1. PERSEPOLIS (2007) & GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).
*How does the theme of survival and having a female protagonist relate in these two films?
In the film gone with the wind, Scarlet O’Hara, the daughter of Gerald O’Hara is the major character, and she carries most of the burden of the characters, who are related to her in one way or the other. Scarlet struggles with marriage throughout the film since she cannot find her ideal man. In the beginning, she is surrounded by many admirers. On the contrary, she is not interested in these men and admires Ashley Wilkes, who intends to marry Melanie Hamilton. Despite the increasing admirers, Scarlet is tormented and is jealous when she sees Ashley and Melanie together. Scarlet struggles to find Ashley’s love up to the end of the film. She realizes that Ashley is stricken and cannot be with her. Her family members die including her father and she has to live without Rhett, her husband whom she does not love until the end when he leaves Tara promising never to return after their daughter dies.
This film also presents the theme of survival through the life of this female protagonist, Scarlet. She is forced to run away from her home during war and works as a volunteer nurse to assist the wounded soldiers. After realizing that Ashley cannot marry her, Scarlet tries to make money through marrying Frank for the tax money, and uses his money to build a successful mill. She even shames Ashley into working there. Things seem not to work very well for Scarlet who has to bear the pain of losing her baby, her pregnancy, her cousin, friends, her father, and her grandmother among many others who are killed in the war. Nevertheless, she has to survive and does not allow herself to go hungry.
In the film Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi, also known as Marji, is the protagonist and the film begins when she cannot board a plane to Iran. This film moves from the time when Marji is only 9 years old and goes through her life into adulthood. Marji has to survive the political fighting in her country and prejudice in the school where she is sent to study. She eventually falls in love with one of the men in Vienna, Austria where she studies in a Christian School and they finally break up on her eighteenth birthday when she finds out that he had been cheating on her. Marji returns home and falls in love with another man who dies in the war. Back at home, Marji resorts to personal survival tactics in order to protect herself from the hostilities of the land including accusing a man falsely of making her pass at her to avoid being arrested for wearing makeup. She also resorts to marrying her boyfriend to avoid the religious police scrutiny. Like Scarlet in the “gone with the wind” movie, Marjane faces deaths of several members of her family who die from sicknesses and the war. Marji had the dreams of becoming a prophet when she was still a little girl and emulated Bruce Lee. However, as the movie comes to an end, she sees the Vision of God and Karl Marx reminding her of the most important things in life as well as encouraging her to continue with living.
2. IN COLD BLOOD (1967) & PSYCHO (1960)
* Is a sense of realism achieved from story to film in "In Cold Blood"? Psycho also deals with murder, does it achieve realism or is it fantasy?
The film ”In Cold Blood (1967)”revolves around two small time ex convicts. These ex convicts, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock have been recently released from prison and rejoined the community. They do not seem to be very intelligent when they are by themselves and probably would have been the same petty criminals they had always been even before their arrest and imprisonment in the first instance. They are classified as a deadly duo in the film. In this film, Perry appears as the dreamer who dreams of becoming a famous Western and Country singer as well as finding buried treasures and gold. Nevertheless, he portrays the sense of realism, as he is the most realistic of the pair, especially when they are planning a crime.
For the sake of realism, the film directors ensure that they filmed the movie in Holcomb Kansas at the Clutter farm where the actual murders took place as the other actual locations. Additionally, during the trial section of the film, six of the jurors were used as actors in the jury box. When Hickock was in prison, he learned from an inmate that a farmer in Holcomb, Kansas having a safe in his farmhouse with ten thousand dollars inside it. Upon his release from prison, Hickock goes to Kansas and picks up Smith at the bus station as they make plans to drive to Holcomb to find the safe in the Clutter family’s farmhouse. Perry, the most realistic of the duo argues that he is worried of the fact that they do not have any stockings to cover their faces, but the other two argue that they would not need these protection gears since they would not be seen by anybody during the ordeal. Hickock’s prison friend confesses to the prison officials that he had told Hickock stories about the safe and the money in it. They are arrested and during their hanging, the hangman in the film is the same man who performed the real hanging. This film fully achieves the sense of realism through the characters, location, and events.
The movie “Psycho (1960)” also achieves realism in different aspects. The wardrobe that Marion Crane wears was not custom made for her. However, they were purchased off the rack form ordinary clothing stores. The filmmakers in this regard intended to ensure that women viewers to identify with the character by having her wear the clothes that an ordinary secretary would afford during that time. Additionally, the name of the female protagonist in the movie was changed to Marion form Mary because a real Mary Crane existed in Phoenix. Hitchcock ensured that he used realism in this film so that he could bring the audience’s attention to the solution of the mystery in the film. Finally, Stefano was obstinate to see a toilet on-screen to display realism. He wanted the toilet to flush, and writes the scene where Marion adds up the money and flushes the paper down the toilet making it an irremovable part of the film.
3. CASABLANCA (1942) & TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD (1962)
The movie “to kill a Mockingbird” portrayed racism that was still evident in the South several years after the civil war. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the racially segregated small Alabama town of the post war 1930s. The lawyer agrees to defend a young African American man falsely accused of raping a white woman. The trial jury is unfair in the trial on racial basis. Most of the people in the town persuade Atticus out of the case, but he decides to continue. When Rick Blaine, who owns a nightclub in Casablanca discovers that his former lover Isla is in town with Victor Laszlo, a resistance leader from Czechoslovakia, Laszlo is detained and the Blaine plan with Isla to run off together.
A SOLDIER'S STORY (1984) & RAISIN IN THE SUN (1961) & WEST SIDE STORY (1961).
The film “A Raisin in the Sun” powerfully conveys the intergenerational and inter-familial conflicts arising from different ambitions, dreams, and hopes of the characters. The film was set in the 1940, but the filming was delayed until 1961 at the onset of the civil rights movement in America. In this film, the multifaceted racial concerns facing the American racial minority are addressed as well as the effects of these dialogues on prejudice. Conflicts between pride in racial and cultural heritage, pursuing the American dream and idealism as well as racial and generational biases are also addressed with precision. The other two films also present themes of racism in the American history where racial minorities were ill-treated in favor of the whites.
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) & MEMENTO (2001)
These films are neo-nor films. They differ from noirs in the sense that they combine horror with crime. These neo-noir films present black and whites in the community as well as the importance memory, which was not present in the noir films. The characters in these films differ from noir characters since the former present much realism than the latter.
MALTESE FALCON (1941) & MILDRED PIERCE (1945)
These nor films share thematic similarities since they both entails investigations about criminal activities in the respective movies. Mildred’s second husband is murdered in the film Mildred Pierce (1945) and private investigators meet their prospective client, Miss Ruth Wonderly, who is looking for her missing husband. In these films, the plots are similar in the means with which the investigations are carried out and the activities as well as the uncertainties in the clients’ minds. In their find pride in one's racial and cultural heritage ings, the investigators solve the miseries in both cases, but the clients are not satisfied and they believe that justice has not been served. These movies also have the similarities in that they present female protagonist themes. The women in both cases struggle in the end to earn a living by doing different jobs such as working as waitressing position at a local restaurant before later buying her own establishment, which grows into a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California in Mildred Pierce (1945). Additionally, the detectives in these movies are not only aimed at helping the infected people to get the justice they intend to receive, however, they are interested in using the money they receive from their clients as they constantly request for funds without justifiable reasons.
Capote, Truman. “In Cold Blood.” Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1974. Print