Bonnie and Clyde-Love and Larceny

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14th, 2011 by mdeandrade100

“Bonnie and Clyde” has been one of my favorite pictures I have seen all semester. It truly emphasizes many of the key reasons we see a movie to begin with.

Escapism One of the oldest reasons to enjoy drama was to escape from our regular daily life and take on the extraordinary- even the daring criminal of whom we are may be initially hesitant to empathize with. However we cling on to these charismatic fugitives and take our own part of their joyride across USA. We grow to love them, care for them, and in the process the movie becomes something more.

Story We go to see a tale that will change and inspire us. A story is crafted from its use of themes and literary or cinematic techniques. Bonnie and Clyde has as deep a story as they come; with complex characters who face conflict from within, and from the threat of law enforcement. Multiple characters were developed aside from the titular Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. They all have a part to play in the duo’s eventual downfall.

Entertainment and Thrill We also go to the movies to be thrilled by spectacle and have a good time. People are attracted to sex, romance, and violence. Bonnie and Clyde met all three of these motifs with flying colors. In particular the romance was not cliche, and was quite original, we dealt with a very unusual romance between Barrow and Parker. The violence was plentiful and quite an overload for its original audience. It introduced to the audience the reality of death very intensely since the violence was so upfront and bleak.

I had a great semester guys. This class was just EXACTLY what I bargained for and loved EVERY bit of it. Thanks to Professor Herzog for preparing the class with great film for all of us to enjoy!

Happy Holidays everyone!

EXTRA CREDIT “Parallel Scenes from HITCHCOCK’s SHADOW OF A DOUBT”

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8th, 2011 by mdeandrade100


What happens when a cold hearted serial killer and thief comes into the quiet idyllic Californian of Santa Rosa, california? A Hitchcock masterpiece! For those of you who have not seen it, the story centers around an unlikely pair, “Charlie” the uncle, and “Charlie” his teenage niece, who is named after him. Uncle Charlie is visiting the latter’s mother’s (his sister’s) family which includes her father, younger brother and younger sister.

Uncle Charlie is a wanted fugitive, with his true name unknown to the press who write articles about his murders and larcenies.

Historically the story takes place in a prewar America (according to wikipedia). I think the most important idea one can draw from that within the context of this film, is that this story took place during peacetime. Before the violence of the Great Wars. So in certain sense, America was less a military superpower and more ‘innocent’ so to speak. However, in this movie that innocence, or at the least the innocence of one pleasant town is broken when an intruder came in on the train one day…

In this scene he finds himself on the run once again, and decides to hide at his sister’s. This happens concurrently while his niece Charlie also happens to thinking it would be good for her Uncle Charlie to pay her family a visit.

Coincidence? Nope, Hitchcock uses Teenage Charlie’s character to bring the audience’s attention to a “Psychic link” the pair of Charlie’s share. Although it does often seem one-sided, and Teenage Charlie is often more perceptive to her Uncle’s thoughts.

watch?v=XX8N1Wu8Q_0

Uncle Charlie is introduced in bed. Perhaps pondering his next theft. Or worse… But actually he is probably pondering his next getaway.

If you continue to the end of that clip we see Teenage Charlie’s initial characterization. She is also introduced while lying in bed. Also pondering. The scene continues here:
watch?v=1qM4euUBEVQ&feature=related

“I don’t believe in good intentions anymore.” The Teenage Charlie says. She is upset with her family life. It is too plain, too safe. She seeks something more. Perhaps these were the same thoughts her Uncle had, when he was her age. Interestingly enough, the two scenes involving both Charlie’s have the similar Closeup profile shot while each is lying in bed.

This is the basic setup of the story. The parallel between the pair becomes our focus. Will Charlie find out the truth and expose her Uncle? Or will she conform to his ways?

