The Romantic and Realist eras were sharply differentiated in terms of style and content of art. Yet, they are united in being born as reactions to styles precedent to theirs. Romanticism, for example was born as a reaction to the rational-scientific emphasis of the Age of the Enlightenment. Where Romantic art differed from scientific disposition is in its novel approach to creation. While science seeks to “explain what exists, art seeks to create something new—but something that bears a distinct relationship to what exists.” (Benton & Diyanni 2011) Likewise, the Realist era was inspired by the perceived excesses of the Romantic style. It is not for us to judge if one stylistic movement is superior to the other. They both sprung from a natural artistic longing for novelty and experimentation. It is fair to say that Western civilization is richer for these periodic upheavals in art. Both Romanticism and Realism showcased different sets of tendencies and aspirations in art . . . Read More
Jake Sully is one of the lead characters in the film. Suffering from complete paralysis of the limbs, he chances upon the opportunity to be the hybrid Avatar in place of his deceased twin brother. He is thereby able to make use of his functioning mental capability with the genetically engineered body of Na’vi individual.
Jake Sully is heroic in many ways. First of all, his behavior is sincere and honest. He keeps his word and does not indulge in wrongdoing. He is largely faithful to his superiors stationed in Pandora. He only rebels against them when he feels outraged by their greed. In other words, human greed to obtain the precious mineral unobtanium becomes very desperate and they even resort to ready use of violence to achieve this end. This enrages the fair and just minded Jake. So to save his own morality he sides with the alien race of Na’vis and fights against humans.
That Jake Sully’s intentions were benevolent and morally upright is proved toward the . . . Read More
Avatar has hogged the limelight on the back of its grand international success and record revenues. While the film deserves appreciation on these counts, it is not a pioneer in promoting the environment conservation theme. That recognition will have to go to the underrated classic FernGully, which set a benchmark for feature-length animation.
The achievement of FernGully is not only pertaining to its epic grand narrative, but also with respect to its technical nous. In 1992, at a time when full-length animated feature films were taking uncertain first steps, FernGully was a bold creation that set a benchmark for narrative scale. Indeed, everything about the setting of the film is larger-than-life. From the elaborately designed rainforests of FernGully or constructing the nightmarish ecological conditions in Mount Warning, the flaura, fauna and geography are richly imaginative.
The theme of environmental sustainability runs through both the films in question. In Avatar . . . Read More
The film contains all the ingredients of a conventional suspense-thriller. But what makes it outstanding is its exploration of complex human relations which were formed under exacting circumstances. The set-piece elements of crime and intrigue easily get the audience hooked. But for the discerning viewer, there is also much to be appreciated in the unfolding human drama. Even within the first 10-15 minutes of the film’s beginning, one can sense these two intertwined dimensions to the film. For movie buffs tired of watching conventional Hollywood crime-thrillers, Old Boy attempts a refreshing reinvention of the genre.
The plot is so constructed to create the maximum intrigue at the start of the film and thereby retain viewer attention. The 15-year long custody of Dae-su is the pivot around which the whole narrative evolves. Yet, where Old Boy exceeds the conventional genre is in how it beautifully illustrates the relationship between Dae-su and Mi-do (the young chef). The . . . Read More
Human Sex by LaLaLa Human Steps is a wonderfully choreographed and precisely executed dance performance. The piece is a celebration of love with all the interdependencies between the lovers. It brims with optimism and energy, colorfully portraying the physicality of love and ecstasy. The two dancers largely conform to gender stereotypes, whereby, the male dancer exhibits more energy and strength, while the female dancer excels in grace and swiftness. But the performance is punctuated with deliberate role reversals which serve to abstract the concept of gender from biological identification. There are women-on-top maneuvers that suggest female sexual prowess. In one movement, the entire weight of the male performer is borne by the female dancer’s back.
