Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Posted in Blog on December 15th, 2011 by Jeen Kim

Thank God I finally saw this movie- Now I can understand all the references to it in other movies and television and such. Anyway, I felt that this movie was a perfect finish to an amazing semester. In this last film we could see the substantial changes in film from the previous films we watched, not only in color, but in sexual and violent content. By watching these films in chronological order I really got a sense of progression of time from the 30’s to the 60’s.

The thing that stuck out to me the most was the amount of violence. The last scene in particular, where Bonnie and Clyde get killed, had a surprising amount of it. This reminded me of another scene in The Godfather (1972) because of the unnecessary amount of bullets; both acts are meant to slaughter indiscriminately, far exceeding the usual “double-tap”.

Spoiler Alert

This was only five years after Bonnie and Clyde so I think it’s safe to say this was a major source of inspiration.

Well, this is my last post and it’s been a pleasure. Thank you class for your comments and thank you Professor Herzog!

Psycho (1960)

Posted in Blog on November 7th, 2011 by Jeen Kim

Wow. This movie was awesome. I really didn’t expect the ending to be like that. It reminded me of Identity (2003), another movie I enjoyed. You could think of Identity as a sort of spin off of Hitchcock’s Psycho and I think the original Psycho had an influence on the more modern Identity.

Anyways, I found it interesting that Bates mentioned cats and dogs in his conversation about birds because cats and dogs scratch or bite, while birds are relatively harmless. Birds cannot inflict harm to him the way cats and dogs can, and we can see the extent of his power obsession.

Even in his own “sanctuary”, with his peephole where he feels empowered, where he can be himself, there are still more powerful entities.

This is what I’m talking about. The low angle shows Bates where he has power, in his own domain, and yet still there is a higher power. It goes from us, to Bates, to the owl. The nocturnal creature watches Bates at all times. Ironically, the animal that is passive, that Bates controls, turns into an object of reverence and fear in the end. Moreover, the owl is the most brightly lit thing in the frame. Even where Bate should have power, he still does not.

He seeks power in his own way and he still fails, maybe unintentionally. His unavoidable lack of control is unbearable so he decides to be a completely different person, the ideal figure with power in Bates’ life- his mother. He cannot change the external, so inside manifests the power figure. Only then can he enjoy playing the opposite role.

That’s just how I see Bates’ mind. This character was very interesting and the actor (Anthony Perkins) is absolutely superb. That is all.

Early Summer (1951)

Posted in Blog on October 21st, 2011 by Jeen Kim

I noticed that this movie was about… about pretty much nothing. It felt like a look into a normal family and their life. But of course, as we have read, during this time Japanese filmmakers had been limited substantially.

Watching this movie was quite a different experience; it felt somewhat uniform throughout. Yasujiro Ozu’s style was very obvious and “in-your-face” during the entire film. By this I mean his constantly repeated elements. He plays with depth of field so much you would think that was the only way he knew how to frame the shot. Also, a way he does this is with unimportant, unfocused objects in the foreground to the side(s) of the frame with the focus on a more distant entity. Moreover, he uses the same exact shots repeatedly, in separate scenes and occasions throughout the film where the only changing variable is the character(s). This is an example of what I’m talking about:

I’ve been here so much I know where everything is and I feel like I live here. All jokes aside, I actually enjoyed that because it familiarizes the viewer. The audience would say, “Oh, I’ve been here before” and they would know exactly where they are.

I definitely got the feeling that Ozu put a large emphasis on his actors. In addition to his depth of field, Ozu’s camera was virtually stationary throughout the whole film. The camera would only move a couple of times in the two hour span. I think Ozu wanted the viewer to focus more in the frame, rather than having eyes wander. Because of a stationary frame, the viewer, or I, rather, would pay attention more on what was going on, or on the movement. The characters are almost always the focus of the frame and the viewer has no choice but to focus on the dialogue and the body language.

Not only this, but Ozu constantly uses medium-close ups of his characters all of the same nature:

The film is littered with these MC shots of characters all with about the same distance and composition.

Something I liked about this film was that it was eclectic in a sense. I mean that at different times, it would be funny, giddy, serious, depressing, or hostile. All these feelings incorporated into one film was intriguing to me, and I wouldn’t even realize the story was building to these things; it just suddenly happened.

The Public Enemy (1931)

Posted in Blog on September 4th, 2011 by Jeen Kim

I’d like to start off by saying this genre of crime/the gangster is probably one of my favorites. I don’t know, there’s just something about they way these people live, behave, speak and dress that’s captivating to me.

When I first heard the title, I initially thought that “Public Enemies” (2009) was a remake of this.

But after Friday I’m 99.999999% sure it isn’t. It’s not, right?

Well anyways, it was extremely interesting to see where the modern gangster/crime films have come from and the small differences that make them so different. For example, in “The Public Enemy” the main character, Tom Powers (James Cagney), wasn’t really the top dog or the boss- he had people over him. He seemed like a small fry in the criminal community. In today’s gangster movies the main character usually climbs to be the guy on top, like in “Scarface”. That was just a small disappointment.

Another small difference was that the most firepower Tom Powers ever had were pistols. In today’s movies the characters wield huge machine guns, and everybody loves big guns, right?

Also, the editing was sometimes rough and sloppy- it’s hard to miss. I remember in one scene where Tom ends a conversation with his mother and she walks away, it appeared as if she teleported. Maybe it was the best they could do, with the technology and raw footage and whatnot.

Aside from these petty things, the thing I noticed the most was that this movie was deep; it had a point.

It had references to many controversial issues at the time, like homosexuality, women, and the war. I loved how you could sort of get the gist of the culture just from this film. In today’s movies you just don’t see the same things.

This is the greatest difference I was talking about earlier. For me, ending the movie with this was the point of the movie. All great films/television have points to them, they’re not just random stories that people want to see. They try to comment on or teach something relative to the time. Maybe that’s why Tom Powers did not have gatling guns, or was not the boss; so the audience could relate more to an “average” man in the mob.

Although the message of this film is not crystal clear, I believe it means that the public’s community is their responsibility. The state of it and the crime that it experiences is a problem for us to solve, so an endless cycle of death does not ensue.

Well, that’s just my two cents, thanks for reading! =)

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