Now what you gonna’ do with all that junk! All that junk inside your trunk!” “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS” ANALYSIS OF A SHORT FILM

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6th, 2011 by mdeandrade100

       It’s time for Kustom Kar Kommandos! (RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW TAB TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY OF THE ROMANCE THAT IS \”KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.\”)The film by Kenneth Anger shows a man who is sincerely in love with his car that he cleans inch by inch with a pink sponge. In class we discussed the “castration complex.” A symptom of this phenomena, is that men may acquire a ‘sexual fetish’ to objects. I think this is what happened to the man in the video, just maybe… Laura Mulvey argues in her essay “VISUAL PLEASURE AND NARRATIVE CINEMA” that films or often shot, or male characters make use of a so called ‘male gaze.’ It is the look a man gives to a woman, when he sees her as an object of sex, and nothing more. Who says men don’t give this look to their cars? Hope the sarcasm is obvious.

Notice the curviness of the 'back' of the car. Watch him clean her rear...Oh I mean it's rear...Oh sorry I mean the car's trunk...NO! I don't MEAN the car's TRUNK not in that sense! Just IT's!!... Ah well, you GET THE IDEA =P

So how does a man change his subject from a female human being, an animate living person, to a shiny, beautiful automobile that is ‘lifeless’? How is the car personified as a woman? By the end of Mulvey’s article, (in fact the last paragraph) it states that women “cannot view the decline of traditional film with anything much more than sentimental regret.” My analysis will also reflect on this idea in relation to “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS ” and films in general.

       SCOPHOPHILIA:  “the pleasure in looking at another as [a] sexual object”, and  according to Mikhail Gershovich, this refers to an “instinct of pleasure” that’s almost transcendent. Ironically, the viewer may not really be aware of how much pleasure incurs from watching a woman on camera being viewed through the ‘male gaze.’ Gershovich also discusses fetishistic scophophilia. This idea MORE directly relates to “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.”

The use of MEDIUM PASSING SHOTS make us feel as if we are ‘sizing up’ a woman. Like looking at a naked woman from head to toe. Similar to this shot from PEEPING TOM(1960). RIGHT CLICK HERE AND WATCH IN NEW TAB TO SEE VIDEO:From 16-22 seconds the camera makes two trips, from TOP to TOE, and again from TOE to TOP. This correctly sets up a similar visual candy we are treated to in KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.
To be frank for a moment, I remember watching the film for the first time in class in complete awe of how cheesy and hilariously sensual the man behaved towards his beloved vehicle. So in a sense, I fell victim to the voyeuristic pleasure of watching “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.” It was well obvious to me, and the audience that this car was unmistakably likened to a woman being caressed softly by a man. There is no doubt of that.

From 40-50 seconds in the video, we see a great CLOSEUP SHOTthat serves as an awesome feminization of the vehicle.

Note: RATED PG-13 FOR FRONTAL NUDITY

I’ve chosen the frame here to draw you attention to those…Kar Mammaries?

Note***:And now we just jumped from PG-13 to..........RATED R FOR STRONG SEXUAL CONTENT

There is also another CLOSEUP SHOT of him “brushing off” those, those…decadent KAR BREASTS…

      OBJECTIFICATION WITH THE HELP OF SOUND: So this man, now with the audience sees the car as an object being personified as a woman. However, there is much more this video than meets the eye. There is key SONIC evidence to support this essay. RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW TAB to listen to DREAM LOVER cover by PARIS SISTERS

This softly sung, sultry, and rich in melody ballad is perfectly cast as NON-DIEGETIC background music. The PARIS SISTERS cover of Bobby Darin’s “DREAM LOVER” actually shapes the fantasy and dreamlike vision, of the audience to match the man who is washing his car. If you watch the video MUTED will helplessly lose most of the sensual feel of the video. In fact I bet if the video was shown for the first time, most people would not catch the sexual innuendo of the video.

Although I agree with Mulvey that most CERTAINLY a ‘male gaze’ exists in Hollywood of past and present, I FAIL to see it as a threat to women, femininity, or sexual equality. I feel people watch moving pictures for many reasons that include Mulvey’s viewpoints of the male gaze ‘phenomena’ (i.e. voyeurism, women as sexual objects, etc. etc.) however there is NOTHING to suggest that this exceeds or is the limit of cinematic entertainment. Hopefully from my essay proves that the ‘male gaze’ can be mocked and “humor-ized”, or parodied by Anger’s film “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS” where love, seduction and  sexual fantasies and other emotions can be slapstickingly be put onto…well a car!

