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SFSU / Engineering / CINE 102 / What is anti-hollywood?

What is anti-hollywood?

What is anti-hollywood?

Description

School: San Francisco State University
Department: Engineering
Course: Introduction to Contemporary Cinema
Professor: Justin vaccaro
Term: Fall 2017
Tags: intro to cinema, Cinema, and cinema studies
Cost: 50
Name: Cumulative Final Study Guide
Description: Movie Summaries, Analysis on: - Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion - Chinatown - Devil In A Blue Dress - Pan's Labyrinth - The Host - Primer - Oldboy - A Touch Of Spice (no analysis available) - Paprika - In The Mood For Love - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Lobster
Uploaded: 12/05/2017
19 Pages 26 Views 17 Unlocks
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CINE 102


What is anti-hollywood?



Cumulative​ ​Final​ ​Study​ ​Guide

Highlight = Key term Highlight = Important concept

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) directed by Elio Petri Movie Summary 

● Police inspector kills his mistress, Augusta Terzi, which the crime is then investigated by the police.

● Police inspector plants other evidences to prove he did not commit the crime. ● He comes to terms and confesses all that he had done, but immediately takes back confession when he realizes how he can get away with it as being part of the police. Why was this movie controversial at the time? 

● Anti-Hollywood - going against Hollywood film ideals


What is modernism?



○ Corruption

○ Unresolved endings

○ Uncensored

● Milan in crisis; December 1969

○ Violent protesting

○ Bombing by anarchists

● Police reputation was ruined

Themes/Symbols 

● Power

○ If you have power → it can easily be manipulated 

○ No good or evil

● Augusta

○ Inspector’s consciousness

○ The only one who understood power

● Music

○ Dissonant - lack of harmony in notes

○ Tinkering instruments = childishness 

○ “Broken” sounds = broken character

● Camera movement


What is dehumanization?



○ Curiosity

○ Detects symbolism on architecture

What is modernism? 

● Modernism - going against traditions, yet incorporates recurring historical messages relevant to today.

● Components of modern films:

○ Self-Reflexiveness If you want to learn more check out Why don’t biome boundaries exactly match species range boundaries?

■ The process is the subject

○ Juxtaposition/Montage 

■ Simultaneously putting past, present, and future togetherDon't forget about the age old question of What is the gold standard method for measuring body composition?

○ Paradox 

■ Ambiguous perspective - multiple angles to view one event

○ Dehumanization 

■ Character is challenged by their own state of mind, slowly revealing their true self by the modern events they face

Chinatown (1974) directed by Roman Polanski

Movie Summary 

● Private investigator, Jake Gittes, is asked by Evelyn Mulwray, to find out who killed her husband, Hollis Mulwray.

● After meeting Katherine, Evelyn’s sister/daughter, Gittes discovers Noah Cross, Evelyn’s father, killed Hollis. We also discuss several other topics like How are infant attachment styles (secure, avoidant, ambivalent/anxious) predict how adults respond to romantic relationships?
Don't forget about the age old question of What are the 7 steps in the rational/classical model?

● Gittes confronts Noah while Evelyn and Katherine hide in Chinatown. ● Just as Gittes, Noah, and the police arrive in Chinatown, Evelyn and Katherine drive off away from everyone. Evelyn is shot and Noah takes her daughter/granddaughter Katherine in his arms. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the five stages of lytic cycle?
We also discuss several other topics like How are acids and bases defined?

How did Hollywood begin to develop into what we are familiar with today? ● Hollywood Renaissance - aesthetic factors > industrial and issues

● New Hollywood - era of contemporary blockbuster

● Studio system - selling multiple films to theaters as a unit

○ Studio system was violated

● Management changes

○ High quality/quantity of team = successful film produced

● Rating System (1968) 

○ Restrictions on people under 16 years-old

○ Aimed towards the young seeing graphic content

○ Ran by the young filmmakers = targeting the young audiences

● Inspired by current events at the time

Genre/Narrative Structure 

● Conspiracy thriller/detective film

● Irregular protagonist

○ Brings no justice

○ Constantly getting beat

● Three drafts of script, different morals

○ Justice and order prevail

○ Cross is the man responsible for everything

○ Cross gets away with it all

● Screenplay three-act structure 

○ Setup

○ Confrtontation

○ Resolution

Style, Motifs, and Tone

● Panavision and color

○ Staying traditional 

■ Equipment

■ Lighting

○ Moves camera > zooming

○ Widescreen format - can be seen in theaters and on TV without changing plot ● Water motif 

