Mulholland Drive, David Lynch

The film, Mulholland Drive, by David Lynch is a fairly complicated film to process. There are a lot of dead ends and it is difficult to place all the pieces together. When this movie ended, I came up with a theory that may place some of the scenes together and clear the unknown. First, I believe that the story and the plot begins maybe half way or the end of the film. I think that this begins as Camilla, also Rita, is in a relationship with Diane but the relationship slowly regresses and Camilla begins to romantically see the director Adam. This angered Diane and put her in a very bad place. She felt like she wanted revenge and called up an assassin to do the job. The scene where we see this same man kill in the office, shows what his work is and how poorly he does his job. This man fails to kill Camilla and she sneaks out and finds her way into Betty’s life. As they are both figuring out now Rita’s story, they re-live some of the events and because Betty and Diane look so similar, Camilla is subconsciously drawn to her and vice versa. However, there are a lot of plot holes during this movie that I cannot figure out. For example, the role the old couple played and why they were involved. Also, who the man was at Winkie’s and what this dream meant. I think that this film was meant to be confusing and frustrating for the viewer because in many movies, we always understand how movie will play out. The ending is something the audience explicitly agrees or disagrees on and there is not much conversation about it. This film, however, shows that films do not have to be straight forward. They can be confusing and uneasy unlike most Hollywood films. This film was very unique and something that I have never seen. 

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry

The movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, shows both romantic and sci-fi tropes throughout the movie. To defer from these two tropes, the romantic elements are somewhat downplayed or hidden. From the very beginning, at 3:55 we see the introduction of these characters. There is no initial spark, but we see how the characters react to one another and how they are noticing each other, being the only two people in the diner. From this moment to about 10:30, we see how the two main characters, Joel and Clementine, meet again coincidentally at the train station as they are both going to the same location, Rockville Centre. Joel is portrayed as this shy man who opens up to this stranger he just met, as most rom-com films are. He is portrayed as a man who is undeserving of love with not a lot of self-esteem and this woman comes along who is more open and outgoing to break his shell and balance each other out. Furthermore, as he leaves Clementine’s apartment, he immediately calls her back when he gets to her house. As they are speaking, they have this conversation where they are flirting with each other and later go to the frozen lake to bond. This moment represents a pivotal moment in their relationship even though it was just the beginning. It represented this safe haven for them and it allowed this to relax and be in the moment, even if they are on a frozen lake. Moreover, the formula is quite exact to the formula to most rom-com movies. The man gets the girl, they break-up, literally forget each other, but they meet again, he gets her back and they continue the relationship, starting from step one but as better people. This event is portrayed at the very end starting at 1:47 where Clementine storms off because she is too overwhelmed from listening to the tape that Joel was speaking in. Joel later stops her at the hallway encouraging her that this time the relationship would be different and work out in the end. She agrees and we later see them both playing in the snow, chasing each other, portraying that their relationship is doing well and they are both really happy. This film clearly demonstrates sci-fi elements but the romantic scenes woven in creates a better understanding of the characters and why they want to erase each other from their memory. It shows just how difficult heartache can be and that one would do anything to forget about the good and bad times they had with their partner that is too painful to relive.              

The Godfather

The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola shows the evolution of Michael, the son of Don Vito Corleone. Throughout this film, we see how a crime family operates their business and the complications that comes with it. A really interesting part of this movie is how Michael evolved from being a war vet that had no intention of being in the family business to ultimately becoming the new Don, and taking over his father’s job. An important aspect that demonstrates this evolution is the development of Michael’s costumes. In the beginning of the film, starting at 19 minutes, when Michael’s sister is getting married, we see Michael in his soldier uniform sitting at the back of the party where he could not really be seen. As he talks to his new girlfriend, we can sense some sort of embarrassment or shame from where his family comes from and what they do. He is portrayed as not wanting to be involved with this family in any way. Further along the film, at minute 54, we see Michael wearing a suit as he finds out his father was shot. This suit is loosely fitted, doesn’t seem as formal, and he has little to no accessories on. This demonstrates how Michael is slowing becoming more interested and more involved in the family’s agenda. This point of the film shows how much Michael was affected by his father being shot. He begins to talk more to his father’s advisers and his brothers that more involved in what his father does. Furthermore, at 1:22 and on, as Michael is going to the restaurant to shoot the police officer that was involved in the drug business, he clearly resembles a very important figure. He has his formal suit, with more accessories, such as a hat, cigarettes, etc. This portrays that within this moment, the audience knows how important Michaels role will be in the family. He clearly resembles his father and acknowledges the importance of taking on these actions. Also, as the costumes evolve, we see Michael’s personality change. In the beginning he is excited to see his family and welcome his girlfriend, however, as the movie progresses, we see him become more cold and calculated. The mixture of costumes and personality change, clearly shows the audience the evolution of Michael as a character. 

