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13 May 2003
This documentary provides incite of how working class individual has been reluctant to receive gratitude for their contributions to society. Throughout history, low class jobs have been looked down upon as being important in our society as we seen in this documentary about coal miners. The Harlan County film looks at the 1970's when coal miners strike because of poor working conditions and low pay. There has been a history of this which has plagued the county for years. The coal miners want a better contract and they are looking to the union to help them. This goes on for months with no results except for violence brought about by the `scabs,' or the individuals working the jobs of the strikers. Before everything was said and done, lives were lost and the coal miners were pretty much back where they started. The film represents how unions are looked done upon by businesses because it would cost them more money by giving employees benefits and pay increases. Although we see this is not always the case, especially in big cities where some jobs a valued more then others as we see with the case of the coal miners. Society puts a price on jobs and those of higher price receive what they want and the low price jobs are shoved aside. We see this with the conversation between the police officer and the coal miner. The police officer makes more money and gets better benefits for working a job of less stress and hard work. Education does play a good size role in this situation because the coal miners were lucky to finish high school. Also, back in this time most children followed in their parent's foot steps when it came to work, so it was kind of like a trap for these coal miners because they knew that if they didn't strike and improve the work conditions, it would be the same way when their children entered the workforce and they would never have money to send their kids to higher schooling. This goes to show how society keeps a hold on low class individuals by not giving them power so they can't bring themselves out of the hole.
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Stone Reader (2002)
12 May 2003
The Stone Reader is a documentary film based on a man's quest to find a book writer which whom he is absolutely amazed by. This book writer, Dow, wrote a single book, `The Stones of Summer,' and then disappeared and never wrote again. This man is search of Dow is confused why Dow would write this book which received excellent reviews would just stop writing after only producing one book. This documentary is different from most documentaries a person would normally watch. Most documentaries teach an audience about a certain event or person. This film elaborates on a person, but it's really not about the person per say. The film focuses on the quest or dream of a man to find this amazing writer and the process of which he does it, but most of the time the audience is actually learning about the writer and how he was unknown to the world even though he accomplished something great. What I mean by this is that the camera is following the man on the quest, but the whole time everyone, including himself, is talking about Dow. The thing that is interesting about this film is the way that everything filtered together. Being a documentary, the producer can't predict how the thing is going to end or how other things will come together. During this time of searching for Dow, this man travels everywhere talking to people who reviewed the book, people that went to college with Dow, and even individuals that helped put the book into production, but none of these people knew who Dow was and many of them never read or even heard of his book. So this man was running into a bunch of dead ends. Finally, he gets a hold of Dow's writing professor just to talk, not even mentioning Dow's name. So the two are talking about his students, this is all taking place in Iowa I might add and that Dow was a student here at the university, but the professor describes on of his students who he sent to get psychiatric help and it happened to be Dow who was still living in Iowa. If only the man would have started his search from where Dow started, his quest could have been accomplished with less hassle, but then the documentary would have been a lot shorter and less interesting.
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12 May 2003
This film is not your ordinary love story. Lovers of the Artic Circle is very similar to a classic love film in the fact that a man and a woman fall in love with each other from around the age of eight and continue to love one another throughout their lives. The difference of this film is that the man and woman are stepbrother and sister. With that being true, the audience may be declined to think that this is incest for the fact that the couple had feelings for each other before their parents even got together. The film also helps denounce the fact of incest by narrating the film through the eyes of the two lovers, Otto and Ana and not some other narrator. In films there is always something that creates a turning point that helps establish the plot. In this particular film, it's a big red bus and knowledge of running out of gas. The film starts off with Otto looking in the past where he and his parents are on the side of the road with no gas and father just got picked up to get some more. All of a sudden the film is back to the present and Otto's father slams on the brakes and almost hits a big red bus. After this incident, we learn that Otto's mother and father are divorcing which is a major turning point in the film. We see this again when Otto and Ana are riding home together like normal with Ana's mother and she runs into a red bus. Otto is then resorted to walking home and barely gets to see Ana except for on the weekends and the time frame shifts to the two being older. The bus incident happens one more time at the end of the film when Otto is trying to get to Ana when Otto and another character almost hit the red bus, but this time the red bus hits Ana in the process. The bus is a significant symbol because it brought Otto and Ana together when Otto's mother and father separated, but it also broke them apart when it killed Ana.
