Film Analysis 2

November 29th, 2010

Pather Pancheli is a bengali picture that was released in India in 1955. The movie was directed by Satyajit Ray, a director who was influenced by Italian Neorealism.  His initial encounter was his trip to London where he stayed for six months and saw a whole range of movies from different genres. He stated later on that “”all through my stay in London, the lessons of Bicycle Thieves and neo-realist cinema stayed with me”.  Considering this it is no amazement that his movie was neo-realist in its style. In Pather Panchali we are brought into the lives of Apu and his family who are struggling to make ends meet and this is dominant theme of the movie. I will attempt to use a scene from the movie to depict the larger themes of the movie namely the families struggle with their harsh economic conditions.

The scene that I will be using is the scene where Durga, the daughter, dies due to her fever. The scene opens with the mother, Sarbajaya,  kneeling towards Durga who is sleeping. From the light setting as well as the prescence of a lamp makes is evident that it is nightitme. She then takes a wet cloth, soaks it in the water and places it on Durga’s head, while she places her other hand on her head, a gesture commenly used in South Asian culture to signify anxiety of the utmost degree. We then see a close up shot of the flame in the lamp. The camera then returns to Sarbajaya and her daughter Durga. We see that Sarbajaya is tired and is slowly falling asleep, while at the same time we see Durga who is rolling her head in her sleep due to her illness and the discomfort she is in. Sarbajaya is suddenly awakened by a rattling sound and she looks at the window and sees the curtain being blown by a strong wind. The she looks around and identifies the sound to be coming from the plank closing the door rattling due to the wind outside pushing on the door. She looks around worried and then changes the wet cloth over Durga’s head again. We then see Durga roll her head around in pain and Sarbajaya caresses her. The camera then focuses on the door which seems on the verge of being forced open by the vicious gale outside. The camera then shifts its focus to the curtain which like the door is also on the verge of being blown open. The camera then returns to Sarbajaya who is now slowly becoming frightened by the storm outside and we also see the flame of the lamp which seems to be shivering from the wind. Then we are taken to a shot of a statue of an elephant, called Ganpati, the God that they worship. The statue is shaking from the wind that is making its way into the house. The camera then returns to Sarbajaya who is now scared from the storm outside and is looking around in despair, hoping that the storm doesn’t makes its way in. We then are taken back to the curtains which seem to be being blown with and even more powerful gale. The shot returns back to Sabajaya and Durga. Sarajaya looks around once again, now at the height of her fright knowing that the gale is about to break in. We then see a flash of light on Sarbajaya face, the light that the lightning produced. Then suddenly one of the corners where the curtain was tied to the wall gives way and the curtain opens. Sarbajaya runs to tie it and then the camera returns to the door where the plank holding the door closed seems like it will finally give way as well. We return to Sarbajaya and she is seen tieing the curtain closed once again. The shot now goes to Durga who is in agony and says “Ma.” Sarbajaya upon hearing this looks back and then suddenly we see the door open by the gale. Sarbajaya then hurries to the door where she pushes a chest to close the door and we can see the door banging open and close. The camera then goes to Durga who is calling her Surbajaya. Then we see that Surbajay closes the door and comes to Durga’s aid and gived Durga a blanket. Instead of taking the blanket Durga has her arms stretched out in an attempt to embrace her mother. Sarbajaya comes and embraces Durga caressing her and we can see what appears to be water on her cheeks but it is indescernible whether it is the rain from the storm or her tears. The shot then ends by taking us to their God’s idol, ganpati, and we see it shaking to and fro due to the storm.

This scene holds great significance for the film because not only does it serve as the climax of the movie but it also serves as a perfectly portrayal of the movies thematic issues. All throughout the movie we see the family struggling to make ends meet. The other families are all doing better than them and this family is plagued by poverty, regardless of all the attempts of the father who is the main bread earner, to make their situation better. There is a lot of symbolism used in this scene. The storm, for example, signifies their harsh luck, which regardless of their attempts to keep it out of their lives still comes in. When viewing this scene one gets the feeling that the storm comes and takes Durga away. Another symbol was the flame of the lantern which was trying its best not to be extinguised by the storm but in the end we it is implied that it does. We don’t know whether the flame extinguished but we are not shown the flame after the door opens due to the storm, implying that the flame was extinguished. The flame is used to symbolise Durga, as when like the flame she is extinguished in the sense that her life is taken away.

