Man Push Cart

The film Man Push Cart follow the struggles of Ahmad Razvi trying to make it in a cut throat world after moving to New York from Pakistan. After his wife dies he s unable to provide for his son so he sends hime to live with his in-laws. He does everything he can to make money so he can bring his son back, but until then he spends his life running his pushcart. Like the book he mentions in the film he keeps getting pushed  back down the hill he is trying to climb. Just after his final payment on his cart, when he can start earning money, he briefly leaves his cart to buy a recorder from another vendor and when he returns his cart has been stolen. This is a wake up call that people only care about themselves and he has to protect what he has and only trust himself.

One day a man, Mohammad, offers Razvi money to paint his apartment, thinking he looked familiar. When he was working he realized that his intuition was true and Razvi was a famous pop singer from Pakistan who had to move here to escape his family and provide a better life for his wife and son. Mohammad introduces him to Noemi, a woman he becomes attracted to, and her to him, but considering the circumstances he can’t pursue anything.

This film is so raw which makes it so powerful and meaningful. The director uses minimal direction so he can capture his life in the most realistic way. You experience the emotions as he is and the pain is so real. The honesty of the film makes it hard to watch at times because no one wants to watch someone suffer. The movies are usually a place to go for forget the bad going on in the world, but that seems kind of ignorant. We need to educate ourselves about his and realize that is always going to be this pain and struggle around us.

 

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Man on Wire

The Twin Towers existed for one purpose: to have Philippe Petit wire-walk between the two buildings 104 floors above the bustling New York streets. Petit, a daring Frenchman, saw an advertisement for the World Trade Center as it was being planned to build. He new right then and there that he had to achieve his goal. The only problem was that it was illegal, yet this did not stop him from what he was going to do. In the meantime waiting for the towers to be completed he practiced between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. He drew the attention of hundreds as he walked, danced and relaxed on the thin wire above Paris and Sydney. He was immediately arrested both of these times. He knew the risk he was taking both with the law and the fact all there was in the air with him was the wire and the balancing stick. There was no new to protect him or any help standing by. This shows the about of concentration, trust and belief in himself that he could complete the task.

No matter what way this documentary had been filmed it would be powerful considered the events of 9/11. There is one scene where Petit is shown at the top of the towers on the wore and you can see a plane in the corner of the screen flying past the iconic towers that causes the viewer to momentarily hold their breath and send chills throughout the body. The interviews and still photographs make everything in the film resonant more and makes the viewer feel like they are actually there. They recreate many scenes of him traveling through Paris streets on his unicycle and when they are setting up everything on in the World Trade Center when they have to hide as the security guards are on high alert. Along with these, the actual footage and the interviews add so much with all seriousness and much humor. The interviews make you admire his reckless behavior, his outlook on life and his lack of fear. He says, before making the walk between the towers, that if he died that day it would be a great day to die because he is doing what he loves the most. He lived by his motto “Art for art’s sake.”

This event made him famous to the world. Shortly after he was arrested the charges were all dropped he received a permanent pass for the towers and began juggling in Central Park.

Good Bye Lenin


One of the best scenes in the film is the scene that shows the helicopter removing the statue of Lenin. It is a moving scene that shows how the times are changing and things are starting anew. A lot of people can remember where they were when these events were taking place and the director does an amazing job not making any bias known.

The film Good Bye, Lenin is a satire about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the new relationship between East and West Germany. When Christiane sees Alex participating in a protest for repression of the East German government she suffers a serious heart attack and ends up in a coma for eight months. When she comes around her doctor advises Alex that she must not be subjected to any significant shocks lest she suffer another attack. However, during Christiane’s coma the Berlin Wall fell and the two German countries were united. Since Alex thinks this change would be too much for his mom to digest without prompting another heart attack, he tries to present the world to her as it was before her coma, figuring this would not be too hard since she will be bedridden. This sets up the circumstance for humorous situations as it becomes increasingly more difficult for Alex to maintain the charade, what with all of the West German products flooding in and the old products fading out. And, once Chrisiane starts watching TV, Alex has to fake news programs. A lot of this amounts to replaying old news clips, since the news never changed in the old regime, just reports on productivity quotas and the evils of capitalism. At such moments I was conflicted about whether to view such commentary on the GDR with humor or sadness. Director Becker probably identified with Alex, since it must have been a challenge for him to obtain the necessary props and settings to recreate the time period.