○ Shown in every scene; small or obvious

○ Reference to Bible

● Optical Motif

○ Limits to human vision

○ Extends its capacities

■ Photographs

■ Binoculars

Devil In a Blue Dress (1995) directed by Carl Franklin

Movie Summary 

● Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins lost his job, so he takes a job to look for a woman named Daphne Monet for $100.

● Easy find Daphne, but only to find out that Frank Green, a gangster, and her fiance, Todd, were all looking for her as well because she has a biracial identity. ● Daphne is captured by Frank Green and his gang to a house in the woods, where a fights breaks in order for Easy to save Daphne.

● Easy drives Daphne home, he gets his money, and ends with him relaxing in his neighborhood.

What is film noir? 

● Film noir - crime films that depict dark themes

● Neo-noir - modern film noir

● “Simultaneously explores the racial equation of criminality and darkness-blackness that concentrates on questions that pertain to racialized social relations.”

Race and color line 

● Daphne is described as a white woman, rather than just a woman

● Zebra/mulatta - a person with a biracial background

● Daphne is conflicted with which [black or white] world she is meant to live in. Easy Rawlins 

● Trying to understand postwar social interactions in L.A.

○ In the Joppy’s bar, there is only one white man

● Does not need the police to separate him and Daphne because of the color line and dangerous differences.

○ Meeting her at her hotel, when about to kiss, he backs away, remembering the differences between their social statuses

○ Drives her home, Daphne mentions two cops passing by and he is easily threatened because he is black and she is white

● His house/ownership

○ Very proud and happy when he talks about his house

○ Most control when in his own home vs hotel room → reminded of color lines ● Final voiceover/shot

○ Drank whiskey, forgot about everyone and relaxed at his own home

○ Wide shot of neighborhood

■ Cultures of the South all interacting together as one community

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) directed by Guillermo del Toro

Movie Summary 

● Ofelia and her pregnant mother, Carmen, movie with their new stepfather, Captain Vidal. ● Ofelia discovers a magical labyrinth led to her by a fairy.

● Vidal is in battle against anti-fascists in the area around his home.

● Ofelia is destined to Princess Moana of the Underground Realm if she completes three tasks while Vidal is determined to pass on his name to his soon-to-be-born son. ● On the final task, Ofelia refuses to sacrifice her brother, resulting in Vidal shooting her. ● Vidal is shot by his housekeeper, Mercedes and Ofelia becomes Princess Moana due to her courage and bravery.

References 

1. Alice in Wonderland

a. Pinafore dress

b. Small door to feast

2. Wizard Of Oz

a. Red shoes

b. Hourglass in Witch’s castle

3. Snow White

a. Pale skin

b. Red lips

c. Black hair

4. Chinatown

a. Slicing knife

i. Nose = nosing in others’ businesses

ii. Mouth = orders, stuttering → intimidating

5. Intertextual References 

a. Familiar imagery

b. Plot structures

c. Character types

d. Horror, drama, and dark genres

Themes and Motifs 

1. Disobedience

a. Adam and Eve reference to apple

b. Positive note

c. Essential to survival 

d. Feast scene

i. Knows eating feast is wrong → old man shows her whole table of food and she can’t have any

ii. Takes a few grapes anyways

e. Ofelia’s love for fairy tales 

i. Carmen tells her not to fill her head with nonsense

ii. Doesn’t listen to her and ends up in the Underground Realm

f. Captain Vidal’s motives

i. Name lives on forever

ii. Taking over; totalization 

g. Disobeying father

i. Brought justice for the people who had to work under Vidal

ii. Ofelia’s ability to pursue her goals

2. Change in Gender Roles

a. Women are typically sexually assaulted, but in this case, Vidal scares them with his way of words

b. Mercedes slicing Vidal’s face, stabbing him, and eventually killing him 3. Reality vs Fantasy

a. Magical transformations = forms of resistance and hope 

b. Different worlds, but in the beginning, the audience engages living in both worlds c. Carmen destroys mandrake in fire → hurts her pregnancy

d. Realist perspective > fairy tales

The Host (2006) directed by Bong Joon-ho

Movie Summary 

● After dumping toxic chemicals down the drain that led to the Han River in Seoul, it created a monster six years later.