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Cops (1922)
12 May 2003
This film that we watched was very comical in my mind. The film was based on one individual who was trying to win the heart of a woman. Before he could do this he had to go out and become a respectable businessman, but throughout the film he just keeps getting himself into trouble and never wins the woman's heart. Throughout this film, the camera techniques that they used were not that of anything spectacular. They didn't use that many differently angles in the film. Most of the shots were focused on the main character where the camera was either a few feet away and just showed the character and what was going on directly around him in the background and the rest of the shots were filmed from far away catching the view of the character and what was happening far in the distance. The lighting was well lit and stayed the same throughout the film. There was no use of filters in the film for it was completely black and white. I think the use of these shots a very important to the film because it gives the viewer the full effect of what is actually taking place throughout the film. For instance, in one of the scenes the main character is caught in the middle of a ladder with cops hanging on both sides of it trying to get him down. With the camera being at a far distance and letting the viewers see this makes the film comical, whereas if the camera shot was close it wouldn't have the same effect. The sound in the film I believe was non-diegetic because the music in the film seemed to be coming from a source outside the world of the narrative. There was no sound coming from in the film itself. The music was also constant throughout the film and really didn't change tome or pitch that much. I thought that the sound flowed very smoothly with the scenes in the film.
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Old School (2003)
Top Notch
7 May 2003
Old School is the typical comedy film that has become popular in contemporary films today. The film describes the basic college frat life of getting drunk and performing radical things that older individuals would completely look down upon doing. The difference in this film though is that the individuals that are performing these stunts are the older individuals who are labeled as the working class. The film starts off with an individual who just found his girlfriend cheating on him after a long-term relationship together. He goes into this little mental break down of sorrow. After moving into a college neighborhood, his friends decide that the way to cheer him up is by turning his house into a fraternity. Most of the fraternity pledges are actual college students, but there are a number of them that aren't and even one of them, Blue is about 80 years old. Being a comedy film, there is the typical snob in the film who is out to destroy the fun others are having and in this case it is the dean of housing who just happened to know the individuals starting the frat and who they picked on back when they were in school. Basically the audience can tell from the beginning of the film that the dean will create problems for these partiers and stop at nothing to get their frat shut down. We see this when the dean actually blackmails the housing president so that she vote against allowing the fraternity. This also becomes apparent when the fraternity has to go through a performance evaluation before being allowed to sustain their fraternity and the dean is administering this. They all believed that they passed, but the dean failed them because one of failed all the tests, Blue. Blue was dead though so his score wasn't suppose to count, but it goes to show how the dean was being manipulative again.
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Soap Opera
7 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Contains spoiler! Monsoon Wedding is a typical soap opera film in the fact that there is family conflict throughout the film, but in the end everything is happy and fine. The film is based on an India family preparing for their only daughters wedding. This is an arranged marriage although the fiancé is currently still sleeping with her ex-boyfriend and is lost in what to about the whole situation. Throughout the whole film, the wife-to-be seems as if she doesn't even care for her fiancé, but all of a sudden falls in love with him after he forgives her for sleeping around. This establishes the soap opera in the film. A couple believing they are in love or in this case one individual, have a lovers quarrel where they feel like the relationship is over but later end up with each other madly in love. This also happens to other individuals in the film. With Dubey, the wedding conductor, and the hired help, but also with the idiot and one of the cousins. The only difference with these four individuals is that they are not actual couples, but the audience can tell that there are feelings between them.

The film also establishes the many differences between American and India societies. In the film, one of the uncles is made out to be a child molester. The audience doesn't find this out for fact until the end but the director makes insinuations about it throughout the film in which you can pick up on. For instance, there is serious tension between the uncle and one of the daughters and the film constantly shows the uncle talking to the youngest girl and the daughter getting upset about it. The film shows the difference between American and India ways at the end when the father finds out what happened to his niece that he was taking care of. In the film, the father doesn't really do anything except tell the uncle to leave and that he doesn't want to talk about it. If this situation arose with an American, the uncle would have most likely got the crap kicked out of him. I think this shows how different cultures act completely different in situations and this film establishes this well.
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7 May 2003
Wings of Desire, is a film that focuses on the aspect of angels and how they are among us watching and learning from us. The film focuses on two main angels who describe what they have learned and what it would be like to cross over as a human. They talk of this because angels are unable to experience any of the five senses except to see and this is only in black and white. One of the angels decides to take the fall and become a human so that he will be able experience what humans do also because he has discovered feelings for a woman. Throughout the film, the angels are able to hear the thoughts of humans. A majority of the thoughts are from grownups in which none of them are happy thoughts. They all describe how life is crappy and how they wish things would change or become better. The film distinguishes the fact of how children and angels are completely opposite than grownups. The main angel constantly repeats the saying `When a child was a child,' then goes off to explaining something. The angel explains how a child looks at the world in a completely different way from older individuals and how that they see things as good or not having feelings about it at all. The audience only hears the thoughts of children a couple of times and only one of those is remotely negative. Grouping the angels with the children is significant because of the fact that in the film the children seem as if they can see the angels where as the grownups can't. Also the angels are to looking at the world with a different perspective and they don't have feelings or are unable to concept some things like a child would be unable to do.
