Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ideology In Film

What is ideology and how can it be implicit vs. explicit?
Ideology is a set of beliefs. It can be implicit when it is an underlying theme that must be analyzed in order to be extracted. An explicit ideology requires no analysis as it is blatantly expressed by either the film's plot, the characters, or even the director himself.

Ideology and Expectations:
Actors like Christian Bale embody a strong male who is fully capable of dominating any critical situation that is thrown at them. His persona reoccurs in films like Batman, Reign of Fire, and Public Enemies. In all, he is an intelligent and highly respected man who's rough character is a desirable trait for all men. His appeal causes several men to watch his action films because they want to become the man that Christian Bale represents. Additionally, women expect to see that rugged and strong male which is what attracts them to his films. In The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will be a both mentally and physically powerful protagonist. He will face several obstacles that will push his character to its limits; however, he will triumph because he is such a strong male. The studio directing the movie will encourage several action sequences that demonstrate how intense and godlike Christian Bale's character is. This will attract more male audience members because they expect to see a strong and powerful male figure who they wish they could become.

Personal Ideologies and the Enjoyment of Film:
Jack Skellington from "Nightmare Before Christmas" is a character that I heavily adore. He is a skeleton which would usually instill fear into children, but by making him animated he carries a more friendly complexion. His characterization portrays him as being a lonely man who seeks love. I, like many others, have related to this feeling which causes me to further empathize with the character. In a sense, I became the character and wanted him to triumph and find love at the end of the film. All of the prior experiences that he faced I shared as well. As a result, I felt a sense of resolution and jubilance when he did find love. That was only because I was able to sympathize with him when he articulated his feelings in his monologues. The film maker manipulated his character in order to attract me to him, and it worked.

Changing Ideologies:
As time passes societies develop new beliefs in what is moral and what is normal. As this occurs films have to adjust in order to be accepted by movie goers. Otherwise, a film that is too radical may cause its audience to feel a sense of discomfort and awkwardness when viewing the film. For example, romance films have heavily shifted over the last decade. In Titanic the romance between the actors was by no means solely sexual or promiscuous. It was more intimate and the audience could truly connect with the characters. In more recent romance films such as Friends with Benefits the overall story remains the same. However, the performance between the actors is not as intimate. Instead, the actors are more provocative and freely sexual. Their sexual intimacy correlates with contemporary society's growing acceptance of sex as being normal and typical. Additionally, their romance is more comedic and carries a more realistic approach. Contrastingly, the actors in Titanic appeared to be more romantic and less realistic. This illustrates society's shift from enjoying fairy tale like films to enjoying more realistic films.

Ideology and Realism:
Suspension of disbelief is when an audience ignores a sense of realism in film. Instead, they openly accept what is going on screen despite how unrealistic it may be. Avatar is an example of a film that uses this tactic. The characters live on an outer world planet which we know does not exist. However, our disbelief is suspended so that we can enjoy the stories and the characters. We do not care about how unrealistic the film is, we simply want to enjoy what is presented in front of us. Even if we are forced to acknowledge the unrealism in the film like in Avatar, we do not demean the film. Instead, we become at awe with it and appreciate it even more. After all, films are our forms of escaping reality in order to enjoy something that we can never experience.
Define Suspension of disbelief and give an example from a recent film you have watched.

Ideology & ownership:
The financial support does play a role because money is what finances the directors and his/her cast. If the financial institution is displeased then the director will lose their funds, thus they must meet the institution's demands or risk abandoning the film.

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