Film is known to be the construction of images projected in rapid succession onto a screen to create the illusion of movement. However, this may be the technical explanation for what is happening but film stretches far beyond imagination and it is probably the most powerful medium of communication that the human mind has conceived. One of the great gifts of the cinematic experience is escapism; the opportunity to seek temporary respite from the high and low dramas that fill up our days and to lose ourselves in the taste of popcorn and the flickering images of shadow and light for a couple of hours. It is this reason why we watch certain films; it takes us away from some of the grim realities of life. Although many films are made purely for a didactic purpose a number of films have been made for their escapist values. Richard Dyer talks about the way in which musicals offer a ‘wish-fulfilment’ or a ‘utopia’ from our day-to-day lives.
He states that musicals, whether it be film or a pantomimes, don’t ‘present models of utopian worlds’ but ‘what it would feel like’. By this I believe that Dyer feels that it would be essentially inappropriate to present utopian worlds on film mainly because utopias are created on a personal level. However, his view concerns the empowerment of the lives that are conveyed in ‘escapist’ films. It embodies the feelings that a utopia would bring; freedom, happiness and beauty. A prime example of the want to escape the realities of life would be the type of films made during World War II.
A life in the day of? Paul Gambrill Here is a Picture of me. Sadly, it? s not very good-probably because I HATE having my photo taken. My name is Paul Gambrill; I live in a house in Felixstowe that is very close to Safeway (I can buy a pie in under 1 minute); I am 15 but change my age to suit my mood-I can go from 10 to 20 in one day; I like cool things and hate most things / people . ? ? ? ? ? ? ...
One that stands out is Sullivan’s Travels made in 1941. The film revolves around a Hollywood director John Sullivan who, tired of making comedies, wishes his next film to be more relevant and meaningful and sets out on a journey to discover what living in poverty would be like. However, in one of the opening scenes where Sullivan declares he is going to make such a film – ‘a true canvas of the suffering of humanity’, his associate Hadrian asks whether they should make a nice musical instead. This contrasts Sullivan’s ideas immensely but ironically sums up the film ahead as Sullivan’s Travels skilfully mixes every conceivable cinematic genre type and tone of film possible – tragic melodrama, farce, prison film, serious drama, social documentary, slapstick, romance, comedy, action, and even musical. The overall message that comes from the film is that the best films are what make people laugh, as conveyed in the scene where the prisoners are taken to church to watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and it is this feeling of overwhelming enjoyment and happiness that comes from watching the film.
Tennessee Williams also used the idea of escapism within his play, ‘The Glass Menagerie’ (1944), where the main character Tom used the cinema not only to escape his house but on a much larger scale The Great Depression. I also believe that this mirrors Tennessee Williams himself and his desire to escape the Second World War and the tough past he had with his family, his father in particular. Although the War was a time when people wanted to escape the harsh realities of the world, escapism is still used in many films today. A recent example would be the escapist nature of the Harry potter books, the first of which being made into a film in 2001.
The film’s producers have been heard to touchingly point out how good it is to have such a film on our screens after the tragic events of September 11 as it lightens the mood. Another strong example of escapism is within the French film, Amelie (2001).
Amelie is a film, which transcends mere escapism. Amelie is such a sensuous and vital celebration of life’s dramas that we are left with a vivid love of life. The is about Amelie, a young woman who had a decidedly unusual childhood; misdiagnosed with an unusual heart condition, Amelie didn’t attend school with other children, but spent most of her time in her room, where she developed a keen imagination and an active fantasy life. Her mother died in a freak accident when Amelie was eight, and her father Raphael had limited contact with her, since his presence seemed to throw her heart into high gear.
The film, El Norte, is a believable portrayal of a Guatemalan family's struggles in the 1980 s. The story is divided into three parts. The first part of the story takes place in a village in Guatemala. The Xuncax family is in danger when the father, an activist leader, helps organize the local workers. Because of the father's activism and his attempt to preserve what rightfully belongs to them, he ...