● The monster appears when people began to notice it which then attacks everyone in the scene.

● Hyun-seo is a schoolgirl that becomes one of the victims and is looked for by her father, Gang-doo, and her other relatives.

● When everyone who was attacked is taken to the hospital, Gang-doo receives a call from Hyun-seo letting him know that she is trapped in a sewer.

● On the way to finding her, Gang-doo’s father, Hie-bong is killed by the monster; though the rest of Hyun-seo’s family doesn’t give up to find her.

● Hyun-seo attempts to escape, but fails. She also meets a homeless boy names Se-joo whom she protects.

● Gang-doo eventually kill the monster, but Hyun-seo doesn’t survive; only Se-joo survives.

● In the epilogue, Gang-doo lives with Se-joo and after turning off the American news, they enjoy their Korean dinner.

Bong Joon-ho 

● Uses Hollywood movies as inspiration

● Put his own Korean twist by addressing Korean social/political issues ● Gained popularity from Memories of Murder and The Host

Korean Cinema 

● The film industry was not common in Asia

● Korea’s Golden Age (1950) 

○ Korean Cinema began to succeed when they were able to support themselves with equipment and accessibility.

● Eventually, 4 out of the top 10 box office movies were Korean based movies Analysis 

1. Genre

a. Monster movie with comedy 

i. Miscounted bullets

ii. Government person in yellow suit falls

2. Hollywood and Korean realities

a. Nam-il = throwing Molotov cocktails

i. Captures Koreans’ attentions

ii. Symbolized 20 year history of street protests 

iii. anti-Americanism

b. Nam-joo = bow and arrow

i. Archery is a traditional Korean sport

c. Korean social/economic failure

i. Homeless man

ii. Unemployed drunk

iii. Former protestor

iv. Second-tier athlete

3. Surface crime vs Deep crime

a. “It is what it is”

b. Surface crime = the creature

c. Deep crime = people who didn’t help

d. “Why​ ​aren’t​ ​people​ ​helping​ ​them?” 

i. Family continues to fight monster even though they’re alone

4. How power of authority is used

a. Little authority but used against them

i. Lies about virus

ii. Police refuse to believe the call from Hyun-seo

iii. Imprisoning them in hospital > look for Hyun-seo

iv. Fumigators easily bribed with change

5. Korea’s relationship with US

a. American orders Korean to dump toxic chemicals drain → Han River

b. Americans = villains

c. Prologue takes place in a US military base

d. Epilogue

i. Turning off American news with foot

ii. Koreans claiming the power; shut out things American 

iii. Happy ending: refusing America’s authority 

Primer (2004) directed by Shane Carruth

Movie Summary 

● Engineers, Abe and Aaron, create “the box” that essentially allows one person at a time to time travel 6 hours prior.

● After multiple tests, they use the box for the stock market.

● Abe learns that Granger, Abe’s girlfriend’s father, had gone into a coma and might be due to time traveling which warns them to stop using the box.

● Abe and Aaron try to find their other versions of themselves (as a result of using the box), and dissuade the other to stop using the box.

● Eventually Abe and Aaron part ways; Aaron moves out of the country and Abe stays in town to prevent the box from returning.

What makes the film Indie 

1. Independent film - genre that has industrial qualities with edginess and quirkiness a. Mix number of elements in one film

2. Avant-garde underground

3. beneath/beyond Hollywood’s style

4. Sense of realism with lofi sound aesthetic 

5. Unique and viable product

6. Anti-genre film - low budget look

a. Makes the film unique

b. $7000 budget

Sound Design 

1. Genre and sound → shape audience’s expectation of sci-fi

2. Not only special effects but sound design movement

3. Surround sound > space

a. Plays with cinematic experience of film

4. Considered both industrially and spectactly indie response to Hollywood sci-fi Narrative 

1. Unclear if flashback or ellipsis

a. Which characters are the original or future versions of themselves

2. Sound = unifying factor in image editing

3. Unshown faces, but dialogue is present in the beginning → later reveals characters a. Telephone conversations

b. Foreshadowing technique

4. Familiar set locations

a. More realistic

Dialogue 

1. Explication in dialogue 

a. Not much action throughout film → pay attention to conversations to understand film