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Narrative Techniques
7 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler What this film indicates is that love can become a troubling thing even when it's in the best of intentions. In this film, a man named George Eastman comes to work for his highly appreciated and high status uncle in a factory made up of mostly women. Although George was told not to get involved with the women workers, he does and he gets her pregnant. With the time period of the film abortions are illegal, so she decides that they should get married, but George has fallen in love with another woman who is of higher status. Now George has to find a way to get rid of his ex-love and the only way he believes that he can do this is by killing her, but he ends up killing himself, although not literally, because of love. Throughout this film, there were many narrative techniques which enlightened the audience of what was going to happen next in the film. When George first starts working at the factory, he happens to glance over and see a charming young woman looking at him and he smiles. She turns away with that shyness look in which right away you know that the two are going to get together sometime in the film. The director is leading us into the film. This also happens later in the film when George is thinking of a way to get rid of his ex-love. He hears on the radio about how all these individuals are dying by drowning and he gets this weird look on his face. The director reinforces this later when George and his new lover are at a lake and she tells him a story of how a couple drowned there and the guy's body was never found. George again gets the same look on his face and this sparks the audience's eye that George will kill his ex-love by drowning her. It also helps with the plot that the ex-love doesn't know how to swim. These were three insights that the director gave the audience to help with discovering what was going to happen in the film.
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Bad Luck
7 May 2003
This film implicates the fact that good luck does not last forever and bad luck is always right around the corner. This film is about a man named Antonio who finally gets a job by hanging posters. In order to do this job, he has to use a bicycle to get around town in which he has one but has to buy it out of storage. On the first day of his job, somebody steals the bicycle and Antonio is unable to catch the thief because no one helps him. The next day Antonio and his son go looking for the bike only to run into many obstacles along the way. The two are able to find the thief of the bicycle, but are unable to do anything about it because there were no witnesses and no proof. Antonio is so depressed that he decides to steal someone's bicycle but gets caught in front of his own son. The narrative techniques are much different then what you would see in many other films. Throughout the film, there are many instances that make the audience believe that Antonio is going to get his bicycle back and the family is going to live happily ever after. This doesn't actually happen though. Antonio gets one chance after another but always falls short and it makes one believe that he has to get the bike back some how. The film shows all these bicycles running around and you just think to yourself that one of them is going to be his. The film kind of keeps you in suspense of how the film is actually going to turn out. One thing that I found interesting about how this film was done was when Antonio's bicycle was stolen and later when he almost caught the thief, no one helped him. When Antonio decided to steal a bicycle though about 10 people tried to stop him and succeeded. The film is telling the audience that just because one person gets away with something, doesn't mean that everybody will.
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Many angles
7 May 2003
This film that we watched was a somewhat comical love story in which a man and a woman both in desperate need for something. The woman was in need of getting to her husband and the man was in need of getting his job back. The two found each other and decided that they could use one another to seek their goals, but instead, they fell in love with each other. Throughout this film, there were many different camera angles taken which made the film more realistic. A majority of the film was shot through the view of a moving vehicle. The angles differed from time to time depending on what type of vehicle the main characters were in. When the characters were in a regular car, the camera was straight in front of them and would not move from side to side as if the camera was on the hood as they were moving down the road. Although, what was really happening was that the car wasn't moving. There was a screen behind the vehicle with film already on it making it look like the car was moving and then another camera was filming the whole thing. When the characters were on a bus, the only other vehicle they were in, had many different angles portraying the couple. There would be angles shot from the front of the bus which would shot in close and out far on the characters, where in the car scenes the shot would stay at a certain distance. The camera would also shot angles from the side of the bus as if looking through the window. There were a couple of instances when you could tell that the bus wasn't really moving when they were filming from the side of it because there would be some distance from the character, who was against the window, and the actual window or the side of the bus. The camera shot different angles on the characters even when they were not in a moving situation. Most of the camera angles stayed back far enough so that you could see both characters in it. It would single out the characters once and a while when they had something meaning say and the film wanted you to hear it. The camera would also single out characters when they were expressing emotion. The camera angle would get in nice and close to the characters face in those situations, especially when the woman was crying, this way you could actually see her tears and get the full effect.
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