Roles of women in television have changed over the years, and it’s reflecting how women have grown in society. If women are rising to equality then why not portray that in film? The show Girls demonstrates a real aspect to what girls go through in life. Of course there will always be scenes that might seem unrealistic but that is bound to happen in television. Those scenes are limited. You go through the 4 main characters lives and you feel the emotions that drive each life event. Whether its awkwardness, shame or delight, you are able to connect with the characters on some level. You might not be a dependent, immature lost soul like the main character Hannah, but you might have been through an event or emotion she has gone through. With each character’s flaws shining brighter than their strengths, the characters are more realistic. The four women are young so they don’t have everything put together, which can be looked at as a weakness but they each work hard to find their happiness. That aspect of the show to me shows strength. Yes, a big portion talks about men, but finding love is a big topic in most people’s life. Including men in terms of love doesn’t show weakness or submission, it shows humility and realism, and the relationship scenes with the men are where the girls show the most strength. You are able to see them make their own decisions (some of them not the best ones) and overall take control of their life, which shows woman in power and in control. Not every woman has to be strong, and well put together to show a powerful female role. I think the four women in Girls are powerful characters that represent real women in society.
The movie The Visitor focuses on a college professor named Walter Vale, and his journey with immigrants Tarek and Zainab, a couple, who were found living in his apartment due to a scam. The movie’s theme is opening up. Walter’s character was very uptight and boring, not going outside his comfort zone. It is hinted that this is the result of his wife’s death, or that it was made worse by it. He tried to bring the feeling back into his life by learning the piano, but the rhythm and motions weren’t bringing the joy he expected. Then comes the Djembe, a african drum. Tarek starts to teach Walter after he finds him playing the drum when Walter thinks nobody’s home. At first hesitant, Walter soon loosens up and begins to play with rhythm and feeling. The drum was Walters gateway to opening and loosening up. Tarek tells him, “Walter I know you’re a very smart man but with the drum you have to remember not to think. Thinking just screws it up.” The drum lets Walter’s mind wander and get lost in the rhythm, ultimately, setting him free from the prison he has within his mind. Later in the story Tarek, accused of jumping the turnstile, is taken into custody. Finding out from Zainab that her and Tarek are illegal immigrants, Tarek is turned over to immigration. This brings Tarek’s mother and Walter’s love interest into the picture. With this new instrument that breaks some of the tension within him, he is able to open up with her. Through awkward minimal scenes we see the chemistry grow between them. He even steps out of his comfort zone by asking her out on a date to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. But soon after we find out that Tarek gets deported back to his country. This makes Walter explode in the immigration office and show more emotion than we have seen him with the whole movie, screaming, “We are not just helpless children.”He includes himself, knowing what it feels like to be trapped.
While I was making my way towards the Media Center, I liked the neighborhood. The hipster, new age feel it had with the cobblestone streets and hip stores and cafe’s. This set the tone of the Media Center. Inside is clean and organized, which I liked. The people also seemed friendly and relaxed. It’s disappointing, as well as understandable that you have to pay to do work there. But the overall environment seems productive and welcoming to people that want to move forward in the media world.
The Bridge Series was very informative and painted a great picture of how life is like in the digital world, what their thought processes are and how they overcome struggles. It didn’t seem like they were trying to show off their accomplishments, or seem better than the other companies, it was more like they were all going through the same struggles and trying to figure out what’s best for their companies. My favorite audience question was “What keeps you up at night” because that lets us know the struggle that we might end up going through later on in the media industry.
Spike Lee’s film Do The Right Thing embodies a small community in Brooklyn, New York. During a hot summer day we are introduced to a range of characters from Mookie, a pizza delivery man, to Radio Raheem, a young black man who plays the boom box all day. Short scenes with all of these characters displays not only their personalities but their morals. The movie surrounds Sal’s pizza shop and the racial tension that grows within it. Mookie, a young black man, works for Sal, an older white man with two sons. Mookie’s employment there helps Sal’s case when it comes to his questioned racism. But this isn’t enough for the character Buggin’ Out who is bothered by Sal’s wall of fame saying “How come he ain’t got no brothers on the wall” as the scene shows picture frames of only white celebrities. Sal replies “You want brothers on the wall? Get your own place.” This sets up the main plot (although there are many subplots) that drives the film forward. This altercation motivated Buggin’ Out to start a movement against Sal in hopes of getting some black celebrities on the wall. Scenes to enrich the neighborhood personalities and to go in detail with the subplots fill the movie, along with Buggin Out trying to get people to join his riot against Sal. He finally gets Radio Raheem to join him. They start a fight that results in Radio Raheem’s death by a police officer. The aspect that makes this move so powerful is the fact that Spike Lee doesn’t show favor towards one side. He shows the faults and strengths in the characters. Although Sal is quick to grab his bat when Buggin’ Out questions his wall of fame we also see scenes where he is reflecting on his years owning the pizza shop. In a scene where the shop is empty he talks to his son Pino saying, “I watched these little kids get old…Yea sure some of them don’t like us, but most of them do. For Christ sake Pino, they grew up on my food, on my food. And I’m very proud of that.” Spike Lee also shows that the neighborhood feels the same way when some of the community member respond to Buggin Out’s boycott idea saying “Hell no goddammit, Sal ain’t done ‘nothing to you before, and me either!” and “Shit, I was born and raised on Sal’s pizza, what the fuck you talking about?” Conflict in general in inevitable, but racial conflict can be prevented. In my opinion Buggin’ Out’s issue with Sal was unnecessary, especially because the majority of the neighborhood had nothing against Sal. Buggin’ Out took his own feelings of suppression and took it out on Sal, and in the end, started a riot that didn’t need to happen. Radio Raheem’s death is a powerful scene that sparks many debates. This is another scene that I feel Spike Lee left up to the audience to decipher. It isn’t directly anyone’s fault. We can blame Buggin Out for starting the confrontation with Sal, we can blame Sal for breaking the radio, we can blame Radio Raheem for starting the physical fight with Sal and we can also blame the cops for killing Radio Raheem. But each one of these can also be contrasted, which gives the movie serious depth.
