Man Push Cart, 2005

Man Push Cart which was released in 2005, is an American film directed and produced by Ramin Bahrani. It is about the life of a Pakistani man, Ahmad Razvi, who works a pushcart on the streets of Manhattan, New York.  He wakes up at 3:00 a.m. every morning and sells coffee and bagels out of his pushcart. His wife passed away about a year ago from when the film takes place. An immigrant from Pakistan, he is haunted by his past working hard to create a new life for himself. A genuinely caring and thoughtful man he is, working restless hours. He is doing everything he can to make more money to live the American dream. On top of working his pushcart he also does handyman work and sells DVD’s. In the film he meets another man from Pakistan who is wealthy and successful. Ahmad does a lot of handy work for this man and develops an interesting relationship with him.

This film shows the life of an immigrant, the haunting of the past, interesting friendships, and the love a security of Ahmad’s pushcart. One would never be able to tell, but Ahmad was a former rock start back in Pakistan. He gave up his music and his everything for his family, which ended up serving him no good. His wife dies and he has an uncomfortable relationship with his son whom he rarely sees.

The most dramatic scene in the film is when Ahmad sees two men selling cotton candy and musical recorders. Getting excited when he sees the instrument he leaves his pushcart stand. Running through the streets of New York he catches the men selling the recorders. Excited with his one-dollar purchase he walks back to his stand where he sees the most devastating thing possible. His pushcart is gone. Somebody stole his job away from him. He just paid off the final payment on the cart and was making progress in starting a new life since his wife past away. Not only was Ahmad’s cart stolen, but also a beginning to a new life was now gone. This left him back where he started with nothing. His pushcart was his everything. It represented the baby and son he couldn’t hold on to.  He took care of his cart every single day, cleaning it, pushing it everywhere, and serving the morning risers in Manhattan. His cart was his security and all he was comfortable with. Devastated by his past his pushcart symbolized a clean slate. Getting closer and closer to a good life is all shattered in a matter of maybe 5 minutes. The stealing of his pushcart was the end of everything. He is left naked and lost in the big city of Manhattan.

This film is a heartbreaking story of a man with a daunting past trying to escape his pain and simply survive. Sadly, he and cannot seem to find a way to do so.

 

 

 

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Man on Wire, 2005

Man on Wire, which was released in 2005, is a documentary about Philippe Petit’s high-wire walking experiences focusing on one specific walk. In 1974 he does the biggest wire walk of his life. His greatest love and greatest idea is to walk between the Twin Towers World Trade Center buildings in New York. This whole documentary is based off of Philippe Petit’s book To Reach The Clouds.

A reoccurring theme in the documentary is focus. An entertainer at heart, Philippe always had a vision and stuck with it until he conquered it. Riding around town on his unicycle, juggling items, and balancing himself and things on him, were just a few of his talents. Walking on wires became his biggest hobby. In the film the word “beautiful” is said a lot. Everything Philippe did and everything he saw was “beautiful” in his eyes.

Philippe Petit’s biggest task he set for himself was to talk across the Twin Towers on a wire. An example of his focus is shown when he is training in a safe setting near the woods. To train he tied a wire from two trees to give him the most realistic experience as possible before doing the real thing. While walking across the wire the look in Petit’s eyes was something that was truly beautiful. The passion, focus, and calmness, which this man possessed, were all being translated into his wire walking. A man from the United States who was helping him train said that he has never seen anything like this in his life. He was said that smiles a lot while setting everything up and was really friendly, but when he gets on the wire he is the most focus person that he has ever seen. Training outside between two trees Philippe realizes that he needs to factor in the wind that might be there being 1,300 feet off the ground. To help deal with this he asks his friends to shake the wire and have it wobble up, down, left, and right so that he will not be surprised with anything that comes his way. At his requests his friends did this. The amount of concentration and control that this man had shows the seriousness and passion he has about this hobby i.e. talent.

While being focused walking on the wire, he was also focused off the wire in preparation for his greatest walk. Philippe does everything in his power to prepare as well as he can for his big walk in New York. He builds models, draws sketches, pulls a team together and much more. He plans a byzantine plan to sneak into the Trade Center to execute his master plan.

Philippe Petit had a vision, determination and ultimately success.  He remains a role model and inspiration to many who want to focus and fulfill a dream.

 

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Good Bye, Lenin!, 2004

The movie, Good Bye, Lenin!, released in 2004, is a German film. It is about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the overtaking of Eastern German civilization by Western German civilization. Germany’s civilization goes from being a socialist community to a capitalist community. It tells a story of a mother who has a heart attack because of the shock of change. In a coma for eight months, she is clueless as to what has happened to Germany. When out of her coma her son and daughter trick her into thinking that nothing has changed at all over the last eight months.

Like Quiz Show this movie shares a similar theme of deception. However, Good Bye Lenin! has the same theme but it is different because of the characters’ motives. In this film the kids lie and deceive their mom because they do not want to hurt her or jeopardize her life. All their intentions are good as opposed to the Quiz Show in which they lie basically for money and higher television ratings.

