Film Finals

Question One: The Conformist

The Conformist was directed by Benardo Bertolucci. This film is focussed on Italy’s fascist inclinations. The director used several intriguing characters, cinematic language and stylish visuals in order to convey fascism in Italy (Bertolucci). The film seeks to persuade viewers to understand the difference between visual illustration and direction. It was developed from a novel published by Alberto Moravia which is about Marcello Clerici. During this time, Clerici was planning his marriage with Giulia. Clerici was also to be welcomed to the fascist party where he was expected to assassinate Quadri, who was by then an insurgent in Paris.

Bartolucci’s film used “allegory of the cave” to illustrate the rise of fascism in Italy. Fascism involves taking commands without questions (Bertolucci). As a result, fascism revolves around a person's failure to engage in reasoning. Fascists are purely tyrannical, and it is expected that their word is final at all times. Therefore, the leader needs to be cruel and must be able to issue commands to people (Caprotti 12). It is based on the fact that other people are incapable of reasoning, and the leader does provide reasons on behalf of the people. Everyone in the country is expected to be inferior to the leader. This explains why fascists are overheard in the broadcasts all the time. The methods fascists uses are based on individual interests and not on the interest of the people (Trotsky 18).

A cave implies a hidden place, and thus, allegory of the cave is a metaphor that is used to distinguish between perception and reality. This was achieved through the use of ace cinematographer, tracking handhelds and shots (Bertolucci). In addition, it is also achieved through the use of different timelines, characterized by different styles and seamless. The author also illustrates this by alluding to a man who had a troubled past. The man is also uncertain of his future. The troubled pat represented the dark history of Italy. This implies the perceived future was not clearly visible, and at the same time, the past had been faced with a lot of troubles. It was more likely that even the future would be as miserable as the past.

As an allegory of the cave, the film has extremely difficult themes to understand. It is also acutely radical, and its statements were difficult to understand. Watching the film, one is left confused by the difference between security and politics, politics and religion, religion and morality and morality and sexuality (Caprotti 13). Tension is also expressed at different stages of the film. In addition, shadow, light, movements, sound and gestures are also used. In general, Bertolucci’s film uses the Plato’s allegory of the cave (Bertolucci). Accordingly, all human beings are prisoners that are put in dark caves. At the dark cave, human beings are unable to distinguish real objects and mere perceptions. All the characters in the film are portrayed as prisoners of Plato’s cave. This is because everyone  was in a confused state of mind.

Question Four: Kagemusha

Kagemusha’s publications were initially about his autobiography while he was in his homeland, in Japan, until he was finally released (Kurosawa). Kagemusha drama was produced in 1980. His writings were focused on his creator, thereby illustrating the difference between reality and illusions (Kurosawa). The theme of identity is manifested in several occasions. At the beginning, two moviemakers expressed their love for Kurosawa’s movies. He identified George Lucas and Francis Coppola in America approached him, so that they could help him in his career (Kurosawa). These two individuals indirectly assisted him in obtaining funding. In fact, he was in dire need of finances, and Allan Ladd provided the finance in return for certain rights. At this time, he had identified with Toho to raise funds, but Toho was unable to take care of his welfare.

Kagemusha or the The shadow warrior is based on curiosity. While he was studying in Japan, he realized that he was in a battle in which the whole army was destroyed. It was quite fascinating because he saw all the generals die. Again, on the contrary, no one died in the battle. This was peculiar because the two events are impossible to occur at the same time (Kurosawa). However, he realizes later that all the other armies operated under a single shadow had the character called Shingen Tekeda. The other identity is manifested when a thief prevented the attack of a vulnerable clan through impersonation of a dying warlord (Kurosawa).

When Kurosawa replaced Shintaro Katsu by with Tatsuya Nakadi as the box officer, the decision was hugely controversial (Kurosawa). Therefore, the director took an unorthodox position in order to avoid revalations that all the battles involve. The director majorly focused on the response made during the attacks. Kagemusha choses to explain the cause of the battle by describing how people interacted and how they were motivated. The director ironically differs with the fact that real battles do not require targeting the main opponent.