The opening scene of the documentary Iris sets up the bright and creative personality that embodies the main character. The first scene opens with Iris, a 93 year old fashion icon, showing off some of her fashion pieces. Although she is older and might move and talk a bit slower, what she has to say is interesting and humorous. We watch her match huge costume jewelry with colorful clothing. Matching and uniformity isn’t what drives Iris’ fashion choice, she goes with her gut feeling and what she believes to be stylish. This sets up Iris’ character because she isn’t afraid to take risks, she is confident with her decisions, and is happy with her life. Along with her admired reputation, she also has a cultured and interesting back story that shows how her fashion style and collection grew to where it is today. Her calm, witty, approachable personality makes the documentary interesting and fun to watch.
In the article “Review: In ‘Iris,’ Albert Maysles Explores Iris Apfel’s Style” by Manohla Dargis, I felt as though they were trying really hard to explain Iris’ personality that it sounded like they worshipped her to the point where they had a shrine in their closet dedicated to Iris. Although I agree that Iris is a great personality to explore in a documentary, the way Dargis expressed their feelings about Iris, was over the top. In the beginning they kept referring back to how amazing Iris was.
I enjoyed the documentary not only because of Iris’ great personality, but also her great story. The director made us feel as though we were with her during her interviews, and shopping adventures. His close shots, and also the longer time he spent on certain scenes made the film seem more down to earth vs. a fast paced commercialized documentary. Iris’ personality is so strong that you can imagine her going through life without a significant other, so when the scenes with her husband came around, it made her more grounded and more human. Her high praise and social status in the fashion world, made her seem unreal, incorporating the sweet relationship with her husband showed another side of her.
Overall, this movie did a great job at showing a captivating personality. Iris has had an amazing journey through life and Albert Maysles, the director, did an amazing job shooting it.
The movie Hester Street is seen through the married couple Yekl and Gitl. Yekl left his wife behind to move to America and live the American dream. Yekl was a jew migrating from Russia but once he was exposed to American culture, he was a changed man. Yekl’s lifestyle changed in ways relating to his appearance, religion and lifestyle. His change throughout the story is the key theme in this movie.
Yekl gave up his religion and overall mortality while living in America. It was like being exposed to a candy shop and told not to touch anything. Yekl changed his name to Jake to seem more American. He didn’t stop there, he changed his look. He cut off his beard, no longer wore his yamaka and dressed more “American.” He even started seeing a dancer in his neighborhood, cheating on his wife back home. He didn’t only want to live the American dream, he wanted to be the American dream. He was awoken from his dream when his wife had to come to America and live with him.
Gitl was not only experiencing a new land, but she also experiencing a new husband. Gitl says to him “I didn’t know you at first, I thought you were a nobleman.” Yekl was different and he tried to bring the same change on to Gitl and their son. The first day there Yekl tells her “Gitl, You are in America now, In America they don’t wear wigs.” While he has left the jewish customs far behind, Gitl still followed them.
One of my favorite scenes is when Gitl finally gives in to Yekl’s desire of American culture and decides to change her appearance to get his love and attention back. In this scene her neighbor Mrs. Kavarsky helps her with the look. In the beginning they show Gitl sitting at the table stressed while Mrs. Kavarsky stands, showing her authority making her character more powerful in the scene. She then take Gitl and starts the mini makeover. First putting a corset on. The shot is from the back of Gitl as Mrs. Kavarsky pulls the ribbons tight on the corset. Although Mrs. Kavarsky is doing the most talking and actions, the focus is still on Gitl and her growing smile as she gets made into an “American girl.” As Mrs. Kavarsky slides Gitl’s new dress on, Gitl makes a comment on the pain and Mrs. Kavarsky replies, “You wanna be an American? You gatta hurt.” Although said jokingly, this line is powerful. The changes that Yekl and Gitl have to go through just to assimilate into the society is painful. For Gitl the pain lies in giving up old ways and the for Yekl the pain relates to deep down knowing that he will always be a russian immigrant. The scene ends with her waiting for Yekl to return but he never does and because of the pain from the corset, she can’t wait any longer. She rips off the outfit and sits, in a medium shot, looking at herself in the mirror. The camera is facing the mirror to emphasize the that fact that she is looking at herself, not only her appearance but her actions. She laughs. Her laugh explains her true feeling about assimilation. Although it might be fun, it’s silly to think you have to conform to a society’s culture to fit in.