2. Realistic dialogue

a. Captures aspects of real scientists 

b. Actors find it difficult to be less dramatic in their scenes

c. Detached, unemotional

3. Verbal awkwardness

a. Pauses and uttering 

i. Stressed out; irritability of character’s scientific detachment

4. Dialogue narrates the image

Music 

1. Fluid vibrato and glissandi = other worldliness and/or threat

2. Alienness = combo of unusual/electrified instruments

3. Simple electronic chord progressions

4. Uncluttered arrangements

5. Usually 1 or 2 instruments = scaled-back quality

Oldboy (2003) directed by Park Chan-wook

Movie Summary 

● Dae-su is kidnapped and taken to a hotel room for unknown reasons. For the 15 years of being trapped, he spends his time writing in journals of who his possible kidnappers could be and training his body to prepare himself for the day he meets his kidnapper.

● Again, for unknown reasons, he is then freed and finds himself to go to a restaurant where he meets a lady, Mi-do.

● Based on the dumplings he had eaten for 15 years, he goes to every restaurant that has “Blue Dragon” in the name until he finds “Magic Blue Dragon”.

● He finds more clues that eventually leads him to his kidnapper, Woo-jin, a man who had once gone to highschool with. He now knows who the kidnapper is, but still has no idea why; killing Woo-jin will leave him with no answer, thus leaving him to find more clues.

● He finds that his kidnapping is due to Woo-jin’s sister’s suicide. Dae-su goes to Woo-jin’s apartment and is presented with an album of Dae-su’s family.

● Dae-su learns that Mi-do, the girl he met at the restaurant and made love to, was his daughter and were both hypnotized according to Woo-jin’s plan. This was all of Woo-jin’s revenge on Dae-su for telling everyone at school Woo-jin had a incestual relationship which caused his sister to kill herself.

● Dae-su cuts off his tongue and Woo-jin dies now that his revenge had been complete. ● Still in shock, Dae-su asks the hypnotist to erase his memory of everything that had happened and keeping the secret away from Mi-do.

Background

1. Received negative reviews

2. Doesn’t carry humanistic films

a. Protagonists plot revenge > values tolerance and salvation

3. Leaves the audience with a “cool” impression of violence

Analysis 

1. Vengeance

a. Always towards individuals > state institutions

b. Erasure of authority

c. “Police are useless”

■ Foreground police as a source of corruption or social malice who meet all acts of transgression, personal, or public.

■ Beyond knowing

■ Police rarely showing up in frame, only voices

d. Visual plane

■ Opting for flattened wide shots

■ Reducing distance between camera and objects

e. Public menace

■ Beginning shows Dae-su in police station → cuts quickly and minimally = caused some disturbance

■ Realistic lighting, natural actions > upcoming intense actions

f. Transformation of Dae-su

■ Physically stronger than started

■ Isolated for 15 years

■ Lack of emotions

2. Revenge

a. Only identifying the essence of resentment → root cause of revenge b. Not to denounce the crime, but identify the sinners

c. Morality

■ Justifies the spirit of revenge

d. Vengeance is neither evil nor unethical

e. “Revenge is good for one’s health”

■ mentally/physically good

f. Acts of terror can be seen as good and other times bad

■ If executed with good intentions

3. Body

a. Many body parts/organs are dismembered

b. Being able to extract one’s revenge 

c. Korean history

■ Offering to sacrifice one’s body part protests in human rights violations or express nationalist ideologies

■ Sacrifice body part = realize goals of capital gain

4. Space

a. Modernism takes away the sense of familiarity

b. “Too much buchu in the dumpling”

■ Gave the dumpling its unique taste → led him to the Magic Blue Dragon ■ His only memories of cell

5. Language

a. Dae-su’s access to info about world → TV

b. TV = friend

■ Felt a little less lonely

c. Cutting his tongue

d. Monotone voice

■ Detaches from social and personal → spiritual/transcendental voiceovers ● Rises everything that is social

A Touch of Spice (2006) directed by Tassos Boulmetis

Movie Summary 

● Fanis Iakovides grew up in Istanbul where he was born and spent most of his childhood with his grandfather, Vassilis, at his general store. There, he learned about astronomy from Vassilis by using spices to represent a planet.

