Nationalism

I know it is very corny and Ive never been a big fan of using a definition in my writings but I believe it is useful in this situation.  Merriam-Websters definition for nationalism is as stated “a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries”.  After reading this definition i thought of the film “Lagaan” for a couple reasons.  In the film one can see that the British portray this sense of being better than the Indian villagers that they oversee.  The British use this corrupt power that they have over the villagers and they do whatever they want when they want knowing that the villagers have to do what they say.  At the same time the villagers have a strong sense of pride and know that what the British are doing to them is wrong.  So much so that they are willing to fight to get what they deserve.  They are tired of being pushed of by the British and have had enough.  The two words that stuck out to me in the definition was loyal and proud.  During the cricket game you can see the players and all the fans watching have this strong sense of loyalty and pride and they are fighting tooth and nail to provide a better life for the village.

Advertisements

Class overview

Overall I really enjoyed this class and the format that it was presented.  Being a biology major most of my classes are just sitting in class taking notes and this was a nice change of pace.  I believe that having the class discussions that we did helped us better grasp the topics presented and let us form our own opinions.  After taking a couple of these classes i have been able to view movies and shows in a different way than i previously have.  Instead of taking these films at face value I believe it is important to ask questions as to why they are presenting it to us how they are and try and find underlying messages throughout the films.  Everything from camera angles to the background music has a reasoning behind it and being able to pick up on these is truly important to understanding a film.  In the end, one of the most important things to take out of this class is to be able to not take everything at face value.  These topics that we have learned can be evident in everyday life even in Columbus.  To wrap things up I really enjoyed our class as a whole this semester and think we came a long way in six short weeks.

Politics in Cinema

I’m happy that one of our last blog posts is about politics in cinema because I really think it ties together everything that we have been learning in class so far.  This topic really makes us look further into movies than we previously would have.  I believe our class discussion and movie examples really shows that we have learned a lot in this short six week period.  This helps us really analyze films and dig deeper into the subliminal meaning behind films.  I really liked the fact that animated movies were brought up in class.  In these movies its interesting to see how politics are present even though the average viewer might not see it.  In class i brought up the movie “The Lion King” because i believe it shows a form of underlying dictatorship.  While this might seem like a far stretch i truly do believe that politics are represented in this movie.  There are many examples of this in the film but overall one can see how politics is represented.  The movie is centered around the fight for leadership of the animal kingdom and the lengths one would go to to ensure this pursuit of power.  Every day in this country people are pursuing this fight for power and it is not always done in the most ethical of ways.  I am really interested in other peoples input and possible examples of politics in this movie or other animated movies similar to this.

 

Diaspora in”The Namesake”

Diasporic communities exist all over the world in most urban populations.  Each and every day, in a city like Columbus, one can see evidence of diasporic communities.  For example, most of the Indian resturaunts I have seen on campus are all located within a short distance from each other on the north side of campus.  But why do these diasporic communities exist?

I believe that “The Namesake” shows many different examples in the film as to the reasoning behind these communities existing.  Moving to a new country is never easy, especially when it’s halfway around the world.  You’re leaving behind all of your friends, family, and everything you had previously known and starting a new life in another country.  At the beginning of the movie, Ashima has problems adapting to the change.  The easiest way for her to try and fit in was to become friends with people she related to.  At the end of the movie you can see all the people who she’s became friends with over the years and they were mostly people of the same background as her.  But over this time she has grown to love this country that she moved to and through the diasporic community of South Asians in New York she was able to start a new life and make new lifelong friends.  I believe that these communities exist because people of the same ethnicity and faith are all going through the same struggles making it in America and its easier to do it together than alone.

Caste System in Bolywood

In this class we learn about the culture and life of South Asians, past and present, through different films and shows.  We learn about important topics that shape/have shaped the lives of south Asians over many years, these topics include gender, colonialism, diasporic aspects, and many more.  But one of these topics that seems prevelant in all movies is class.  The class system in South Asia is based on a 5 tiered hierarchy that one is generally born into.  In “Slumdog Millionaire” and  “Gangs of Wasseypur” the viewer is able to see a progression of characters lives from on class to another.  In both of these you see a clear progression through the show or movie and see why somewhere is where they are.