The other notable feature of this LaLaLa classic is how punk-rock music was adapted to a modern dance genre. This is a bold and novel innovation by the group, consistent with their reputation for originality and unique style. . . . Read More
Avatar is a multi-faceted film with rich scope for interpretation and analysis. It could also be fitted into various story-telling traditions like oral, folk tale, legend, etc. While the plot development and cinematic exposition lend themselves to association with any story-telling format, it is most easily related to the traditions of legend. The rest of this essay will elaborate on this view.
One of the remarkable qualities of Avatar is its grand narrative scale. The story and the numerous participant characters combine to make it quite an epic. Oral traditions normally convey supernatural beliefs and anecdotes. Likewise, folk tales are most conducive to short moral or humorous tales. But for epic battles and profound victories, the format of the legend is the most similar. Avatar’s celebration of heroism makes it equal to the tradition of legendary tales.
And there is plenty of elements and events in the film that support claims of its legendary status. For . . . Read More
The film Shutter Islands holds value for students of psychology, psychiatry and nursing for its portrayal of complex mental illness. The film should be evaluated separately on two counts – first, its entertainment value and second, its relevance to the medical profession. Obviously, the parameters used for the respective evaluations are different. In my view, the film is highly impressive in both these counts. But this essay will focus on the second aspect, and argue that the film is full of key insights into the pathology of delusion and the range of therapeutic approaches in dealing with it.
Firstly, director Scorsese intertwines war-induced mental trauma of Teddy Daniels with personal tragedy of Andrew Laeddis. This compounds the confusion for the audience, but also adds a political dimension to what is an exposition on psychiatric illness. Toward the end of the film it is unveiled how the whole of the Shutter Island is a set up to play along the illusions of Andrew . . . Read More
Despite the film not being Welles’ best work, one could see his trademark style throughout. At the same time Welles’ forte is his experimentation and spontaneous innovation. As a result, the film retains Welles’ fingerprints without adopting previously tried techniques. This is true of both the narrative and cinematographic styles. This essay will argue that Touch of Evil is a triumph of style and technique.
Touch of Evil was promoted as a crime-thriller. However, viewing it in its entirety, it is fair to claim that the film overlaps several genres. For example, there are obvious film noir characteristics, most notably in the visualization of shots. Long shadows, angled lighting on characters, dingy settings, the suggestions of secrecy through mise-en-scene all testify to the film noir spirit. Moreover, the pivotal plot element of a murder (through bomb detonation) is consistent with the genre. While the cinematography is novel in this fashion, the core themes of the . . . Read More
James Bond movies are a total entertainment package. They contain action, suspense and an element of romance. In the film Golden Eye, all these elements are very well integrated into a cohesive and coherent plot. Two features have particularly caught my attention. These are its charismatic hero and well laid out plot.
Pierce Brosnan fits perfectly as the lead character. He is charming, handsome and carries himself with a sense of style.
Brosnan’s acting too deserves credit, for playing James Bond is a unique challenge. Not since Sean Connery has a Bond actor captured the imagination of the audience in this fashion. Brosnan brings his own natural personality to bear upon the role of the savvy sophisticated spy.
From spinning around in his favourite Aston Martin to ordering his drink in the inimitable style, Brosnan carries out trademark Bond sequences with grace. The inevitable ‘Bond…James Bond’ dialogue was delivered to great effect.
Ever since Ian . . . Read More
Almost every theoretical type of propaganda was employed by Saddam Hussein. Some of the prominent types are agitation, white, black and vertical propaganda. As the example of mass funeral of dead babies illustrates, Saddam intended to appeal to the emotions of the audience, circumventing deliberation on fact and logic. It served to agitate the minds of sympathizers and rally them behind his cause.
Vertical propaganda is identified with government missives given to international press, which were full of exaggeration and fabrication of facts and events. For example, Saddam perpetrated misinformation about how American missiles targeted hospitals and civilian areas. This was dictated to journalists in a top-down fashion. After the media carried these dubious official stories without cross-checking facts, it was disseminated horizontally among Iraqi citizens as well as abroad.
There are also instances of misattribution of sources (black) as well as intended ambiguity with . . . Read More