● During the Istanbul riots, many Greeks who had dual citizenship were deported. Fanis and his family had dual citizenship but Vassilis didn’t, so Fanis’s grandfather had to stay in Istanbul while Fanis and his family deported to Athens.

● Fanis had difficulty adapting to living in Athens and spent most of his time in the kitchen where it reminded him of home and his cooking talents grew.

● When the riots had resolved, Vassilis had promised to visit Fanis over the years, but failed to due his health.

● Fanis returns to Istanbul and visits the general store again. He also runs into Saime, a Turkish girl and childhood friend who he had fell in love with when they were kids, where they catch up on each other’s lives of the last thirty years.

Side note: I was not able to attend the Q&A, and there was no reading on iLearn.

Paprika (2006) directed by Satoshi Kon

Movie Summary 

● Set in the future, a device called the DC Mini is created, which allows a person(s) to enter a patient’s dreams. Dr. Atsuko Chiba uses this device illegally and secretly as Paprika, her alter ego, to help Detective Toshimi Konakawa’s recurring dreams.

● Since the DC Mini is not finished, anyone is able to access anyone’s dreams with the device. Chiba goes to Dr. Kosaku Tokita, the inventor of the DC Mini, to look for the culprit who is going through people’s dreams.

● After almost killing himself, chief of the department, Dr. Torataro Shima consistently dreams of a parade of kitchen utilities. Tokita sees his assistant Kei Himuro and realizes that someone from the department is the thief and Kei had helped them.

● DC Mini was then banned by the chairman of the department, but while Tokita was looking for the culprit, he becomes involved in Konakawa’s dreams. Paprika and Shima end up finding that it is not Himuro that was culprit, but the chairman, Dr. Morio Osanai.

● Paprika is captured by Osanai and is literally cut open, to reveal Chiba’s true form. After being interrupted by the shared body of the Chairman and Osanai, Konakawa steps into the dream and saves Chiba by taking her to his dream. Konakawa then shoots Osanai, which actually kills Osanai’s physical body in the real world.

● The two worlds of dreams and reality are beginning to overlap with the parade of utilities on the street. This results with Paprika and Chiba in their own bodies. The chairman appears and threatens to make the world a living nightmare. After Paprika throws herself in Tokita’s robotic form, a baby appears and begins to age as she sucks in the chairman's wind, ending his nightmare.

Background 

1. Satoshi Kon

a. Japanese director

b. Known for his editing

i. Transitions → match cuts, metamorphosis

c. Animation > live action

i. Stripped down

ii. Faster pace editing

d. Female character protagonist

i. Performativity

ii. Male gaze

iii. Female = strong, faithful

e. Play with form

i. Reveal the mechanisms of the medium within the film itself

Analysis 

1. “Dreams are windows”

a. Frames within frames

b. Use of mirrors, screens, and windows

c. Windows to other realities and great power 

i. Real life troubles portrayed in dreams

d. Idea of freedom

i. Blue butterflies

2. Detective side story

a. Damsel in distress

b. Saved by Paprika

3. Male gaze

a. Male sets up the scene; female drives the plot 

b. Detective is emasculated

4. Sound/Visuals

a. Techno = faulty with technology

i. Played in situation when technology is breaking down

b. Dark themes are portrayed when:

i. Toy box music is played

ii. Colorful visuals

5. Cheerful parade

a. Dreams are merging

b. Sign of trouble

6. Wizard of Oz ≠ Paprika

a. There and back

i. Dorothy leaves the Kansas and into Oz without affecting either worlds b. DC Mini

i. Two way gate

ii. Being able to go from dream to reality 

iii. Affects the real world

iv. Contagious power

7. Paprika and Chiba

a. Shows a part of Chiba

i. Youthful and sexier under psychologist professional

ii. Enhance each other > merge

b. Alter ego

i. Paprika is shown as always having fun, flying in her own world

8. Dreamtime

a. Where myths, legends, and folklore reside

b. Becomes real when entered in Tokyo

In the Mood For Love (2000) directed by Wong Kar-wai

Movie Summary 

● In 1962 Hong Kong, Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen are two married people whose spouses often leave to work for overtime. Chow and Su are often seen alone but become next-door neighbors.