On one level you can view this movie as love stories: between Alex and his mom, and between Alex and Laura. In fact there are many levels to the story. The friendship that develops between Alex and Laura can be viewed as a symbol for the new relationships between the East and West. It is interesting that when Christiane wakes to find the two kissing showing the new unity between the East and West, when she has no idea of the events that have occurred while she was absent. It is also interesting that the young people were mostly upbeat about the changes in the society while the older generation was distraught about the events. This is probably because everything they have known up to this point in their lives is shattered and like every new generation is way more accepting of societal changes because they don’t have that attachment to the way things once were. The relationship between Alex and his mother is very strong. He goes out of his way to make sure that his mother doesn’t find out about the new world. He recreates the world as it was eight months prior taking into account every single detail. Even though it is inevitable that she will finds out the truth about everything, he tries for as long as he can to protect his mother. Good Bye, Lenin is a humorous and dramatic movies that any one could enjoy even If they don’t have he same level of experience as those living in Germany during the time.

 

Quiz Show

“Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.” Quiz Show is a film based off the true story of Charles Van Doren, a literature professor and writer, who along with the producer and network lied to the world. Week after week he was given the answers to all the questions on the popular television show Twenty-One. This film has everything to do with the morals people follow and how it led to the corruption of the men. When Herbert Stempel starts marking a fuss about how he was asked to take a dive for the show he grabbed the attention of Goodwin, a young lawyer, who became determined to expose the corruption. Goodwin, in his research, discovers that Herbie has also been given answers for the show, even though it didn’t occur that he had participated in the show the same way as Van Doren. None of the men involved in the show ever questioned the morality of the show and their choices until they were found out or lost it all.

 

The main theme in the film is dishonesty. Not only is Charlie dishonest to his family and the world, he was dishonest with himself. The media is dishonest with the public. The scandal proves to the public that they can’t believe everything they hear especially when it comes to media. They make you believe what will get them higher ratings and more money. It is ironic that this is a game show because instead of the contestants playing each other, they are playing the audience.

 

A second theme in the film is fame. The fame and fortune that comes along with being a consecutive winner on the show becomes addicting and when Herbert Stempel get that taken away he does what he can to bring Charles Van Doren, Dan and the rest of the show down. Fame is an addiction for the show and the contestants that they feature. Van Dorena and Stempel get so caught up in all of the money and the attention they are receiving, they actually believe their own lies. When Stempel is walking home after one of fhe airings, he is greeted by people coming up to him and leaning out their windows praising him. He tells his wife that he loves people knowing who he is.  Van Doren purposely waits in his car when going somewhere until a large crowd is in his path so they will give him attention.

 

There are many references to anti-Semitism in this film between Stempel and Van Doren and how they are treated and their views of one another. Stempel was referred to having a “radio face” due to his Jewish characteristics and was said to not bring in as many viewers and Van Doren, a Christian. The producer tells Van Doren that Stempel was too Jewish for the show.

Cinema Paradiso

The movies are a place for everyone to briefly forget any problems or make ones good day even better. In any movie one person can experience a wide variety of emotions and can always turn a bad day around. In the film Cinema Paradiso the movies are a place to go that promote community and love in Sicily after the devastation that was the Second World War. Many families lost everything they had: their loved ones, any financial security, work and happiness. The movies brought the people together in community and reminded them that there is still good in the world and connected them with the world outside of their town.