Despite all this, Amelie has grown into a healthy and beautiful young woman who works in a cafe and has a whimsical, romantic nature. After a chain of extraordinary events leads to the discovery of a tin box, Amelie is reminded that life can be fleeting and she decides it’s time for her to intervene in the lives of those around her. In my opinion, Amelie is about one girl bringing happiness to many people but the film also brings happiness to those watching it as it creates a vivid and imaginative view of life in the beautiful idealistic settings and scenery that brings a sense of fantasy to the film. Turning away from escapism, there are many films that I can only describe as having the opposite effect. An effect that doesn’t draw the audience into the film but, aims to teach them about society. They would normally focus mainly on social or political issues or inadequacies in today’s world.
An example of this would be Gas Attack. Gas Attack was made in 2001 and finished just before the tragic events of September 11 and is based around an anthrax attack on a block of flats that houses asylum seekers. Throughout the film parallels are made with the foot and mouth virus and images from racist riots in Bradford aim to show us that racism is still a big factor in today’s society. In my opinion I believe this film has more of an impact being watched now, after September 11, than it would have done before. What makes this film so different from the classic escapist film is the fact that the ending is an unsatisfactory and ambiguous one. The classic escapist film generally has a happy ending where everything turns out just the way it should be.
This is not the case with Gas Attack as the ending tells us that the anthrax attacker is still at large, leaving the audience unsatisfied and doubtful about what may happen next. Gas Attack gives us a dose of realism and sends us a message of how catastrophic events could turn if the racial tension in some areas takes a turn for the worse. However, I don’t believe that this film is suited for the cinema. It takes on a documentary style to emphasise its intent and therefore it would be more suited for television. This being said, Gas Attack could evoke an element of fear within its audiences. The film is very close to reality and in the light of September 11 the prospect of an attack like the one shown is very real.
Schools Should Prepare Children For Life in Society In today's information society people often think that characters from TV-shows or talks how guests reflect our society. Although that opinion is rather based on the disability of people to use information than on any logical thoughts, there is something every talks how reminds us of: people are not perfect. So, I say, society can not be perfect ...
In modern society there is a need for a utopian escape to other worlds, a necessity to become someone else and a compulsion to lead a life we don’t have. We may not all feel this way, some of us may have all we want and be content with our lives, but for other film is seen to be a romantic escape for a few hours. I believe that it is the hope and dreams to live out our utopia that keeps us living, that maintains the way we work and it is this that stems from film. Richard Dyer rightly states that an escapist film complies with the ‘needs of society… created by real inadequacies’. He declares that ‘scarcity’ is solved by ‘abundance’, ‘exhaustion’ is replaced with ‘energy’, ‘dreariness’ overshadowed by ‘intensity’, ‘manipulation’s ubstituted with ‘transparency’ and ‘fragmentation’s ur passed by ‘community’.
He states that although entertainment is just another industry out to make money, it is also a necessity. I believe that this is true and that this is why we love to watch such films as Star Wars and Jurassic Park because they are presenting worlds that we will never see, things that will never happen, not in our lifetime anyway. It is also why we love to watch musicals, how we enjoy watching regular people like ourselves being transformed into the things we ” ve always wanted to be – a geeky schoolgirl being transformed into the coolest girl in school; a nun who ends up being the wife of a captain; or the poor orphan who finds a family. Whatever it is that we want to be, I believe that it is worth being there for a couple of hours than to never have been there at all. Words – 1, 484 Bibliography Richard Dyer – Entertainment and Utopia in Only Entertainment (1977) Filmography Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Director – Preston Sturges Amelie (2001) Director – Jean-Pierre Jeune t Tennessee Williams – The Glass Menagerie (1944) (Play) Gas Attack (2001) Director – Kenny Glenn an.
Choosing a movie, do you take notice to whether it is a Director's cut, the original version, or simply grab the chosen movie and pop it in taking no notice of which version is in hand? Is there even a difference? Because a director's cut is simply a version of a movie with various cuts made by the director's choosing, if watching both versions of Ridley Scott's, "Blade Runner," the subtle ...