● Chow and Su find themselves to run into each other in everyday situations. For quite some time, they both come to realize that their spouses are sleeping with each other. ● Platonically, they spend a lot of time together and Su helps Chow write a martial arts

book at a different hotel room, away from their apartments. Eventually, they develop feelings for each other.

● Chow moves to Singapore for a job and asks Su to go with him. She meets with Chow at the hotel room to leave with him, but only to come to an empty hotel room. ● A year later, Su goes to Chow’s apartment in Singapore and calls him at work. He picks up but says nothing. She leaves, and Chow realizes she was in his apartment from the red lipstick-stained cigarette.

● Chow mentions that when a person has a secret, one would go to the top of a mountain, whisper their secret in a hollow tree and cover it with mud.

● Su visits her landlady, Mrs. Suen, and asks if the apartment is still available before Mrs. Suen emigrates to the U.S.

● Sooner or later, Chow visits the apartments and asks his landlords if Mrs. Suen still lives there. He learns that a new woman and her son had just moved in.

● The film ends with the architecture of Cambodia.

Background 

1. Exuberant, youthful stylish filmmaking beholden to generic tradition in past 2. Primarily shot in Thailand

3. Creating the title

a. Based on song by Bryan Ferry

b. Frustrated couple

c. Hong Kong’s 1977 change in sovereignty

d. Presentation of space

Analysis 

1. Unfinished script → left room for improv and real reactions to situations 2. Camera movement

a. Highlights frames (doors, windows, and mirrors)

b. Slow motion = progress of camera

c. Lighting = spotlights artificial quality of decor

d. Multiple jump cuts = temporal and spatial plasticity of medium

3. Music

a. Includes music from various countries/eras 

4. Parallel and Reversed Structures

a. Parallel between pre-1949 Shanghai and post-1997 Hong Kong

b. Chow and Su don’t see each other at end compared to beginning.

c. Repetitive music = trapped inside this time in brackets

d. Mirror reflections shadow camera’s perspective on characters

5. References

a. Hitchcock's Vertigo

i. Beautiful woman = centerpiece of both directors

b. Tête Bêche

i. Oppression

ii. Adultery

c. Spring in a Small City

i. Love triangle

d. Hua Young de Nuan Hua (Flowers At Full Bloom)

i. Plays on radio as birthday greeting

ii. Chinese title

1. Su’s and decor fabric of flowers

6. Goods and People

a. Japanese rice cooker

i. “The characters in this universe one surrounded by mass produced objects and overwhelming presence of the multiplied objects ridicules any claim people might have to uniqueness or authenticity.”

7. Small Space

a. Sharing kitchen and common living areas

b. Doors remain open

c. Mahjong games go all night

8. Fashion

a. Tie and bag led to them realizing the affair

b. Marriage and love affairs wear out, go out of fashion 

9. Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

a. Reason for Suen’s leave for America

b. Other major historical events not mentioned

10. Sex Scene

a. Explicit sex scene was cut 

b. Su’s son may or may not be Chow’s.

c. Su went to Singapore to tell Chow she is pregnant but backed out d. Most of miscommunication happens on phone

e. Cramped quarters contradicts miscommunication

f. Secret remains unknown

11. Secrets

a. Role playing confrontations, but no actual confrontations happen on screen b. Fails to dramatic breakups

i. Both single in end

ii. Spouses remain out of picture 

12. Su’s hidden feelings

a. Doesn’t want to be seen with Chow

b. Reluctant to start affair with Chow

c. Signals loneliness

13. Waiting in Singapore

a. Chow learns Su’s slippers under his bed in hopes for her return

b. Su knowing it’ll be there.

14. Being caught > capturing spouses in act

a. Always seeing themselves as others see them

b. Taking part in the gossip

i. No need to take a stance

15. The thrill in seduction

a. For the audience, seeing the protagonists figure out their relationships, it’s giving the same feelings when sex scenes are out of picture.

