week ten

December 13, 2010

The 2007 film Michael Clayton applys itself to three of Robin Wood’s twelve components of ideological elements. The sixth element, which is about success and wealth, as one of the film’s main elements is the idea of Michael having to work to protect a billion dollar pharmaceutical company. The seventh element, the Rosebud syndrome, which is the idea that money isn’t everything,and also that money corrupts. This element plays in wth the businessman Michael has to help, a disillusioned man who had essentially a nervous breakdown and now wants to turn the tables on his company. Finally, the ninth element, which is the concept of the ideal male figure. This is Michael, who is the guy everyone turns to when they need a problem “fixed”, so to speak. As the film progresses, Michael slowly drifts into the Rosebud syndrome, as his experiences with his disillusioned client, his bosses, and business people in general help Michael become disillusioned himself, and by the end of the film he no longer wants his job and turns in the people who hired him to the authorities. While I can’t think of any other elements that Michael Clayton includes itself in, the fact that this film only hits three of Wood’s twelve markers for ideology in film shows that Wood’s theory may not be such a perfect idea, as not all films necessarily contain even half of Wood’s rules.


week five

December 13, 2010

The British director Edgar Wright and his films are great examples of auteur theory as described by Andrew Sarris. He has a distinctive energetic and fast paced style in the way he directs, and his films always have a solid combination of action and comedy. As an example, we can compare his 2004 film Shaun Of The Dead, a movie about zombies attacking Great Britain, with his 2007 film Hot Fuzz, a movie about British cops. While both films have very different subject matter and storylines, both films are prime examples of Edgar Wright being an auteur under Sarris’s theory. They both acknowledge the idea of casting a director for certain types of films, which is the first premise of auteur theory, although in Wright’s case he happened to have a hand in writing both films, so he was obviously the ideal director for both of them. Both films also fall under the second premise, that a director must have a signature style. Wright’s films have a very fast paced and energetic appearance to them, as there is rarely a dull moment in either Shaun Of The Dead or Hot Fuzz. Both films have Wright’s signature style of directing, which means that anything can happen at any given moment in one of his films, and when it does, it will carry a frenetic pace and close-up view of it happening. Both films also acknowledge the third premise, which states that any auteur must have an interior meaning in their film. Wright’s films usually dont contain any social message or special meaning. They are often simply just about reckless fun, but both Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz have a hidden message. Shaun OF The Dead is about maturity, and Hot Fuz is about being able to act a little irresponsibly sometimes and not taking things so seriously. But in order to find these meanings, you have to follow the films to the very end. Since both films apply to the three premises of auteur theory according to Andrew Sarris, Edgar wright can be considered an auteur in his own right.


week of 9/13

December 13, 2010

Rudolf Arnheim’s articles “The Complete Film” and “Film And Reality” both have a focus on the connection between what we see in film and what we perceive as reality. Arnheim goes into great detail on his views on the realtionship of film and reality. In both articles, he describes his appreciation of silent films, particularly those of Charlie Chaplin. He also describes the various ways and means of making a film, or at least the ways films were made in the 1920’s when his works were published.

Arnheim has a very elaborate and descriptive way of writing. He goes into almost excessive detail in every sentence he writes, regardless of the subject it’s about. He also tends to use an elaborate vocabulary when writing. It can be hard to follow his logic at times given the method of writing he chooses to use. Those who don’t have an extensive vocabulary or are unaware of the things Arnheim mentions in his writings can find it very hard to understand what he is saying or what his opinion is exactly. However, those who can understand it will see that Arnheim is an intelligent man who is capable of providing a great deal of knowledge and information when expressing his opinion on certain matters, such as the connection between film and reality in this case.


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