Natalia's Film Blog

Political Cinema from Africa and Latin America

May 25, 2010 · No Comments

Second of the two that I didn’t post. *sigh* Ah well.

Sembene deals with the issues of neocolonialsm. I’ve seen The Battle of Algiers and studied struggles of various colonies for independence, and it was very interesting to see/learn about it from the point of view of someone in the culture and making films to try to reach the culture. to see the continuous effects had an influence on colonialism and how it reaches even into the cinema of the nation. Sembene talks about the films as a powerful force, especially in the reaching out to the 80% of the illiterate population in Africa.

It is really sad to hear of the restrictions placed on cinema by France. But the story he told about Emitai is an inspiring one, and although he doesn’t believe art can cause a revolution, he has managed to create art that spreads information that wouldn’t have otherwise been known, and it is a way to reach people who wouldn’t have otherwise known because of their inability to read or write.

The interview with Alea is also an interesting article because it shows a glimpse into a country that is (in my opinion, rather stupidly) cut off entirely from America. I never understood America’s fear of dealing with a small island nation, communist or otherwise…but then again, there is little I do understand regarding these sorts of things. When you really think about the negative impact the US has had on latin America, it is really astounding. It makes me sick to think that the US supported military dictators that tortured the people, and funded violent revolutions, just to keep communism out of Latin America. Looking back to the wild party that was Cuba (as shown in Memories of underdevelopment and other films, like The Godfather Part II)

I agree that the film was very contradictory in its portrayal of communism and the communist revolution. I would like to see the entire film to get a better understanding of this. The article points out the subtle ways in which capitalist cuba is criticized. I think it is really brilliant for it to be done in a “not in your face” way. And after reading this article, I would also like to see Death of a Bureaucrat.
(still need Chapter 21)

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May 25, 2010 · 2 Comments

All good things must come to an end.

After the Film History II final, I got to thinking about what happens to these blogs now that class is over.

I see two possible things happening: either it gets deleted at the end of the semester by Queens College blog folks (so as not to keep “dead blogs” on the internet” (which is sad)

or it just gets left here as a “dead blog” (which is even sadder).

I’ve decided that if it doesn’t get deleted, I hope to continue posting here, perhaps not as regularly, about different films I see. It is a shame to let this go to waste. I really enjoyed posting here and reading what others had to say.

Have a good summer all 🙂

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Political Cinema

May 19, 2010 · 2 Comments

I am rather upset with myself. This is one of two drafts I wrote without publishing. I can’t believe I forgot to publish them 🙁

Having already briefly touched upon the clips from Memories of Underdevelopment in my journal post, I am going to focus in this post on Borom Sarret and Unsere Afrikareise.

Still form Borom Sarret

Borom Sarret didn’t choose to glorify poverty and “under-dog-ness” like Italian neorealism did (to a certain extent). I think this is probably because filmmaker Sembene was commenting more on the unjust nature of the situation without trying to idealize anyone. Instead, (and as he was influenced by the French New Wave and Soviet realism) he wanted to paint a realistic picture. I think this was effective. By showing us that the situation was like for peasants in Senegal, instead of painting us a rosy picture of the poor pure underdog abused time and time again by the upper-class, the film takes on more of a documentary air in which we accept the cart driver, faults and all, as a real person who has fallen victim to the unjust society.

Sembene was also similar to the Italian neorealist in his hiring non-actors for the roles. This gives the film even more of a realistic feel. In addition, he doesn’t just comment of the injustice of the large gap between the “heights” and the dwellers of the heights, and the peasants in the neighborhood, but it also inadvertently comments on the neocolonialism. It doesn’t strike us nearly as odd that all the Senegalese people speak French as it should: that these peoples’ language culture has been forced to stand aside for the colonial culture. This gives added significance to the scene with the man singing about the ancestors of the Senegalese people.

I was also struck in the Sembene interview about his comment on the importance of women in Senegalese culture. The cart driver did not seem very loving or affectionate towards his wife and children, but his wife is ultimately the one who will bring food to the family and ensure they do not go hungry. It puts tremendous power into her hands, and although she has to prostitute herself to feed her family, she walks away regally in stark contrast with her husband, who seems to fumble and seem unsure of himself throughout the film.

Unsere Afrikareise

I hated this film. I admit, I give it a lot of credit for its success in making me want to throw up and burst into tears (not necessarily in that order) and for successfully portraying the tourists as disgusting animals, but I really really really could not stomach this film. At all.