16. Hotel room space

a. Shades of red and blue

b. Abstract quality

c. Negative space

i. Unbalanced shot, decentering human from highlighting abstract

17. Temporal shifts in qipao

a. Floral pattern on bowl complements dress

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) directed by Ang Lee

Movie Summary 

● Mu Bai, a Wudang swordsman, asks Shu Lien, a female warrior, to return the sword, Green Destiny, back to Sir Te in Beijing. Shu Lien and Mu Bai have feelings for each other but is complicated due to the fact that Shu Lien was once the fiance of Mu Bai’s closest friend, Meng Sizhao, before he died.

● One night, a thief takes the Green Destiny and Mu Bai and Shu Lien run after the masked thief. After Mu Bai and the thief fight (later revealed as Jen), he realizes that she has been studying Wudang.

● Jen is the governor’s daughter who is soon to be arranged marriage. One night, a bandit named, Lo, comes to Peking to look for Jen and convince her to leave her marriage for him.

● In a flashback, Lo steals Jen’s comb in the desert and after chasing him for it, thy eventually fall in love. However, Lo convinces Jen to return back to her family and one day, she and Lo will reunite once again.

● After rejecting his proposal to leave her marriage, Jen leaves and disguised as a man, she goes off to find trouble and adventure with Green Destiny in her hands. On the other hand, Mu Bai and Shu Lien tell Lo to wait for Jen at Mount Wudang.

● Jen visits Shu Lien and fight to a duel. Jen injures Shu Lien’s arm and Mu Bai comes in to fight Jen with him, in the possession of Green Destiny this time. Mu Bai and Jen fight through the bamboo forest and Mu Bai asks Jen if he could help her with Wudang. Mu Bai throws Green Destiny in the waterfall and Jen swims for it. She is then captured by Jade Fox, who suddenly appears.

● Jade Fox takes Jen to a cave and drugs her. Mu Bai and Shu Lien come to rescue Jen. Mu Bai kills Jade Fox with a poisoned dart, but is shot with one on his neck by Jade Fox. Jen runs to find an antidote for the poison but Mu Bai slowly dies before she could come back in time.

● Jen returns to Mount Wudang to reunite with Lo. The next morning, Jen jumps off Mount Wudang, symbolizing the man who made a wish and jumped off the mountain that she and Lo talked about before.

Analysis 

1. Main theme

a. “Through discipline, comes freedom.” 

i. What it takes to be free

b. Desire vs restraint

c. Inner life and public duty

d. Emotional freedom and physical liberty

2. Female Protagonists

a. Shu Lien

i. Mature, experienced

ii. Ancient code of honour

b. Jen

i. Young, headstrong

ii. Rebellious

iii. About to be married, but craves adventure as a secretly trained Wudang fighter

iv. Thinks Shu Lien is free because she’s a fighter but even fighters have rules too

3. Contradictions in beginning

a. Shu Lien and Mu Bai = free to travel widely, but adhere to strict moral code b. Refuse love for one another

4. Heart vs Head

a. Body language

b. Facial expressions in close up

5. Mu Bai

a. Emotionally ready to let go of Green Destiny → he must avenge his father’s death who was killed by Jade Fox

6. Chinese vs Western Traditions

a. Unexpected first 15 minutes of no fighting; broke that rule

b. Not just martial arts film; has drama 

7. Fighting

a. Stylistic > realistic 

b. Complex psychological relationships

c. Conveys real emotions

d. Expressing emotions in unique situations/feelings

e. 1st fight (Shu Lien and Jen)

i. Jen is quick and able to get away from Shu Lien

ii. Vaulting = dreamlike form of jumping/flying

iii. Shu Lien is victorious = symbolizes discipline > raw talent without self control 

f. 2nd fight

i. More serious/aggressive

ii. Jen injures Shu Lien

1. Symbolizing potential of Jen’s willfulness to cause real life damage 2. Foreshadows upcoming tragedy

iii. Almost like a frustrated mother begging her daughter to make better decisions

