The Art of Film midterm exam

Tom Jones and Amadeus are great movies. Modern Times is ok but not really my taste. Can’t remember Bread and Chocolate enough to know what I thought of it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 12:57 PM
Mid-Term Exam 

1)    I believe the opening scene of a movie is important because it sets the overall tone of the movie and also serves to grab the attention of the moviegoer and keep them around for the length of the film. The first scene can explain a lot about the movie and its central characters in a very short time. For instance, in Franco Brusati’s Bread and Chocolate we learn a lot about the movies main character, Nino, through his actions and interactions with other people.

The movie begins with Nino in a public park. He is well dressed, leading viewers to believe he is someone important. However we quickly we learn who he really is. He loudly eats a sandwich and disrupts a group of musicians. Now it is a public park and he has a right to be there as much as them, but does he need to eat so loudly? Then he bothers a nanny while she tries to watch her charge. She does not want to talk to him but he persists anyway, pestering her with questions. He also invites himself into this boy’s game of soccer. We now know that Nino is rude and a pest with a very
self absorbed personality. We can understand his behavior the rest of the movie because we know who he is.

The major theme of Bread and Chocolate is Nino not fitting in anywhere Switzerland. He is rejected everywhere he goes and the people and places that don’t reject him, he rejects them instead. The opening sequence shows Nino trying to fit in where he doesn’t belong, a repeating theme throughout the movie.

2)    The protagonist in Tom Jones is Tom Jones himself.

We meet him as a newborn baby and leave him as a young adult. He faces many obstacles in his life and they are all due to the fact that he is an orphan boy without real parents. Even though he is raised like he is the son of the landowner he is not actually a member of the family. He is technically an outsider to the family and to the town where he lives. These both allow him freedom while also placing obstacles in his path. Like Mozart Tom is a naïve and happy person, he does not understand the put-upon people must use to
get by and subsequently does not use them.

Tom does not pass from one stage of his life to another easily. Again he is an orphan, abandoned by his mother. Then he gets kicked out of the house through trickery by his step-brother. He gets into a fight with an army officer, gets robbed of all his money, is used by the aunt of his love and finally is framed for murder. Tom is a simpler happy person so is naturally a target for people looking to punish other people for their own shortcomings. Tom’s upbeat attitude and good heart get him through until the end when those that truly care for him finally expose themselves and come to his aid.

6)    What separates great artists from regular people is recognition of natural ability followed with an insane dedication to that ability. While others are dedicating themselves to fitting in to society the artist practices and perfects their ability. There is a trade-off as the artist is typically misunderstood as people try to make them conform to society’s rules and standards. Mozart was frowned upon because he laughed and let his music go naturally to its
destination. He lived in a world of kings and because he wasn’t royalty he was somehow less a person. He was superior because of his talent but that didn’t matter to people whose only purpose was to acquire power and money for themselves. Unlike Mozart, Joe Gideon was actually the king of his little world, everything revolved around him, people wanted to fit into his world. He was in charge so he didn’t have to tip toe around pleasing people. This may have been his downfall as no one was in a position to talk him out of his bad habits; he was the king and nobody tells the king what to do. Mozart as we saw had the ruling class working against him; they hated and resented his ability and carefree attitude and wanted to destroy him because of it.

When we look back at certain times in history it is the greatest people of that time whom we remember. I had never heard of Salieri until I first saw Amadeus but of course I knew who Mozart was. The king of Austria and his court were also unfamiliar to me. An academic may know them but the average person does not. The same with contemporary people like Bob Fosse. His musicals are performed over and over again even after his death but men with the money, who are they? The artist adds everlasting beauty and joy to the world.

3)    Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp is like someone banging their head against a wall. He fights and fights and fights against the powers that be, he never wins and he never gives up the fight. He is not the typical person. Performing tasks repeatedly are not for him. He could go be an artist somewhere but in Modern Times he has a point to get across. Are people machines to be used until they break down and get replaced? Well in society’s view people are merely machines or tools to be used. It has been that way ever since it was decided that humans needed a ruling class. It was made worse with the industrial revolution when it was discovered rich people could be made that much wealthier off the labor of others. The Little Tramp is stuck in this position in the beginning of the movie. When fired from his job he is temporarily freed from his chains but society doesn’t want free people and drags him back in.  He
continues to fight even though he does not know he is fighting. He merely wants to live and get by but seemingly has no idea to the amount of rules placed on the average person. Ever step he takes leads him into another wall. He never really interacts with the world. He is another artistic minded person who can’t fit in and is punished for it.

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