The scene with the lion was particularly horrible. The poor beautiful creature came up to them with so much innocence, and they shot it. Repeatedly. How horrible the human race can be.

I can’t decide what was worse…the way they treated the animals, the way they treated the people, or both together….

I’m sorry that this is all I can say about it. I had to watch it with my hands over my eyes and ears, and this is a tremendous credit to Kubelka.  All I can say is, I certainly hope that this film caused a revolution, because if this sort of thing still exists, I will lose my faith in humanity. And SPCA. I won’t post any images from it.

Instead I invite you all  to “awwww” at this video I found on youtube of  these extremely cute animals that are alive, happy and well.


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American Avant Garde

May 19, 2010 · No Comments

I decided to make a separate discussion of the different avant-garde shorts we watched in class.

Meshes of the Afternoon

Stills from Meshes of the Afternoon

This was my second time watching this film, and I felt like it further emphasized the feeling I got from watching it the first time. Because the film is made up of a series of repetitions and doppelgängers, watching it again just added a whole other level of the weird looping imagery. I really enjoyed the film. I love the music. Not in the sense that I would like to listen to it on my ipod during my commute, but in the sense that it really emphasized and underscored every element of the film. I was interested in learning that the music was added later, and I can’t imaging the film without it.

I loved the camera technique used when the woman is climbing the stairs and it feels as if the entire space is swaying and tossing like a ship. It is very surreal, similar in a way to Dali’s dream sequence in Spellbound.

…and that hooded mirror-faced figure was creepiness personified. It doesn’t take high-tech CGI effects to create something that chills you to the bone.

The Hooded figure from Meshes of the afternoon.


Film Strips from mothlight.

I’d like to say, that I too was a bit disturbed when I first read about Mothlight in my textbook at the beginning of the semester. I don’t remember what it was in context to, but I remember being disturbed by the thought of taking dead moths and sticking them to a piece of film. To me, it was likke the people who kill butterflies to put them behind glass to look at their beautiful wings. (This was the case especially after having watched Unsere Afrikareise, which really made me feel like throwing up).

So, when I learned that he collected dead moths and tried to bring them back to life and pay homage to their needless death, I breathed a sigh of relief, and wanted to thank the man who wished to pay homage to a much-despised insect. Moths were always really interesting to me…they were like butterflies’ “ugly cousin”…hated and disregarded, just because they eat our clothing and don’t have as colorful wings as their daytime counterparts.

Aside from the ‘requiem for a moth” aspect, I thought the visuals were very beautiful. The rhythm and pace changed to give the feelings of multidimensional visual music.  I also noticed the film was divided into sections of similar visual imagery. It was like the various elements were dancing across the screen.

It was interesting because it provides a different way to look at film. Here it isn’t just the recording of light being bounced off of a subject, but it is light passing THROUGH the subject. It is like Magritte’s painting “This Is Not a Pipe”…instead of looking at a moth (filmed) you are looking AT a moth (on the film)

Still from Mothlight

Kustom Kar Kommandos

Still from Kustom Kar Kommandos

I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I can say if anyone was wondering what “camp” and “kitsch” were, here is the answer. It is not bashful and rather blatant in its homosexual “undertones”.  It is innovative in its style and it functions as a comment on the car culture of the time. I am curious about the “KKK” initials. I know someone mentioned that it didn’t have anything to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but all the same, the three words were intentionally spelled with a “K” instead of a “C”. I would like to further look into this.

last but not least:

Thimble Theater

Still from Thimble Theater

I loved the idea of creating a film from scraps of other films taken out of context to create something new. I’ve also seen A Movie by Bruce Conner, which was created the same way, and it is an effective way. I found this film to be playful and interesting, if a little creepy at time. The kangaroo section really made me think: “What on earth? Why is that man fighting a kangaroo?!” How ever, in terms of innovation and avant garde, this film was a very interesting specimen.

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Bonnie and Clyde

May 19, 2010 · 1 Comment

Image still from Bonnie and Clyde film

I really loved this movie, although it was difficult to watch at times for the gore and violence. I liked its pace and style. The characters were very human, which is an interesting contrast to the original gangster genre. Bonnie and Clyde were victims of a system that left people with no option, like the family thrown out of their house, and became a sort of “Robbin Hood” figure, despite the fact that they were more concerned with “self” than with sharing with the unfortunate. Despite this, they were like heroes to the poor. The farmer who escaped the bank robbery allowed to keep his money said that he would put flowers on their graves because they were right by him.