Throughout the whole movie Alex Kerner and his sister Ariane are trying to deceive their mother Christiane into thinking that Germany is the same as it was before she has her heart attack. It is Alex’s idea to trick their mother and comes up with several creative ways to do so. For example, his mom loves “Spreewald Pickles”. Attempting to find them he has no luck in any of the grocery stores, because after the change all the local grocery stores were wiped out of their original products. Alex wants to make sure everything is as normal and perfect for his mother. He looks in trash bins and all over in attempt to find an empty “Spreewald” jar. After looking for a very long time, Alex finally finds a jar. He cleans it and fills it with another brand of pickles deceiving his mother. Alex would go out of his way to make to do the smallest thing to make his mother happy. Going out of his way and showing compassion was Alex’s way of protecting his mother from reality even if it included some deception.

Another example of an inconvenience that drives Alex to deceive his mother again is when she decides that she wants to watch television. Freaking out at first, Alex and his friend Denis film and edit their own news. They do this so that Christiane will feel like she is being updated by the news when she really isn’t. Anytime Christiane would question Alex or see something peculiar Alex and Denis would film a segment explaining why those odd things existed. Every time there was a scare of his mom finding out, Alex would do everything he needed to do to cover it up.

Overall, this film is all about deception motivated by love. Alex is a loving, caring son who goes extremely out of his way to make his mother feel safe, healthy, and happy.

 

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Quiz Show, 1994

The Quiz Show, which was released in 1994, is an American film. It is about a television show scandal during the 1950’s that is based off of a true story. The plot of the film is about a game show called Twenty-One. It is a quiz show that has two contestants on it and they are quizzed about factual knowledge and whoever gets the most questions correct wins. The scandal during the film is about the show being fixed with one of the contestants being given the answers. A theme that occurs throughout the film is lying. Throughout the whole film there are many stories within the story dealing with dishonesty.

The first time in the film where the audience sees a taste of a lie is when Twenty-One is not receiving great ratings anymore. Herbert Stempel had been the winner week after week. Enright and Freedman who help manage the television show see this and decide to take action. They bring in Charles Van Doren who is the son of a very well known couple. They encourage him to get the answers from them before the show so that he will know all the answers. Enright and Freedman want Charles to lie and cheat on their own show. Refusing to cheat, Charles says he will go on the show but will not cheat. Enright and Freedman then go to Hebert and tell him that he must take a dive and lose on purpose. Promising Hebert things in return, he decides to take a dive. Charles Van Doren becomes the new champion on the show after Herbert loses on purpose. Herbert is lied to, because he did not receive his end of the deal from Enright and Freedman. They promised him a future in television and did not follow through leaving Herbert with nothing except complete bitterness. Charles being the new champion continues to win week after week. Ratings for the show are doing extremely well and the television viewers across America have a new man to look up to. As we see the fame with Charles rise we learn that he receives the answers to the questions on the show. As the film continues more and more lies unravel. We find out that every person who has been the winner on the show consistently wins because they receive the questions and answers from the people who work for NBC. Herbert’s wife finds out that he lied to her because she had no clue that he had been receiving answers while being on the show. The whole show is rigged and is made up of relationships full of deception.

NBC and Twenty-One lie to the audience across the nation. Hebert and Charles lie and cheat deceiving all of the viewers in America. Enright and Freedman lie to Herbert about giving him future in television. And Herbert lies to his wife about receiving answers before the show would air.

In the beginning of the film, the audience sees the show as being totally normal and real. Everything seems fair and happy and everyone is content. When in reality, behind the scenes, everything is a farce and everyone is deceived. Through all the lies and dishonesty the show is morally twisted even though it is entertaining to America.

 

 

 

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Cinema Paradiso, 1988

Cinema Paradiso, released in 1988 is an Italian film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film is about the flash back and childhood of Toto and his journey to becoming a movie projectionist.

The most interesting and entertaining character in Cinema Paradiso is Toto. A reoccurring theme and focus of the film is about the younger Toto. He always seems to find himself in trouble because of his curiosity and love for film. Though he finds himself in many awkward situations, he is an extremely witty and smart child.


An example of Toto’s wit is when he and Alfredo are on a walk. Exhausted and warm, Toto gets lazy and does not want to walk anymore. He knows that if he stops or complains he could potentially get in trouble. Grumpy and ready to be done with this walk, Toto falls to the ground in pain. He starts screaming and begins to grab his ankle. Worried, quickly Alfredo comes to him. The scene cuts and then goes to the following scene with Toto on a horse with Alfredo riding on the back. Toto’s smile could not be any bigger. This is one of many examples of Toto’s wit.

