woman.
Landlady represents an upstart with cold blood.
These characters are reflecting the society environment at that time.

To my thinking, Mr. Umberto is a poor lonely guy, he has no real friends but his doggy (Flike) and Maria. He has no enough money to pay for the rent and he also tries to maintain his dignity for not begging money in the street so he sent Flike to doing that. No one wants to give a hand to Mr. Umberto and no one wants to listening Mr. Umberto’s encounter even his old friends and colleagues. Actually Umberto is a simple old man, he just wants to have the basic human needs like food, shelter and friendship but no one can offer these to him. What a selfish and cold blood society that Mr. Umberto lived in……

The Lady Eve

November 10th, 2010

I think this is the masterpiece of Preston Sturges, I love the characters and story so much.
Charles Pike is a honest guy and Jean Harrington is a smart woman, a big contrast pair but good match. And one of the scenes I like so much which is almost all of the women are staring at Pike and they are trying to do something to catch his eyes (of course they are not success but Jane does). I think this is a funny battle, those women know that Pike is a rich guy, and they want to marry him to have a rich and wonderful life. All of them are material girl and they’re competing with each others because of they want to be Mrs. Pike. From this we can tell, they are in love with Pike’s money only not him. Jean is a smart woman, she knows that how to get the thing she wants. She knows that other women are interesting in Pike so she is using her mirror’s reflection to keep looking at Pike’s facial expression and response. At the beginning, Jean and her dad just want to get some money from Pike, Jean never thinks about in love with this guy. But Jean found out Pike is a silly guy but honest so she can’t stop herself in love with him. What a romantic movie with witty battle. And I love the following dialog from Jean so much: ” you don’t know very much about girls. The best ones aren’t as good as you think they are and the bad ones aren’t as bad. Not nearly as bad.” I think this is a meaningful one.

Citizen Kane analysis paper

October 19th, 2010

The movie that I want to analysis is Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, RKO pictures, 1941) I think this movie’s cinematography, lighting, music and color is different from the same period’s movie. Citizen Kane’s cinematography is very unique, its lighting and color are tending to dark because the director wants to create a mysterious mood at the beginning, powerful mood in the middle part and the lonely mood at the end. About the sound design, the director chose the mysterious mood sound and tending to a little bit louder to make the audiences feel surprising. For the music part, I can’t feel a happy mood music in this movie; all of the background musics in this movie are tend to mysterious and serious. I think the director chose these kind of sounds and music are for matching Kane’s character and his encounter.
Kane is an important man in the contemporary because he has enough power and money to affect United States economy and politic. Even Kane has power and money enough; he did not know what he really wants in his mind. He tries his best to fight for something like he uses a lot of money to build up Susan’s music affair because he wants people agree with his thinking and work. But it is meaningless to him because he needs nothing but love in his deeply mind and he did not recognize it. His wealth and self hood turn him into a selfish and lonely man so he lost his friend and lover at the last.
At the beginning, the scene is showing Kane is dies in a bed while holding a crystal snow globe and utters “Rosebud” and then the crystal globe slips from his lifeless hand and smashes. I like this scene so much and repeating to watch it again and again. I like the director makes the big close up of Kane’s mouth and saying “Rosebud”, the big mouth gives me a big impression; it makes me feel like mysterious and keep thinking what’s the meaning of “Rosebud” is. Orson Welles is using a smart way to attract his audience to keep watching this movie. And Welles also add the mysterious background music in this scene, it makes the audience feels like that is a serious moment and do not miss up the following scenes. After Kane said “Rosebud”, the crystal snow globe slips from his hand and broken. This scene gives me a big impact too because I do not have to see Kane’s facial expression; I also know the broken globe means Kane is dies. I think this is a smart way to express Kane’s situation without any dialog and facial expression. Also, “Rosebud” is the key point of the whole movie, but actually we do not know what is going on at the beginning. It is like the director throw us the answer first and we have to find out the process in every plot and scene. I think this is a tricky arrangement of this movie.
In conclusion, I really like the way of Welles using the camera shooting and lighting to set up the mood in this movie, especially he likes to use low angle to shot the image so he does not have to use too much dialogue to explain the scene and plot. It is also easily to make the audience to understand the plot with the good match background music and scenes because Welles concentrated on the images more than others.

Comment about movie “M”

October 8th, 2010

Basically I don’t think “M” is a horror film or crime dram, I think it’s a philosophical film. Actually the Killer Hans Beckert is a complicated person, sometime I think he is lacking human emotion when he is killing a little girl but at the end of the movie I find out he is a poor guy because he doesn’t want to kill those little girls and he just can’t escape or control the evil compulsion that over take him. Every time when I see the images of Beckert’s oversized, fearful eyes, I think Fritz Lang is trying to set the mood of ugly humanity in this character and I think this picture more effectively than any dialogue could. I also like the shadow of Hans Beckert was showing in the notice and his whistling because those are Beckert’s unique character and this foreshadows the appearance of Hans Beckert – a serial killer is coming.

This movie is showing us the Germany’s society environment at 1920 which is an sin era but Lang tries to show us the cops and gangster still has a humanity. Even they are defying each other , but they are also helping the other’s needs to hunt the serial killer. Humanity is the powerful thing to make people turn into solidify.