December, 2011Archive

Dec 16

Bonnie and Clyde was one of my favorite films we viewed all semester and a true American classic. It was the story of couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and their crime spree across the south. Their main purpose was to gain notoriety throughout the entire country through the media. They also had the help of a young mechanic named C.W Moss to be their getaway driver. After their first killing within a bank robbery Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche joined the Barrow crew to help the cause of notoriety. I’m not sure what it is that Bonnie wanted so bad out of living a life of crime but she sure as hell got it. They were the most famous people in the United States for being the worst people in the entire south.

For the time this film was very action packed and was filled with a lot of violence, blood and gore. This film was definitely designed to keep the viewer on their toes and it certainly kept me on my toes. I felt that Arthur Penn did a fantastic job at making the audience kind of side with “the bad guys,” with that of Bonnie and Clyde. I was definitely rooting for them in their many run in’s with the “laws.” Even though our country has tried to teach us that the police are the people we need to root for, Penn did an exceptional job making sure the audience rooted for Bonnie, Clyde and the Barrow Gang.

Another main point I felt this movie emphasized was the fact that Bonnie always seemed to be in charge. She always looked like she had control over Clyde, who had control over the rest of the group, which in turn made her the boss. I kind of feel like Bonnie Parker was one of the most subtle “Femme Fatales” of all time. She didn’t seem like she was always in charge but she was and she knew how to get the job done, and as for most Femme Fatales she ended fatally along with her partner in crime Clyde.

 

Dec 16

I found Jean Luc-Godard’s A Bout de Soufflé (Breathless) to be quite interesting to say the least. I felt the beginning of the film when Michel was in the car talking to himself the movie felt like a documentary and not a traditional film. I didn’t really understand why he was so paranoid when the cops pulled him over and why he made the rash decision to shoot and kill the police officer. This movie confused me for the majority but still found a way to reel me in and interest me.

This movie confused me time in and time out starting from when he went to see the first girl I her small apartment asking for money. First off why would you ask someone that seems like they have trouble making money themselves for financial help, and I was confused as to who this woman was to Michel. Godard never made it clear that she was an ex-girlfriend, a cousin, sister, etc. That was very unclear to me. I also was confused when Michel first encountered Patricia, I didn’t know he knew her until he repeatedly asked her to sleep with him “again.”

I felt it was very bland that two thirds of the film was shot in bed or showing Michel smoking a lot of cigarettes. The entire plot of the movie was Michel trying to avoid the cops and get to Rome where he would be free and throughout the movie he never was really nervous he was being chased. I just felt that there was a lot of drama lacking in this film and it didn’t really make sense to me but for some reason it was still entertaining.

Dec 15

In my opinion Psycho was the best film we watched all semester. Before I came to this class this was one of the only Hitchcock classics I had not seen and I can’t believe I missed one of the best ones! I loved the way Anthony Perkins took on the role of Norman Bates. He was a quiet character that seemed like a nice guy when you first see him and then he shows the other, “psycho” side of him when he feels the need to murder. He reminded me a lot of modern day actor Andrew Garfield from The Social Network, in which he was very tall, goofy and kind of nerdy. It was kind of weird how similar they look and sound at times during the movie and if they were to make a modern day remake and I was directing it he would be the first person I ask.

This film has all the makings of a good modern day horror film and even though there wasn’t a lot of killing and blood it still kind of creeped me out. I think I wasn’t as scared as I could have been because in a way I liked Norman Bates. I was never truly scared of him because he doesn’t come off as a scary guy. He seems like a nice, nerdy, dorky kind of awkward guy that doesn’t want to harm anyone. Meanwhile he is a cold- blooded psychopath that says his mother kills the people and not him. The weirdest thing about that is that his mother has been dead for the last 10 years in the film and he had kept her body preserved in the house so it seemed like she was still alive and in a way she sort of lived through him.

I felt when Norman ran into the fruit cellar near the end of the film it truly got to be a “Horror” film. I never really labeled it as a horror until then when Norman was in the dress and the wig trying to be his late mother. This was the first time in the entire movie where I got the chills and that usually happens at least 4 or 5 times in modern day horrors. I got the chills at that scene and the very last scene when Norman was in solitary confinement by himself and the scene switched to the car being pulled out of the swamp. The movie got creepy in the last 15 minutes and that’s why I feel it was a great movie because Hitchcock did not overdo the gore and killings.

 

 

 

Dec 09

 

The scene I chose to analyze for the formal analysis of the “Male-Gaze” is the well-known shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock was very well known for amplifying the “Male-Gaze” in many other movies in classics such as Rear Window, and Vertigo both starring the legendary James Stewart. However in both those films one could argue the “Male Gaze” was used for good, and in Psycho it was used for evil and violence. In the shower scene Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) was not watching Marion Crane in the shower because he was infatuated with her and because he wanted to help her, he was watching her because he wanted to brutally murder her.

About forty eight minutes into the film Marion Crane was being stared at by Norman Bates through a peephole in his office wall. She is undressing getting ready to go into the shower as Norman continues to watch her for almost a full minute and a half, maybe even longer until he makes his move and “goes in for the kill.” He continues to watch as she makes her way into the shower and keeps his stalking going even when she is showering. Even though Hitchcock could not focus on the nudity of Marion Crane due to the time period he did make sure that the audience knew it was a man looking at her and not a woman. One may be able to argue that the sheer fact Miss Crane was in the shower could have meant that Norman Bates may have had some kind of sexual attraction to her even though his main intention was to kill her. Therefore, I feel the “Male-Gaze” was correctly and definitely depicted by Hitchcock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO4ZMPCOyKk

I feel that sound and music were the most important techniques used throughout the scene. In the beginning of the scene there is a soft violin medley being played as Marion Crane sits in her bedroom chair. As she reaches the bathroom and flushes the toilet the music fades and the sound changes from non-diegetic to diegetic in a matter of seconds. All the audience can hear is the toilet flushing, the door and shower curtain closing, and then the running water of the shower. All of this is of course being seen from the point of view of the “Male-Gaze”, aka. Norman Bates.

In my opinion the most important part of the scene is when Norman Bates rips open the shower curtain and the sound immediately changes back to non-diegetic. The music being played is infamous and the tone of the room completely changes. The sound is dark and ominous which is perfect for the scene and Hitchcock did an exceptional job getting the audience to jump right when that curtain opened. Due to the change in modern horror films I thought someone of my generation would not appreciate this as much as people of that time period. That’s a completely false statement because even though it is one of the first “Male-Gaze” oriented stab films, the cinematography was exceptionally crafted and it definitely gave me the same effect as a more modern film such as Halloween or Scream. 

 In conclusion, I feel that the “Male-Gaze” was most definitely shown in this scene and I feel Alfred Hitchcock did an exceptional job emphasizing the presence of it. Also, it is clear that the shift between diegetic and non-diegetic sound clearly heightened the scenes credibility. In my opinion this scene can be viewed as one of the most famous male-gaze’s of all time.

 

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