Theme of Childhood in The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows, directed by François Truffaut tells the story of a young boy, Antoine Doinel, and how his relationship with his parents and teachers lead him to commit misdemeanors, forcing Antoine to go to a juvenile school for the misbehaved. This film was very interesting because it was different from the films that we have seen and discussed in class. This movie shows the perspective of a young boy that needs direction and guidance in his life. He cannot confide in the adults in his life, making him act out and run away. The film shows how Antoine’s youth was taken away from him at a very young age. Throughout the movie, Antoine says how he doesn’t want to go to school. He rather go out into the world and work to provide for himself. From 1:18:50-1:20:14, we see Antoine’s childhood getting taken away from him. In this scene he is being moved from his jail cell to the school to determine his punishment. As Antoine enters the police car, filled with adults, to an unknown location, we see the fear and sadness in his eyes. There is a point of view shot of Antoine and how he is seeing all the places that he made the best memories and had the most fun with his family and friends. These moments, and the hope that it will one day return is now being taken away from him in an instant. Towards the end of the scene, we see Antoine crying coming to terms of the situation that he is in. He is realizing that he can no longer be the kid he was and desired to be. This movie of the French new wave makes one feel compassionate towards Antoine and feel bad for the circumstances that he was put in. Because we do see from the point of view from a young boy, it makes the audience feel even more sympathetic towards the main character. Rather, if it was an adult going through the same thing the audience wouldn’t feel as bad for the character. 

Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a thriller that illustrates the story of Norman Bates. As a young woman, Marion, goes missing at his motel, there is a search for her to determine where she went or what happened to her. As the movie goes on, we unwrap who Norman Bates is and the truth about him and Marion. An element that adds to the movie is sound and music. The element of music adds suspense and allows the audience to feel certain emotions that they otherwise wouldn’t if sound was not a main factor throughout the movie. In minute 26-26:30, when Marion is driving her car in the pouring rain, the music begins to play in a fast paced tone. This creates suspense to the scene and it keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. It makes one believe that with this music something bad is going to happen, like Marion is going to crash her car or run something over. The music makes this scene more exciting than it really is. Furthermore, the lack of sound and music in other scenes, also, creates the same tension and suspense. From minute 48:34-49:45, right after the “shower scene,” the audience only hears the shower running, while the camera zooms out of Marion’s face. The lack of music and sound creates a stillness in the scene that leaves the audience confused and with so many questions. The sound of the shower depicts that Marion is dead and it makes the people watching at home feel powerless. This creates the illusion that the audience is with Marion in this scene and the only sound within this world is the shower running. It gives this already suspenseful scene some edge and sharpness that pulls everything together. Comparing Psycho to Rear Window, I find that Psychois more suspenseful. I think that along with the score, the decision to make this film in black and white adds more character and mystery to the plot. The lack of colors gives off a dark and ominous tone to the movie that Rear Window didn’t really have. 

Rear Window

Rear Window, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a movie that depicts how the act of voyeurism can be harmful. In the movie, Jefferies has a broken leg and to spend his day, he looks out the window to see what his neighbors are doing. As time progresses, he senses that one of his neighbors killed his wife and plans on leaving. Throughout the movie, the important people in his life, like Lisa, also becomes interested in this mystery with Mr. Thorwald. The scene starting at 1:26 is important because it shows how involved Jefferies really is. This scene is where the neighborhood learns that someone killed the “women on the fire escape’s” dog. This scene was interesting because Jefferies compares the pictures he took of the backyard where the dog stayed before and after it was killed. Here, we see the difference of light and we are looking though the camera lens as well. This shows that the audience is also involved in the mystery of Mr. Thorwald and the dog and we are trying to solve it with Jefferies, Stella, and Lisa. We know just as much as these characters do and want to solve it as badly as they do. It allows the audience to be a part of the movie and have a role as an investigator as well. Furthermore, the difference in light between the two pictures creates a sense of concern and distress for the audience. Looking at the darker picture tells the audience that something has to be wrong. It shows how much tension is in this scene and whether or not Jefferies, Lisa, and Stella found something. The lighter photo, before the dog was killed, depicts a sense of innocence in that area. It was a beautiful garden that had colorful flowers that would soon tainted. It no longer is an area to hangout, rather it is a clue in the mystery. 

Casablanca

Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, takes place in Casablanca, Morocco during World War II. During the movie, we are seeing through Rick’s point of view. This is very important because it shows the viewer why Rick was so cold and unattached to not only his customers, but also Elsa. The scene starting at 38:00, is the flashback Rick had as he was drinking, thinking about Elsa. During this scene, we see how both Rick and Elsa are very much in love, however, as Rick is told to leave and waits for Elsa at the train station with Sam, she doesn’t show up. This scene reveals the vulnerable and exposed side of Rick, that we had not seen before. Because of this flashback, it makes the viewer have a negative impression of Elsa and it makes us feel sympathetic for Rick. It portrays how she broke Rick’s heart with no explanation. This is important because as we develop these feelings about the different characters, we understand how Rick felt as Elsa walked into the café with another man. Furthermore, it helps the viewer understand why his outlook on life was so negative. It shows how this event that happened in Paris changed Rick. Rick’s point of view allows us to understand his story and why he acts the way he does.   

If the film was told from a different point of view, like Elsa’s, we would better understand why she didn’t meet Rick at the train station. Later on in the movie, we find out that the reason Elsa didn’t go with Rick was because she was told that her husband wasn’t actually dead at a concentration camp. This would have put into perspective the different struggles that Elsa was going through at the time and how it wasn’t possible for her to start this new life with Rick. The viewer would better understand how Elsa made the decision she made and why she was so emotional to see Rick and Sam for the first time in a long time. Through a different point of view, the viewer would get a better understanding of the different characters and their stories.