It is easy to see  the French New Wave influences in this film. The off-beat pace, the contrast between the high-tension sections and the almost playful interactions between the characters in off-points, like the meal between Bonnie and Clyde. I also liked the abrupt contrast in the material of the film from most of the film to the Parker family reunion section, where the colors suddenly become over-saturated and dreamlike, or what reminds me of family home movies from the time period up until the advent of digital tape recording. The colors are also cited as influenced by the French New Wave…the earth tones. The fact that it was actually filmed in Texas really added to the believability of this film, which in my opinion is also supported by the fact that it was created outside of overt Hollywood influence.

Having read about the sexual back story that was removed from the final draft of the script, I must say that I was able to see hints of this in the film…perhaps because I read it, but it definitely captures the very 1960s/1970s cultural revolution feel. It definitely draws a parallel between the 30s and the time it was made.

It was an excellent film.

On a side note, if you are interested, you might want to check out this link:

Over the summer months, NYC sponsors free open-air film screenings in parks throughout the city. I was so excited that Bonnie and Clyde is one of the featured films. As is Invasion of the Body Snatchers and spectacular films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Pan’s Labyrinth and there is also a film noir series that will be showing Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity and others. I strongly recommend you all check it out. It will be fabulous.

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US Independent Film and the Auteur

May 19, 2010 · No Comments

I found the Corrigan article to be rather interesting. It was particular interesting to look back on how  Tarantino was seen in the mid-90s.  I was very confused by the article’s discussion of the auteur. I’ve studied art history a lot, and I have studied the change in the emphasis of the individual artist and the artist’s style and talent from the anonymous artist of the Medieval times, to the increasing importance of the artist “auteur” on the renaissance onwards to modern times. Between this and my studies in film, I don’t see how it is so difficult to accept the auteur theory.

I understand the author of this article’s point of view of the commercializing of the author’s work to sell the film, (so that the director becomes an agent instead of an artist) and I feel that we’ve all seen this with Cameron’s Avatar. However, I fill this is an oversimplification and a disregarding of what cinema has been in the past. Under the studios, people were going to see a “studio” type of film…be it a glamorous expensive musical or a b-horror flick. There is still a hand or flair of the creator…in the past it was the studios and producers who wielded extreme power…look at Sturgess, who had to fight his way to control the film, and that is how movies were sold in the pass. Is it wrong for directors to sell their films now via their own names and achievements? Although film is art (or can be art) it still needs to sell itself to the audiences and everyone else, not just to make money, but just to attract audiences to see the work. Just as one would go to a museum to see a Renoir or a Rembrandt, is it wrong for people to go to the movies to see a “Tarantino”?
At the same time “auteur-a-ma-fying” directors of the 60s and 70s so they can be pertinent and commercially shown today seems (to me at least) the same thing as studying “Shakespeare’s plays”, or conducting a feminist reading of Macbeth, it doesn’t cheapen or commercialize the artist’s work to look at it from a modern or contemporary point of view. In doing so, one can see the similarities between the works of the artists, and connections can be drawn. For example, let’s look at Cold War paranoia cinema. If looking at it from the contemporary point of view (at that specific time), audiences and film critics alike probably wouldn’t have been able to recognize the genre as being influenced by the paranoia and fear of the time, it is only in a later time that it  can be reflected upon and appreciated
…and normally in other art forms, the author’s hand wasn’t recognized immediately, it is upon reflection, comparing the artwork with its contemporaries and following artwork that makes it distinct and belonging to a single artists/

I partially agree with what the author is saying about the marketing of “auteurs” but I think by looking again at the example of Cameron’s Avatar, we can see that it is not necessarily the case. Avatar is a technological and production feat that was touted. While this built up the hype of the film, it wasn’t the only basis on which it was judged….that fact remains, Avatar did not win “best picture” and if you look at people reactions, you will find just as many people that have negative reviews as those that give it a positive review. People criticize it for being a rehashed and unoriginal story…so despite the commercial effort and push, films are ultimately decided by their worth and merit, regardless of the auteur or celebrity status of the director. And years from now, when the technology seems outdated and cheesy, people will remember the film for its “technological importance of the tiem” but unlike Star WarsJaws, or even The Birds to a certain extent,  it probably won’t stand because of its lackin merrit in its story and originality.