So in conclusion we shall climax how many love stories climax, with a LOVE SCENE. Of course, not Love of the traditional kind. It’s time for love “KUSTOM” style! It’s often referred in certain circles that men ‘ride’ women during acts of love. Well what love story would be complete without the Kommando in the story riding his woman!

<3 Now that's what I call true, DRIVEN, LOVE! <3

 

ANALYSIS OF A SCENE: DOUBLE INDEMNITY “PHYLLIS DEATH SCENE”

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13th, 2011 by mdeandrade100

(1) MEDIUM SHOT [Camera angled at chest level.] A living room is lit by two lamps. A woman appears from the center of the frame, out of the shadows and turns off each lamp. Which reveals other sources of light peeking through her living room blinds and casting shadows against her and her walls.  She is PHYLLIS DIETRICHSON. A woman clad in a white cotton or satin nightgown. The room is otherwise dark and made up of shadows. Made to look very late, around midnight or later.  She is carrying something under a white cloth and making a good pace to her personal armchair. The music has been building up, and the notes peak when the gun is shown under the white cloth, and she conceals it underneath the chair cushion. (20 seconds)

(2) CLOSE UP [Camera moves with her, mostly straight on] She puts the cloth down, picks up cigarette and proceeds to light it with a match…but she is interrupted by noise outside. It’s the sound of a car pulling up, a car door slamming. She reclines on the chair, seated above the gun after she finishes lighting her cigarette…(17 seconds)

(3) She lays back and watches the shadows. [Camera faces the room at the normal (180 degree) angle] LONG SHOT of the shadows, they demonstrate a door opening, and a man approaching. The man comes into vision. It is WALTER NEFF. He is wearing typical business attire, and a fedora. He shuts the door behind him. “In here Walter.” speaks the woman. CUE…Non-DIEGETIC music? (The music is casual in tone, seems to imply a friendly, yet ominous and eerie meeting) “Hello baby…anyone else in the house?” he asks. “Nobody, why?” she says. “What’s that music?” he then asks her. “Radio up the street,” she declares. Interesting decision to fool the audience into believing that the music is meant to be from within the scene and isn’t “background,” but it is in fact, DIEGETIC. It mixes and blends well with the shadowy noir film feeling, it adds to the mystery. They make or rather try to make small talk, he reminisces over what took place. He tells her he came to say “Goodbye.” (60 seconds)

(4) CLOSEUP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her] “Buh-bye?” she misquotes him, and her voice got a little higher at the notion. The cigarette is still in her hand. They both know something will happen that night. She asks him to skip the cryptic talk. Smoke appears from the lit cigarette. (11 seconds)

(5) CLOSEUP (WALTER) [Camera is straight on, from his right side] He tells her his idea to swap places with her ‘other’ partner in crime. He is framed specifically to be the only visible object in the shot. It is almost otherwise entirely black except for the light escapes from the blindfolds behind him to his left. (11 seconds)

(6) CLOSEUP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her] She mocks his suggestion, and examines her ring. An interesting symbol that the writer draws our attention at this time of the film. Was that her wedding ring? Was killing her husband worth all the trouble? (8 seconds)

(7) CLOSEUP (WALTER) [Camera is straight on, from his right side] Back to him, not much has changed. Lighting and framing is the same as the last one, but this time he awaits her reaction to his findings…Tension is definitely building between the characters. He tells her of his own scheme to swap places with another one in this dreary picture. However, oddly enough, the quaint music remains. (7 seconds)

(8) CLOSEUP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her]] “Just who are you talking about?” (2 seconds)

(9) CLOSE UP (WALTER) [Camera is straight on, from his right side] He tells her he wants to swap his role with her friend “Mr. Zachetti.” Walter believes he himself would have eventually been killed by her too. He believes he may have been a lifeless marionette in her master plan. (12 seconds)