Another interesting thing to note is that we see the statue sitting there shaking and we get the feeling that all this is being “supervised” by God in a way as the scene even ends with a shot of the statue. In the storm the only way that we can see that the storm can enter is from the window and door. The window and door are used to symbolize the parents, Harihar Ray and Sarbajaya. The window and door try to keep the storm out, much like Harihar and Sarbajay try to keep poverty out of their childrens’ lives by trying to provide for them. Satyajit Ray ties up all the dominant themes present in the movie into this one scene and upon inspection one can see this is quite evident. It is no wonder that this is one of his most celebrated movies and probably his masterpiece.


November 28th, 2010

I am truly breathless… This movie seemed so different from any movie we have seen so far. It was truly a good portrayal of the French New Wave. The movie seemed spontaneous yet organized at the same time, a truly peculiar characteristic. The movie seemed to have little to no plot but yet was interesting to watch.  The jump outs were mind boggling but after a while I became used to them.

One of the most remarkable scenes was the bedroom scene. It is amazing to beleive that they spent a good 30 minutes talking about the most trivial topics. Michel is incessantly asking Patricia whether they can have !# while she is continuously saying no. As the audeince I was a bit irrated at first but his feeling quickly passed over and I didn’t even notice it was a 30  minute scene until someone in the class mentioned it.  This scene is an excellent example of the tinge of neorealism because the scene is so trivial and therefore actually seems like it can happen.

Another very important thing to note is that the movie doesn’t feel serious. Being the audience I had a feeling that Michel would not have a happy ending, but regardless of that AMAZINGLY I didn’t feel sad when he died. Patricia, the person who is with him throughout the movie, doesn’t feel any sorrow at his death either. In another movie it would have been shocking to see the main character die and nobody feel any emotion for him especially someone who has been with him and likes him, but here there was no emotion. I was shocked to see when Patricia came to him and upon hearing his last words feel no remorse that he is dead, but rather asks in a careless manner “what does scumbag mean.”

Nonetheless this movie was unique and not as trivial as it seems.

Pather Panchali

November 22nd, 2010

One word… NEOREALISM! This movie was gushing forth the essence of neorealism. Umberto D looks nothing compared to this. The whole movie from beginning to end was like a documentary of the life of Appu and his family. From the beginning we are thrown into their live, from when Appu is born. We are forced to live with them in misery and their struggles. The movie was really mundane. The acting was remarkably so natural that it seemed real. I could hardly tell that the characters were acting, as they actually seemed like the characters they were playing.

We live with Appu and his sister Durga. There were several scene which I found memorable, but the most memorable was when Durga died. I had no idea that Durga would die and I was shocked when it happened. We are with Durga from the beginning of the movie, even before Appu comes into the movie, and we as viewers become familiar with her as time goes on. The scene was even more shocking becuase we are shown the turmoil in terms of nature as well. It almost seems like the weather represents death and that it has come to take her. We see Durga struggling in her sleep, all the while her struggle is represented in the stormy weather as it attempts to open the windows and come in. Eventually it breaks in and sweeps her away with it. The director made perfect use of the weather to truly make us experience the intensity of the scene, I must say, he succeeded.

Another shocking event in the movie was after Durga’s death. We see that Appu finds the necklace that Durga was formerly accused of stealing and instead of being dissapointed with his sister, he cares more to preserve her dignity by throwing the necklace away. This scene truly signifies his love for his sister as he doesn’t tell his parents about it when he can easily do that as his sister is no longer alive and can’t hit him for it. I was shocked just as much as Appu upon seeing the stolen necklace because we are not shown the neckllace afterwards at all and as a viewer I thought that it was a misunderstanding because they are poor and are blamed because they can’t afford the necklace.

Anyways this was a great movie and I doubt any movie can better portray the neorealism genre than this movie did! Great movie, enjoyed it!


November 15th, 2010

Simply…amazing! What a great movie. I have heard a lot about this movie prior to watching it and knew that it was one of THE classic movie when it comes to horror and suspense films.

There were so many things about this movie that amazed me and I don’t know where to start so I’ll just jump in form anywhere! The movie starts off in a city type setting and normal nuances of daily life in the city. The main character from the beginning is Marion Crane and for a long time we think that she is the main character. Being the audience I was sure that she would be caught or run away but I was completely shocked when she dies. Also I was shocked as to how the movie suddenly shifts its theme. First I was worried about the money and Marion being caught, but the movie shifts from that to Norman Bates, a young man at a motel.Before I knew what was going on the Marion is no longer the main character to the film she was  merely an appetizer so as to say for the main meal, that being Norman. We being the audience no longer care about the monry or Marion but are much more interested in Norman and who he is and finding out what is going on. 