Plus the influx of today’s independent films and their power, and the fact that movies like Precious, and the Hurt Locker to triumph over Avatar, seems to prove to me that the author’s fears, while valid, have not come to fruition. I don’t think it is worth discrediting the auetuer movement just because “Heaven’s Gate”

I also feel that in the Coppola case study, the author misrepresents Coppola’s definition of “earn” the title of auteur. To begin with, ever auteur has “earned the title” and auteur is not so much about being trapped within one’s style and audience  expectation, but that the auteur is derived FROM the director’s style and leads to audience expectation. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a successful filmmaker that produces blockbusters…the issue arises when the “desire to produce a blockbuster” outweighs the “desire to make a good movie”. Movies like “The Proposal” are not going to be considered auteur films, no matter how well it does in the box office, because the film has no cinematic value. At the same time, films like Avatar, while they make their money, and Cameron gets the reputation of auteur because his vision, it will still be seen as a film that was all hype and little substance.

As dangerous as it is to overly commercialize the industry (and I personally do not approve of overly commercializing art forms) the works of the directors that were discussed in this article stands and speak for themselves. While Coppola’s Dracula wasn’t an amazing film, one cannot even begin to argue against the cinematic value and greatness of The Godfather.

At the same time, the Bernstein article seems to contradict this. It speaks about the trend in American cinema during the 60s and 70s towards the independent and more European-style cinema. Such as the Graduate and Easy Rider. Bonnie and Clyde (Specifically) brings together the French New Wave to American cinema.

I was extremely interested in the article’s discussion of the original script of Bonnie and Clyde featuring the alternative sexuality of the gang. It would have made the film much more controversial, especially considering the sexual revolution of the 1960s, but it would (understandably) offend most audience members. It is also satisfying (despite the fact that it was almost too gory for me to handle…in fact, I had to turn away a few times) that they were able to produce this film without MPPA’s code Restriction, it is amazing to see the weakening of the studios in Warner’s comments, and the polite yet firm way the film disregarded these.

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Breathless by Godard

May 6, 2010 · 1 Comment

The poster for Godard's BreathlessYet another movie ruined by Media Studies 200. Not in the sense that “I hate it now” (and nothing against MEDST200), but in the sense that, the entire story was given away in a case study about breaking the rules of continuity editing. *Sigh* I just wish I had been able to watch the film without having seen bits and pieces of clips. It was like watching the film with a vague sense of déjà vu.

That being said, I LOVED Breathless. It was so off-beat. It was like The White Stripes’s minimalist songs meet Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. It had a bit of a Dadaist streak to it. I found it really funny and very refreshing. I enjoyed the characters and the somewhat dissonant way in which they relate to each other.

Despite what we studied in Media Studies 200, I wasn’t really off-put by the disregard for continuity editing. I really loved it. Sometimes, I feel that people underestimate the ability of the audience to appreciate a film. It’s like dumb-ing things down for people. While some won’t be able to appreciate it, it should be up to the filmmaker to dictate.

It was thoroughly enjoyable, and had so much cinematic worth. The film helped to emphasize the fact that it was a film. The abrupt cuts, the ellipses in the car scenes all work to make us very aware of the filmmaker’s hand.

I particularly love the moments when sound comes in and out in the film, like in Patricia’s apartment when the siren drowns out part of the speech. It is natural yet unnatural at the same time. We are used to carefully constructed sound worlds in film, where the external sounds are either removed, or added by sound editors for a particular effect. If we were in the room with Patricia and Michel, we would have heard the siren, but we probably would have tuned it out to listen to the conversation. In film, the microphone picks up anything it “hears”…it doesn’t select out the sounds that it is supposed to be recording. Godard emphasizes this nature of film and makes the characters and conversation exist within a background in the world there, where noise happens. It makes the voices of the actors no more significant than the passing ambulance, or firetruck. It is really cool.

As Godard said in the interview: “If something has already been done there is no point in doing it again.”

I’ve read many different things by Godard on filmmaking, and it was wonderful to be able to see his work and connect his theories and his work.

Still frame from film Breathless La Jetée was a very interesting and disturbing film. I found it fascinating that the film was composed almost entirely of still images. Seeing the single moving image struck me really sharply. Although interesting in subject and idea, the story was really disturbing to me, and it was the sort of story I’ve thought about afterward, lying in my bed in the dark before I fall asleep. It creep-ed me out a bit, I must say.