(10) CLOSEUP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her] With the cigarette still in her hand, she says “Nobody wanted to brush you off.” Walter interrupts “Save it I’m telling this.” Back to Walter. (3 seconds)

(11) CLOSEUP (WALTER) [Camera is straight on, from his right side] He is tired of listening to her. He has made his mind up. “Doesn’t make a difference whether it’s true or not…” He proceeds to stand up. (6 seconds)

(12) MEDIUM SHOT (PHYLLIS) [Camera is slightly above her eye level, at the normal (180 degree) angle. However as the shot progresses, it turns slightly upwards towards him.] We see her reclining in her chair, but only from her breast upwards. Her eyes follow the man walking by her right side, placing his right hand on the top of the breadth of the chair. All the while she displays a noticeably disgusted look. They continue to talk with no real compassion. These characters are only looking and breathing for themselves. He makes his way to the blindfold. Which may be one of only perhaps one other source of light. He shuts them. No one should hear what’s about to happen. He walks back to her, resting both hands on top of the chair. “What do you think is gonna happen to you?” He walks off-screen. She doesn’t buy his idea of her fate. She then threatens “Maybe I’d rather talk…” (32 seconds)

(13) CLOSEUP (WALTER) MEDIUM SHOT (PHYLLIS) [Camera looking down from near the ceiling capturing both of them.] She is behind him to our left. His face is half covered in shadow. The interesting center of this shot is the shadow of her armchair. It stands grudgingly in the backdrop, listening to their conversation. Little does Walter know the armchair is hiding something for Phyllis…her gun. He steps over and faces her head on as she sits and listens. He tells her his master plan. He wants to kill her, and make it seem as her daughter-in-law’s boyfriend killed her, since he’ll be arriving soon with the cops not long after. By now he has moved to our left. She pleads one last time. She (bluffingly?) asks him for last chance. She tells him they could take the money and scoot before it is too late. Be together. (36 seconds)

(14) CLOSE UP (WALTER) [Camera slightly tilted upwards towards at him, but near chest level.] “That’s cute. Say it again.” he says. She ‘obeys’ and proceeds to mutter… (3 seconds)

(15) CLOSE UP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her.] A little more interest in her eyes. She tries to convince him to believe in a confusing story that could liberate her. (13 seconds)

(16) CLOSE UP (WALTER) [Camera slightly tilted upwards towards at him, but near chest level.] In front of the shades, he mocks her. For the first time he can admit to believing a story of hers. He knows what she is capable of…”Yeah…for once I believe you because it’s just rotten enough.” (3 seconds)

(17) CLOSE UP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her.] Her eyes retreat from him. Unto herself. She looks down at herself “We’re both rotten.” (3 seconds)

(18) CLOSE UP (WALTER) [Camera slightly tilted upwards towards at him, but near chest level.] “Only you’re a little more rotten.” He justifies his actions by accusing her of manipulating him from the start. He reasserts that he would just be somewhere down “laundry list” along with her other victims if he lets her go… (11 seconds)

(19) CLOSE UP (PHYLISS) [Camera peers down at her.] She still sits, and tells him that what he is doing is just as bad. (3 seconds)

(20) CLOSE UP (WALTER) [Camera starts again at chest level, but as he walks toward the window, he retreats into the back of the shot, becoming smaller.] He nods, showing from SIDE TO SIDE…(But what does he mean?? Is he disagreeing that he is just as bad as her? Or suggesting that he isn’t any better. Very ambiguous and well thought out by the writers.) Turned a little sideways now, “I don’t like that music anymore. Mind if I close the window?” He walks over to the window. He shuts it. The mysterious “DIEGETIC MUSIC” ends. (10 seconds)

(20) CLOSE UP (PHYLLIS) [Camera peers down at her.] She glares at him. We see her waist upwards. THROWS THE CIGARETTE AWAY. STARTS TO GET UP WITH A FAINT SMILE…HER HAND IS SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING UNDERNEATH THE CUSHION…(8 seconds)