The theme of identity is revealed by people accepting reality or denying it, so that they end up suffering. People operate in the shadow of others (Kurosawa). For instance, the protagonist thief who was guarding the warlord denied the fact that the warlord was wounded in an assassination plot (Kurosawa). This causes an illusion in the eyes of the enemies that the warlord is still alive and yet he is wounded. He hid the identity of what transpired in the assassination plot. The film failed to give the additional information about the thief, including his background and name. However, we see him rising to a level of being a protagonist. Indeed, it can be concluded that the film expressed several kinds of identity. There is physical identity, emotional identity and cultural identity.

Question five: Archetypes in Peter Greenaways’ Film

Archetype is a symbol or theme that recurs in different places and at varios time. It originated from the 20th century when the comparative studies of mythology took place. It has been used in myths, folklore, literature, rituals, and dreams to signify the universal element in human experience (Jung 6). Symbols, such as rose, the sun and serpent are portrayed as recurring. Similarly, such themes as death love and conflict are also recurring. In addition, various mythical settings, like stock characters, paradisaical garden and other main characters such as quest and feud occurs (Jung 7). Most importantly, death and rebirth is a reflection of the cycles in life and seasons. It seeks to explain the origin and end of things in life. In the film, the cook, thief, his wife, and her lover, Peter Greenaways used archetypes to reflect Carl Jung’s idea of structure of the personality.

Archetypes are the images and patterns that resemble what are formed in the minds of people. This may take the form of perception or thought. Therefore, archetypes are a replication of God’s mind in the minds of human beings (Jung 8). The images and symbols of archetypes are the collective unconsciousness that manifests itself in one way or the other, especially in dreams.

The hypothesis of archetype is the study of how things were formed. It considers psyche as the most basic level of life. It organizes and coordinates the homeostatic balance of the psyche to ensure the development of the psyche’s programs influences maturation (Jung 11). The self is the greatest archetype that describes the basic skeletal formation of human kind. In human daily experience, archetype creates images and patterns that are manifested in the individual’s psyche (Jung 12). Many images which are closely linked to the myths, religion and ideas are created. The images and patterns are also manifested in symbolic dreams and different forms of consciousness. The images are also linked to instinct groups that provide it with meaning and direction. Instincts are psychotic, and so is archetype (Jung). As a result, it is rooted in reality beyond the body. When the archetypal images, impulses and psyche unite, they form the unconscious part of a human being.

Question Six: Farewell by Concubine

Farewell my Concubine is a Chinese drama film that was produced in 1993. It was directed by Chen Kiage who was one of directors who contributed to the revolution of Chinese films. The film contained several works of the fifth generation movement. In the film, Kiage bids farewell to his concubines. In China, concubines were kept by various warlords and other emperors, so that one was allowed to keep as many as he wished. Wives  brought concubines to their husbands. The film is an exploration of the 20th century political turmoil in China that affected families, individuals and groups.

The film demonstrated the lives of two men who were against past injustices that occurred in a country because of the political turmoil after Cultural Revolution. The two men were Xialolou and Dievi whose lives were profoundly affected by Japan that invaded China. One of the two men played the female roles while the other acted as the stage king. As a result, Dievi became king Xialolou’s concubine. They had not performed in the last twenty-two years. When they arrived at the performance hall, they were greeted, and a spot light fell on them. The female actor walked into the Chinese crowded market carrying a child in her arms. The mother took the baby to the troupe of boys, but the Master Guan rejected the boy because he had superfluous finger and had a birth defect. However, after cutting the fingers, the boy was welcomed into the troupe by Shitou and was named Douzi (Chen). With time, Douzi escaped from the troupe but later returned giving the performance by an opera master, Laizi. As Douzi returned, he found master Guan beating Shitou for having allowed him to escape. Douzi then accepted his punishment. He was badly beaten by master Guan. Finally, Laizi ended up hanging himself.

The film presented the lives of people who went through the difficult times like the invasion of the Japanese, warlord period, and civil wars. Their individual lives are in complete turmoil, thus costing them their status in the Cultural Revolution. In the end of the story, Douzi and Shitou became the stars of Beijing opera and changed their names as Chieng Dievi and Duan Xialou (Chen). They too got in love; however, their sexual make-ups did not change. Concisely, there existed complex relationships between the various characters in the film. This signified the political unrest that surrounded China in the 20th century. The country suffered Japanese invasion, communist revolution, and Cultural Revolution. The Chinese opera has since not changed because no substantial change has been realized in China despite the revolution.

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