For me unfortunately the suspense of finding out that Norman Bates is insane was never present. I read a similar novel called “The Red Dragon” in which the main character is  psychologically disturbed and pictures himsef as his grandma. I picked up on that immediately, but nonetheless the music gave  me the goosebumps. Even though I had a feeling that the music was coming I never could brace myself for it since its so creepy.  All throughout and especially when Marion is driving her car the music in the background is scary and in a way foreshadowing the danger that she is going towards, which is quite ironic because she is actually running from being causht at the same time.

Another thing that caught my attention ( and how can it not) was the shower scene. Just to reiterate what professor Herzog said, it is really interesting in that the stabbing scene is perfect portrayal of her being stabbed continously. The audio as well as the visual scene make it obvious to our senses as to what is going on. We almost feel like it is us who is getting chopped up. The camera’s continous shifting motion chopping her combined with the music that also makes you feel like she is getting chopped creates a perfect scene, serving as the signature scene of the movie.
Anthony Perkings was superb! He does the perfect portrayal of a deranged psychopath. We see him as a happy and nice guy, but at he same time he is just as creepy and scary. I was scared to see the malicious grin on his face in the end when he wass caught and we see him (now he is the mother) grinning and he fades away and we see the skull and lasty the car being pulled out of the swamp. The ending leaves you feeling that he is grinning at you, being the audience and makes you feel that he will come after you.

Great movie after seeing it, its no wonder that its a classic!

Written On The Wind

November 4th, 2010

The first color movie that we have watched so far, but it is unlike any color movie I have ever watched! This movie was made when color pictures were a new thing and the technology they used was quite different from now. When watching the movie this is quite evident because it seems that the colors are overly bright and excessive to such an extent that ones senses feel shocked. Nonetheless it was a great movie.

The evil spider lady vs the good women theme is highly dominant in this movie. Kyle’s sister Marylee is shown as the evil “spider lady” and she does a superb job of portraying her character. The good lady on the other hand was Lucy Moore, the other end of the spectrum. One excellent example of her was that she doesn’t marry Kyle because of his wealth as she leaves the hotel early in the story, even though they end up marrying later on.

One interesting thing that I noticed was that even though Kyle and Marylee are similar,they detest one another. They both want to marry people who are good natured and from the working class. Kyle is attracted to Lucy while Marylee is attracted to Mitch. The interesting thing is that both Kyle and Marylee are spoiled children who are good for nothing when it comes to making a living. Mitch works for Kyle father and knows more about Kyle’s family business than Kyle while  Lucy in assistant, also a working class person who makes a living from working hard. Kyle is a drunk while his sister Marylee is a tramp who goes around firting with people so as to attract Mitch’s attention.

A very common cinematography device used was the window. I can’t recall how many numerous times someone was shown to be looking down from the window, either it be Marylee, Mitch, or Kyle. There was one scene that seemed really impressive to me, it was in the beginning when we see a car coming and see Kyle enter the house. I believe that was an amazing beginning. The director creates this feeling of tension and fatality as we see the car racing to a destination with the dramatic music in the background. The director’s brilliance doesn’t end but rather becomes even more amazing as we see Kyle walk in. Instead of the weather being a calm night , the bellowing leaves and uncontrollable wind adds further intensity to the scene. You feel that something of the utmost importance is about to occur due to the setup of the scene and in fact it does.

Another unforgettable scene in the movie was when the doctor informs Kyle that he might be sterile and suddenly we see a moment later that he is shocked by something in the offscreen space. I thought that there was some antagonist there or perhaps he saw Mitch with his wife, but rather we see a chid on an electronic horse machine riding the horse and by that a message was implied which we all know and I would rather avoid writining. I myself was shocked as much as Kyle!

Another amazing scene was when we see Jasper Hadey waking upstairs and we see parallel action to show Marylee in a dancing frenzy. Mr.Jasper almost makes it to the top before he trips and falls down the stairs dieing. All this time we hear juke box music going on. Being the audience I got the feeling that Marylee burdened her father to his death. We see the father reach the top of the stairs, but then suddenly loses his strenght and falls down the stairs. This is in fact the indirect reason because the father is in fact upset of his children actions and this in fact burdens his health.

Anyways I really loved this movie. The story was great and the cinematography was just as amazing. Loved it!