In the movie “Lagaan” the movie is immediately introduced to a character that is unlike any of the characters so far in the film in that he is a Dalit/untouchable.  What’s different about this movie is that we have no background information on this guy and know nothing about him other than he is of the lowest caste.  When we are introduced to Kachra for the first time everyone seemed to push him away and wanted nothing to do with him.  That is everyone except for Bhuvan, who decides to stick up for him.  Bhuvan, knowing very little of Kachra other than he’s an untouchable, decides to stick up for him and even do the unthinkable and touch him.  While Kachra has no lines in this movie, I believe he plays a key role in showing the heart and acceptance of the village members and Bhuvan for accepting him.

Slumdog Millionaire Perspectives

Slumdog millionaire has always been one of my favorite movies and I have seen it countless amount of times, therefore when I saw it on the sylabus I was quite pleased.  While I almost know this movie line for line now and could have easily wrote a blog post without seeing it again, I’ve never been one to cut corners and decided that this time over I would really try and notice the little things in this movie that make it great.  We’ve talked in class about the way that camera angles, different perspectives, and music play key roles in the production of films and this movie does a very interesting/great job using these tools.

Throughout the movie the viewer sees flashbacks of Jamal’s childhood and in these scenes it shows, not only how Jamal knows the answers, but also how Jamal, Latika, and Samir grow into adults in different ways.  In these flashbacks if you carefully pay attention you can see the importance of the background music and camera angles on where the plot line is heading.  With the music and different perspectives you can slowly see their relationships falling apart and going in different directions. While this unique camera work and background music play a key role in the production of this film from scene to scene, there is one scene in particular that caught my eye.  When Jamal sees Latika in the train station for the first time in a long time, the camera slows down, the voices fade out and gentle music starts playing when they finally see each other.  It’s as if all the memories from their childhood and the feelings that they had for each other all come rushing back in that one scene.  This becomes apparent to the viewer because of the way music and camera angles were used.  Then, as soon as the music speeds back up, she has to run away.  While this was one particular scene that I used for example, there are many more scenes where camera angles and music played a key role in depicting the scene.  Some scenes use these tools to show a seperation of class and even gender.  I was just wondering if any of you guys can think of a scene where the use of camera angles and music shows these seperations?

Gender roles in Mirch Masala

While watching the movie “Mirch Masala”one could pretty easily see the objectification against woman that occurred between many different characters.  While this was also seen in other movies we have watched, in particular “Lagaan”, the most apparent objectification was being done by the English colonialists to the villagers.   In “Mirch Masala” there wasn’t a single British colonialist depicted in the movie.  Instead the objectification that occurred was being done by villagers and heads of the village to the woman.  It was very clear to see that the woman’s role was to cook, clean, and do whatever their husband or father wanted them to do.  A lot of this could be due to the fact that woman were banned from studying in school.  One scene that really jumped out at me was when the mukhis wife was bringing their daughter to school for the first time and the villagers were making comments as they walked by.  One of these comments was something like “what is that girl going to do with an education”.  This was irritating to me to hear but at the same time the women who said this had a point.  While I don’t agree with the way woman were somewhat second class citizens in colonial India, that was the harsh truth and this girl would have been educated and not been able to do anything with it.

While I said earlier that this movie was different because it wasn’t British colonialists behind most of the objectification, they were still somewhat behind the objectification.  In the case for this movie it was still the system that the British set up in colonial India that led to the objectification of women in this movie.  Two of the main characters who were causing the most problems to these women’s were leaders of the village who were appointed by the British. The subedar and mukhi were both driven by their own lust for other women and in the end this led to people dying and a village being torn apart.  They both had this sense of entitlement to any women they wanted and seemed to always treat women like they were lesser to them.  While these are just a couple of examples where women were objectified in this movie, I was just wondering if anyone else saw a different view on this issue?