Although there was so much loss and hurt around the community, one of the main themes in the film is love/community. The people always congregate in the plaza. The plaza is a place to relax, converse, it is an artistic center, it brings the people together when everything good seemed so distant. One of the greatest examples of love is through the relationship of Toto and Alfredo. The film begins with Toto receiving the news of the death of his beloved friend and father figure and then flashes back to him as a young child. Alfredo is a projectionist in the Cinema Paradiso and the Toto is a clever, witty little rascal whose love for films brings them together. At the beginning of their story Alfredo seems to think that Toto is a little pest that won’t leave him to do his job, but soon realizes that he wouldn’t be able to do his job with out him. They quickly become friends and realize that they need each other to survive. Alfredo becomes Toto’s father figure, guiding him through life in the absence of his real father while Toto keeps Alfredo young at heart. Even though Alfredo says at one point: “Out of the fire of love come ashes. Even the greatest love eventually fizzles out.” The love between the two never dies. There are instances where they get mad at each other or (mostly Toto) cause problems for the other, they know that they need each other and will always be there for the other no matter what. They are all each other have and a bond like theirs is unbreakable. Toto’s greatest example of love for Alfredo is when he risks his own life and health to drag Alfredo from the crumbling theater when the film catches fire. Because Toto is a brilliant, clever boy he is able to take over the job.

Another theme is the relationship between state and church. The church controlled many aspects of the people’s lives, especially when it came to the censorship of movies. The priest would watch all of the films before they were released and cut out any scene that had to do with love and affection or anything that was not acceptable in the eyes of the church. This usually left the audience disappointed after the excitement of the build up to that point. One exclaimed that he had never seen two people in a movie kiss. The audience was being deprived of the portrayal of love in films. In this time all they needed was hope in a better today and tomorrow, a hope for that problem could be solved with love, that love existed in the world. Once the movies begin show the kiss and other sexual scenes the people became exponentially happier.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

“If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the Wrath of God!” Aguirre is portraying two of the main themes throughout this movie in this one quote. First, his greed and selfishness. Second, the altered morals of what they believe it means to be Catholic. We are all just human, nothing more and no one should ever compare themselves to the greatness of God. At the end of the film Aguirre is alone and is soon attacked by a pack of monkeys. He was vulnerable and didn’t have the power of number and brothers one needs to be in the wilderness. It is impossible to complete something by oneself.

Don Lope de Aguirre is part of a Spanish conquest to find the undiscovered land of El Dorado, a land of gold. And like many who are in search of unclaimed gold, he becomes consumed by his greed of riches and power causing him to destroy anything that gets in his way. Greed is the driving force in this film causing the men to harm each other to get a bigger piece of the riches. The newly appointed leader took part in gluttony as he stuffed his face with all of the food on the raft, leaving the others with nothing but crumbs. These poor men were at the point of starvation. The leader had no sympathy for the men and his primary concern was himself.

Another theme in this movie is the role of the catholic church and their constantly changing morals. Brother Gaspar de Carvajal represents the views of the church. One line spoken by the brother that sticks out is when he says, “These natives are hard to convert” after stabbing a native. The brother also exhibits greed when he speaks of replacing his silver cross with a gold one when they reach the city of El Dorado.

Playtime

We never know how the world is going to exist in the far future, let alone what is going to happen tomorrow. Everyday there is new technology and inventions that challenges our intellect and the way we function in society. And because it is unknown it can be scary to talk about. We constantly hear that we are destroying the world and what we do today will affect the world for many years whether good or bad. Playtime is a film that shows what the director and probably people of the time thought the future was going to appear. Paris was all high rise building made of only glass and steel, structured and stiff furniture, and everything was minimal. This futuristic Paris looked almost nothing like the Paris we know today. The story mainly followed two people in Paris, an American woman on a group tour of Paris and confused Frenchman trying to find his way in this modern Paris. Both of these characters were very lost trying to find their way. The lack of speech in the movie added the way they were lost in a new world.

This was pretty much a silent film in the way that no one really had any conversations. Most of the sound came from the futuristic machines and the bustling cars on the multi lane roads and their movements throughout Paris. Because these were the only sounds in the film, it emphasized how technology is taking over in the future. This has been a common theme in many of the films we have watched thus far in the course. The sounds made the main themes of film more powerful and left a strong impact on the audience of how we treat our world. One scene that makes the audience notice this is when the American woman is being directed back into the hotel when she catches a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the reflection of the glass door. Instead of seeing the actual structure, there is only the reflection representing that we are forgetting the history of where we come from. It is only a distant memory at this point.

The director of Playtime tried to make a colored film that appeared as black and white with many shades of grays, blacks and greens. It made this world look so uniform and uniform, uninteresting like the way the people lived in the world. They were stuck into such a routine way of life focused on work that they don’t enjoy the beauty of the world the way they should.

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