(21) LONG SHOT (WALTER) [He is near center to the frame at the normal (180 degree) angle.] Closes the curtains. Turns around. BANG! The gunshot limps him. He reaches inside his jacket to embrace the wound… “You can do better than that can’t you baby? Better try it again.”  His figure rests in almost complete darkness. The gunshot finally climaxes the tension in the room. This is the first CLIMAX. He walks up to her, closer. Closer to make her target easier. (17 seconds)

(22) LONG SHOT (PHYLISS) CLOSEUP (BEHIND WALTER) [Camera near the ceiling, looking down at them both.] He walks from the lower right of the frame towards her. She is uniquely lit with the light from the blinds casting on her and the walls. Her face is not entirely in focus, but she has no expression. She is, however still pointing the gun at him. He creeps towards her. Only the sound of footsteps creaking on wood is heard. He stops. She lowers it. He comes in once more. CUE DIEGETIC MUSIC. A large wind instrument plays a downtrodden theme, like a tuba. He takes the gun out of her hands. “Why didn’t you shoot again baby?” She looks at him. Her arms come toward him. (28 seconds)

(23) CLOSE UP (WALTER’S FACE, BACK OF PHYLLISS’ HEAD) [Camera observes the couple from behind her shoulder.] She is on the left of the frame, he is on the right. She is closer to the camera. Her hands place themselves on his shoulders like spiders swooping down on prey. They gently tug at his jacket. His eyes are assumed to be looking into hers. “Don’t tell me it’s because you’ve been in love with me all this time.” (6 seconds)

(24) CLOSE UP (PHYLLIS’ FACE, BACK OF WALTER’S HEAD) [Camera observes the couple from behind his shoulder.] She is still on the left, but he is now closer to the camera.  “I’m rotten to the heart. I used you, just as you said. That’s all you ever meant to me – until a minute ago. When I couldn’t fire that second shot, I never thought that could happen to me.” Her face seems to remark genuine concern. However, one can never be sure. “Sorry baby I’m not buying.” he says. “I’m not asking you to buy – JUST HOLD ME CLOSE!” she pleads, cries and hugs him. (28 seconds)

(25) CLOSE UP (WALTER’S FACE, BACK OF PHYLLISS’ HEAD) [Camera observes the couple from behind her shoulder.] She is on the left of the frame, he is on the right. She is hugging him, closer to the camera. He looks down at her. (2 seconds)

(26) CLOSE UP (PHYLISS, BACK OF WALTER) [Camera observes the couple from behind his shoulder.] She is still hugging him. She gets off. Looks him in the eye. Her eyes move about. (Great example of off-screen action. It’s assumed he pulled the gun on her and she felt it). “Goodbye baby” he says. Her expression is of terror. BANG-BANG (He fires twice, in succession. Almost mocking her previous murder attempt where she couldn’t fire twice). She falls on him. Hugs him before it’s lights out. However, she begins to fall, her arms slip off his shoulders. The BACKGROUND MUSIC is trembling with emotion as she dies. This is the final CLIMAX of the scene. (8 seconds)

(27) MEDIUM SHOT [Camera follows him at a slightly ‘above’ normal (180 degree) angle. However it normalizes by the time he picks up his fedora.] She flails off him like a ragdoll. He is holding her up still, and carries her over to the couch and lays her lengthwise on it. He grabs his right arm and walks away. He kneels down to pick up the gun and collects his hat, puts it on, opens and exits through the door from whence he came. He is likened to a moving shadow amongst the stationary darkness in her living room. (28 seconds)

FIN

 

As a “film noir” (black film) the scene uses choking levels of darkness. This helps portray the gritty nature of the storytelling. Characters are always in focus (however sometimes half-cast in shadow), their facial expressions and tone of voice are key to the audience’s reaction, since the music is either awkward (as heard from the ‘radio’ outside) or only non-diegetically inserted at key moments (the gunshot, her death etc.). The terrific acting by both parties makes the scene seem very real. Real enough for them to be people that we may see every day, and we never knew that behind closed doors they lived such ‘shady’ lives.