Throughout the whole movie Toto is learning and spending time at the local movie house. His greatest mentor in the film is Alfredo. Toto’s father is fighting in the war, which leads Alfredo to develop into a father figure for him. Sneaking into the movie theater, hiding behind the curtains, Toto watches the edits that are being made to the movie. Laughing and smiling, Toto gets to see all of the scenes that are cut out for many movies. At that time there were no physical and sexual scenes allowed in movies. After Toto watches the run through of the film he would run up to the film booth and watch Alfredo ever so closely while he makes edits and works on the film reels and machines. Constantly getting into trouble, Toto always tried to steal the cut out scenes from the film. After collecting them for a while, Toto accumulated many bits and pieces of film that he would look at by a candle before going to bed. Reciting lines from the film and acting out scenes becomes a ritual for him. He keeps all of his film and some pictures in a bin under his family’s bed. His love for film took over his life. From when Toto wakes up till he goes to bed he is always thinking about film. When Alfredo and Toto come back from their walk, where Toto fakes an injury then come across Toto’s family who is crying and panic. Apparently the film under the bed was kept too close to the fire and caught flame. Film back then was still flammable and was very dangerous to have by fire. Toto is yelled at and hit during this scene by his mother. His mother also blames Alfredo for giving him film and for helping develop his passion for film. His love for film almost burnt down his family’s home.

Overall, through Toto’s wit and passion for film he truly develops into an admirable character in the film. He becomes extremely good at what he does and offers the audience an entertaining plot.

 

 

 

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Aguirre, the Wrath of God, 1972

Aguirre, the Wrath of God was released in 1972. It was written, produced, and directed by Werner Herzog. The film is a Western German adventure film that takes place in 1560. The plot of the film is about a thousands conquistadors on a journey to find the city of El Dorado. On their quest, some of the conquistadors get off track from their original plan and lose track of reality. The leader of the group is eventually overpowered and killed by the group. The men follow a new leader whom ironically led the group to their death. This leaves the audience pondering about what the conquistadors are doing and thinking about the leadership role of the group.

Dramatic Analysis: Describe the sets, costumes, and make-up if these elements of the film’s design are significant.

The set of the film takes place in the Peruvian rainforest. The characters in the film climb through mountains, ride intense water rapids, and cut through vines in the jungle. Throughout the film is outdoors, a scenic view of nature everywhere.

The costumes in the film are very tribal and almost knightly looking. The men are dressed up in armor and look ready for battle throughout the film. The women in the film wear corsets with white full-necked blouses. Some of their blouses have white ruffles around the neck. Not much of their bodies are showing except for their heads.

Surprisingly, the amount of make-up used in the film is very minimal. The men are dressed up in their battle armor, so they look rough and dirty. On some of the characters it looks as if there might be a very small if any amounts of make-up on around the eyes, but it is too hard to tell. The women in the film are not wearing make-up either. Dressed well and looking clean, the women are all natural looking showing their soft facial features.

The elements of the sets, costumes, and make-up are all in keeping with each other, understated and pretty simple. Everything is relatively modest. Once said, “A man only brings what he needs for the hunt”. In this film the style of the set, costume, and make-up seem to fit the quote perfectly because of its simplicity.

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Play Time, 1967

The film Play Time, released in 1967, is an in-color French film. The dialogue primarily is through subtitles with some verbal audio occasionally occurring between the actors. This film is a comedy making fun of the modern world and globalization. Visually, glass things are predominantly featured in the movie; modern skyscraping buildings, sleek furniture, multilane roads. Along with the shiny images is the gleaming cast dressed to the hilt.

A common subject in Play Time is glass. Cinematically and comically, glass is featured throughout the film. For example, one scene takes place at a nice restaurant with glass doors. People are walking in and out and are enjoying themselves. People are dressed up in suites and dresses, dining and socializing in a restaurant. At one point during an evening of heavy traffic in the restaurant, man pulls the glass door too hard or too quickly and shatters the entire side. Bits and pieces of glass are all over the ground and swept up quickly by an employee of the restaurant. After that, the host working at the front door takes the big circular handle that was attached to the door and pretends as if the door was never shattered, opening and closing it for people walking in and out. This scene is comical because obviously the door is non-existent. The man’s calm, unaffected and nonchalant behavior is very funny.

Glass, glass, glass… it is everywhere in this film. Almost every building and door is made out of glass. The cinematic approach in filming the glass was with a focus on reflections. Set in France, there is a lot of beautiful buildings and monuments to film.  In one scene, a man is opening a glass door and almost had it fully opened until he looked and saw the Eiffel Tower in the reflection. The sight of the Eiffel Tower reflected perfectly clean, spotless door. This was a most creative way to capture such an image. Again, a situation very similar to the Eiffel Tower one occurs again, but this time with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The best scene involving glass in the film is when a man is doing window cleaning. A man is wiping down a large window that is on a sort of swivel. While wiping down this window, facing the busy streets of Paris, the glass window begins to swing back and forth while being cleaned. As it is swinging, you see the reflection of the clouds and a reflection of a bus full of people on it. Glass swinging back and forth and seeing the reflection of the beautiful white clouds and the bus full of people truly gives off a stunning image.

In conclusion, this film from is from a comical, modern standpoint. Its crystal clear glass emphasis and cinematography give it a spotless if not impeccable grade for being an unusual and most enjoyable classic film.

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