8. Jade Fox

a. Symbolizes uncontrolled emotion

b. Completely free → seeks control over others

c. Repressed because Mu Bai’s master did not want to teach her to fight

i. Warped, bitter, victim of sexism

9. Mu Bai vs Jen

a. Mu Bai = restraint

b. Fight = duality

c. 1st fight

i. Mu Bai fights still and self-control

ii. Jen moves quickly and constantly

d. 2nd fight

i. Bamboo canopy setting

ii. White clothing contrasts green trees

1. Purity and possibility 

iii. Slow camera movement

1. Dream atmosphere

iv. Jen’s self-realization

1. Understanding the value of the wisdom her elders are offering

2. Refuses to kneel at Mu Bai’s command

10. Jen’s evolution

a. Able to live at a state which feeling and discipline coexist 

b. Reunited with Lo = freedom she desires

c. Met Lo at desert with conflict and passion → compared to Wudang Mountain where they communicate peacefully

d. Leaping into the unknown = out of faith 

i. Letting go of rage and independence is scary

ii. Only path to freedom

The Lobster (2016) directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Movie Summary 

● In a dystopian society, a person is to find a mate within 45 days or else they are turned into an animal.

● After his wife cheats on him, David goes to a hotel to find his new mate. He takes his brother, who is turned into a dog, with him through his trip. David becomes acquaintances with two other men, John and Robert.

● Residents can extend their deadline by going hunting in the woods for loners, or single people; one person is one day extended to their deadline. In order for a relationship to work, mates should have one thing in common.

● After John finds a girl who has nosebleeds and even though pretends to have nosebleeds, they are taken to the couples section. On the other hand, David finds his mate with a heartless woman, who he pretends to have no emotions as their common trait.

● As a test, the heartless woman kicks David’s brother/dog to death to see if their relationship is a lie. David begins to cry and the woman demands he transforms. He escapes and he ends up transforming her instead.

● David escapes the hotel and finds a group of loners in the woods. The loners are not to have any romantic relationships with each other or else they will be punished. The loners would have small raids to the hotel, and go to the city for supplies.

● David begins a secret relationship with a short sighted woman but is eventually found out by the loners’ leader. The leader punishes the woman by permanently blinding her. The blind woman tells David that she can no longer see, David ties up the leader in a dug-up hole and leaves her to die with the dogs.

● David and the blind woman begin to run away together and try to make their relationship work by finding something in common. He takes her to a restaurant in the city and while the blind woman sits at the table, David blinds himself with a steak knife. Background Context (From Interview) 

● Providing structure

○ Brutal view of how society influences/constricts settling down

● Perspective from other cultures

○ Many took his movie too seriously

○ Others thought it was a joke

○ Yorgos only made reality slightly different

● Diversity

○ Makes Greek films, but makes The Lobster in English

○ International cast

■ Gave a piece of multiple ethnicities to make the audience feel more

identifiable

■ Chose the actors based on who he felt wanted to work with

■ No time to rehearse = not enough money to get an actor(s) to one place for a couple of days

● Natural reactions

○ Actors weren’t given a specific background on their characters/scene ○ Actors freely reacted the way they would in a given situation alongside working with a script.

● Filming a new environment

○ Tried to make the film in the same way he would in Greece

■ More crew = larger support

■ Crew would use his other films as a guide to what the film could be

● Music

○ Schnittke, Strauss, Stravinksy

○ Narrows the sense of the scene or the entirety of the film

○ But when making The Lobster, adding music should be a different layer to the scene

○ Create something new with the scene > reassuring the scene

○ Originally had a composer, but found classical music fit better

● Voiceover

○ Gave the same effect as music 

○ Adds another layer to the scene

● Narration

○ Rachel Weisz as the narrator, but doesn’t show up until later in the film ■ Usually narrators never show up in the film or from the lead character ○ 1st part of film = provides distance and commentary on the way

○ 2nd part of film = twist, being able to see the narrator

● The Opening

○ Woman shoots donkey

■ Cheating husband, husband gets turned into donkey, wife possibly shoots the right donkey

○ An introduction to the world 

■ Sets the tone

● Past > Present

○ When you know there are random animals in the background, you’re aware they were once people

○ Makes you wonder what happened before they turned into that animal ● Filmmaker in Greece

○ There were not many filmmakers in Greece

○ It was seen as absurd; a hobby

○ Went to film school

■ First made commercials

○ Today, there are many more filmmakers with the technology we have now ● Life on set

○ No lights were used

○ Had to move quickly

○ Doing as much scenes while they’re on set

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