It is interesting to see  what came before in French Cinema, and how this may have inspired the new wave, despite the fact that they protested against this earlier cinema. The war era brought with it more of the escapist comic and melodrama film, yet in the works of Renoir, we get a hint at the more realistic. His characters, as the textbook says, are not “evil” but the antagonistic situations arise from normal people rubbing each other the wrong way and creating tension.

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May 6, 2010 · 1 Comment

Movie poster for Ray's film Charulata

Charulata was a really striking movie. It really stuck with me.

I thought Charulata was a wonderful character. We the audience could sympathize with her situation fully, but at the same time, we couldn’t hate her husband (even though he didn’t make her happy) because he too was a decent sort of person, if naive.

From the opening scene of the film, we are thrown into Charulata’s world. She is left alone, out of the way; more like a doll than a person. She longs for the outside world, and the little she gathers about the outside world comes from the confines of the binoculars, which give her glimpses of the world outside her barred and blind-covered windows. Ray’s handling of her point of view in the beginning of the film was masterfully done.

As the movie progresses and Charulata begins to feel more alive, she finally breaks out of doors and sits in the garden with Amal. Music is also used masterfully to express this increased feeling of “aliveness”. The swing sequence was also amazing. While Written on the Wind may have been one of the only movies where dancing was used to kill someone, Charulata is equally deft at using the swing to represent sex. There is a surrealist quality to the scene, like something by Salvador Dali. It feels like the audience is really getting into the minds or psyche of each character.

The readings mentioned Ray’s love of neorealism and appreciation of the work of Ozu. In some scenes, I felt the influence of De Sica, especially the scene when Maria was grinding the coffee in Umberto D, like when Charulata embroidered, or the wonderful coverage of the writing of both Amal and Charulata. Like in Ozu’s film, Charulata also uses the birdcage imagery, which I though was pretty cool. It, like Early Summer, also showed the state of the women trapped within a society.

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Satyajit Ray

April 27, 2010 · No Comments

Picture of director Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray has a very interesting way of looking at directorship and the concept of film-making.

He spoke about the importance of writing as part of the creation of a movie. He feels that movie is the director’s vision, and so too should the words the actors speak. This concept seems so natural, yet so foreign to the Hollywood mentality. Especially that, as we saw in the Sturges reading,  where studio bosses wanted to keep writers off of the sets all together. As Ray said, the vision of the writer can be lost when if the film is taken up by another director, and (inversely) the director’s vision is dictated by the writer’s screenplay.

His concept of “script” is also very interesting. It seems that to him, the script is not some carefully-calculated construct, but something that flows easily: a study of daily speech. It was interesting to see how he spoke of his experience in writing in Hindi, where he didn’t know ultimately what the script was like because he couldn’t understand it, or appropriately direct his actors, because he couldn’t communicate. To Ray, it seems that filmmaking is all about communication. Ray also maintains a lot of control over the cinematographic aspects of his films, which only makes sense. It allows him to express his vision fully and visually to his audience.

I really enjoyed Ray’s comments on Ozu’s films. It was one of those moments in studies, where it seems like everything arranges itself very nicely, and things feel like they make perfect sense.

He says: cinema is characterized by its ability to capture and communicate the intimacies of the human mind. He also mentioned that the best inspiration for a film (from a pre-existing source) is a long-short story. He said that trying to make a film from a novel that is 400-500 pages long, would not do it justice in less that 4-5 hours. I almost laughed at this part, and I thought of the cries of indignation of Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter fans everywhere (and most other books-become-films). Even comparing (for example) Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice (2005, approx. 3 hours) and Simon Langton’s Pride and Prejudice (1995 approx. 6 hours). Which did a better job telling the story (and was an infinitely better film?)

I was also fascinated by the thought of him allowing people into his house on Sunday mornings to talk to him. It is really amazing. I can’t imagine Martin Scorsese letting someone drop by his house for a cup of coffee. In America, we have created this notion of “star” and it makes these people seem beyond human. One thing that really struck me about Ray in his interview is his human-ness, and he mentioned that that is something that he sought to capture in film.

From Ray’s discussion of music (and his feelings about music), and from the Kabir article, we get a sense that music is key to movies from the Indian subcontinent. According to the article, Indian audiences look for original scores in their films.

It will be interesting to see Ray’s use of music in his films. Although he is not a typical Indian/Bengali director in his use of music (as he believed that in movies, only musicians and singers should perform music) it will still be interesting to see the role that music plays in his films.