At the scene’s first climax, a man is wounded. At the second, a woman is killed. However, the things that tie these events together are conversation, maybe even heartbreak. There is no struggle, or battery imparted by the pair. With subtle care, the scene DOES NOT seem unrealistic, even given those premises. The finely crafted dialogue helps push this along with ease. The very smart lighting keeps the scene mysterious by never allowing the audience full vision of the living room.

The scene is a terrific reminder of why film noir is so beloved. It takes the shadier side of the humanity and paints it beautifully upon the film’s frames, using only dark shadows, and darker hearts.

Gangsters as Tragic Heroes

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2nd, 2011 by mdeandrade100

I love gangster movies. From The Godfather to Goodfellas, to Scarface(1983) to Carlito’s Way, The Untouchables, Pulp Fiction, Casino…the list goes on. I have not seen them all, but might like to. However, Robert Warshaw never saw ANY of these movies. Likewise, I’m not really sure how many movies that involved gangsters that both he and I saw…in fact between him and myself we’ve only seen probably a handful of the same films.

Either way, the gangster I’ve grown to look up to may be similar to his idea from reading his article “The Gangster as a Tragic Hero.” A gangster must always be aware of his surroundings. Why? Because with every gangster lies an inescapable truth. His success means the failure of others around, including and especially his friends. Betrayal is also a major motif of gangster pictures. As Don Corleone said in The Godfather Part II “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

However I do disagree with other points. I see the gangster in the movies as I watch as a man who will do anything to get what he wants, a man totally inclined by Machiavellian ideals. I also feel that the gangster represents what we all secretly (or not) want to be like. I think Warshow would agree with me on this.

There are so many good gangster films that when a new one comes out, it has so live up to past ones. In recent years, The Departed and The Town were great gangster films. Although they do veer away from the usual formula, the characters in these stories, particularly DiCaprio’s portrayal of William Costigan was a man ‘pretending to be a gangster.’ He hated it so much he couldn’t stand his job and even became physically sick often in the story. I think it added a whole new dimension to the genre and partly this lead to its commercial and critical success.

Prospectively, the gangster remains Hollywood’s perhaps most beloved and quintessential tragic hero…

Hey my name’s Matt

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29th, 2011 by mdeandrade100

Dear reader, welcome to my blog. We may only have 1 thing in common: OUR LOVE FOR MOVIES. Haha, just kidding. I have loved movies as far back as I can remember. I have a vague memory of the Christmas morning when my parents had bought me the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS. And the repeated viewings that followed…Mom and Dad got used to me hogging the television. Thankfully they did and I never stopped watching. 

 

I grew to love all kinds of movies, regardless of genre. It’s rare for kids to sit down for “talkies” and watch dramas. I made that transition pretty seamlessly.

I know I had listened to the opinion of those who were critiquing films carefully, or rather just paying attention to the jibber-jabber about so called “adult movies.” (Please… not the dirty kind). I remember being told “Oh, you wouldn’t like that movie Matthew. It’s for Grown-Ups.” OH how I hated the word grown-up…But not as much as I hated that, being told how I would personally react to something that they really couldn’t have any idea about up until exposure of such material. It angered me. So I took their ‘dare’ or word of caution.

 

So at the age for somewhere between 5-8, I watched “Forrest Gump.” I was astonished by it. Thus my thirst had just begun for even more of these grown up films. I remember loving the movie so much that I kept watching it over and over. Other films that opened my eyes and ears into the true art of film making came when I saw “The Sixth Sense,” “Cast Away,” and “Mystic River”. I was especially moved by one of my favorite scenes in River. Sean Penn is brilliant in this scene; after learning of the finding of dead daughter’s body, his character is brought into a mad frenzy (scene attached) From then on I was sealed into it. I began to watch every Oscar nominated film I could find. Eventually I looked into classics, indies, cult hits, and the rest is history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BhoAlF0xpg

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