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Written on the Wind

April 20, 2010 · No Comments

Movie poster for film "Written on the Wind"

To me, Written on the Wind was one of those stereotypical melodramas. It was over-the-top, and yet it didn’t rise in me the usual reaction to soap-opera-esque acting. There was something much deeper to the film than the plastic facade. There was a real darkness to it that went beyond the dramatic feel.

While Lucy and Mitch were the archetypes for “good wife” and “good friend” respectively, beyond the contrived feel, there was something very real about all of the  characters. Lucy, for example, didn’t quite allow herself to be fully swept off her feet. There is a strong sense of respectability that goes beyond the 1950s stereotype of “woman”. In fact, at the beginning, I saw her as a strong-willed, intelligent, well-spoken, and even somewhat sassy character. It amazed me then when she made a 180° change and became quiet, servile wife. I took this transformation to be a commentary on the social conventions of the 50s. Perhaps I am reading too much into it (and am resorting to prejudices against the conformity and society of the time), but it seems to me that Sirk wanted to show American “this is what happens to strong women when they conform.”

I think Kyle and Marylee are two extremely interesting characters. To begin with their situations and faults are definitely a commentary on their situation. “Poor little rich kids” for sure, coming out of a dysfunctional household, they both harbor hurt and issues that came from their father’s treatment of Mitch, and possibly from their wealth. The contrast between Kyle and Mitch, one a wealthy man with so many issues, the other a respectable and honorable man, from poor backgrounds who worked hard. What does this say about American culture, and what wealth and emptiness does to a person?

Although we are meant to (and probably immediately) identify with Mitch, our sympathy lies with Kyle. Imagine being in his position…your father always favoring your hard-working friend, always doubting you, never truly happy with you. If makes it easy to understand his resentment. It makes the conversation Kyle had with Lucy on the airplane all the more real. It makes us understand why she agreed to marry him: she saw past his faults to the poor troubled and hurt person underneath. Kyle also has the weight of being emasculated. Not only is he always second best to Mitch, losing his father’s affection, his sister’s respect (and love). He cannot fight like Mitch can. He believes he cannot have children, and then he is made to believe that Mitch also “got the girl”. This was the last straw for him.

Marylee is one of the most lurid characters I have ever encountered. She takes over the screen completely. She is easy to hate from the beginning, yet as soon as we see her break down by the river we come to realized how messed up the entire family is, and we begin to feel sorry for her. We understand her endless fight for attention and affection. We realize that if she had had a different upbringing, she wouldn’t be a troubled *gasp* “tramp”. She, like her brother, were only looking for love and acceptance. This is one of the most sad pieces of the film. Despite all their money and possessions, all they really needed was to be accepted and loved as themselves.

After the intensity of the movie, the ending seems a bit weird, but looking at it, I don’t think it could have been ended any other way. To begin with the “happy ending” isn’t very happy at all. Although Mitch and Lucy eventually get together and go off in their neutral toned car on their own, the very person who made it possible was left alone in a dark office, crying and clutching the model of the oil rig to herself. It is a bittersweet ending, more bitter than sweet. The “happily ever after” is tainted by the entire film, leaving it a hollow, ironic and surreal ending. Although unnatural, I don’t think it could have had a better ending. If Marylee had let Mitch take the blame for Kyle’s death it would have been more true to her character in the story and it would have been a great melodramatic ending, but it would have completely killed the story. It would have fixed her character as an “‘evil” person, and it would have made sense, but it would have left us with a resolution. It would have been stereotypical, expected and boring. The fact that Sirk gave us the Hollywood-required happy ending really hit us. It became so ironic, tacked on at the end. It became a commentary: “you guys require a happy ending, so here it is….take your “happy ending””. It forced us to reconsider our character judgments. It also forced us to realize that there is a reason for everyone’s actions. It forces us to realize that the “goody-two-shoes” are not real in any way. It made a sense of humanity in a plastic melodrama environment. I think it was the ending that really made me love the film. While it was wonderful directing (and wonderfully composed throughout), I would have been somewhat indifferent and slightly disappointed with the entire film if it ended differently. It is the ending that drives the entire thing home, and made me reconsider all the other aspects of the film that I had taken for stereotypical melodrama (from the leaves blowing in the beginning, to the swelling music, to the overly designed plastic-feeling sets) and turned them into ironic statements about American culture in the 50s and the genre itself.

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