It is deemed that every individual is some-what prejudice, carrying strong opinions and viewpoints.  Ideologies, like prejudices, are developed from various perspectives on the world and the human society.  In the films, Far From Heaven (2002) and Crash (2004) many ideologies are presented. These ideologies are responsible for how societies interact, either positively or negatively.  “Yet they can also serve as the psychological and emotional justification for the differential treatment of some within a society, promoting the social dominance of one group over another” (Pramaggiore 310).  Social dominance is a reoccurring theme in these two films.  Far From Heaven follows the story of Cathy Whitaker and her “perfect” family, which eventually falls apart.  She finds out that her husband is homosexual, by walking in on his affair with another man.  As a result, Cathy forms a close relationship with an African American man and is then frowned upon and gossiped about. Because of the time period this movie has taken place in, 1957, equality among society did not exist. In comparison, Crash is based off of racial tensions, when this movie was filmed in 2004. The film weaves together several characters’ stories within the time span of two days in Los Angeles, displaying the racism of not only the offenders, but the victims as well. The storylines from both films, Far From Heaven and Crash, guide the viewer through the struggle of social dominance with the use of ideologies ranging from the 1950’s to present time America.

In the film Crash, interweaving stories about whites, blacks, Latinos, Koreans, Iranians, cops and criminals, including their place on the social hierarchy, guide the plot (Ebert).  Throughout these individuals’ stories, white supremacy is a common theme.  For example, in the scene in which Officer John Ryan pulls over Cameron Thayer and his wife, Christine, Ryan disrespects them because of their race. While Ryan is speaking to them, Christine is argumentative about why they are being questioned.  Her attitude angers Ryan, resulting in him molesting her during a pat-down.  Devastated, Christine wonders why her husband did not step in and stop him.  Cameron simply says that he did the right thing.  To him, the right thing was to remain quiet because a white man has authority over them, not only because he is an officer but also because they are African American.  “This scene depicts the role of “white men in power” in our society, and their position as it relates to African-American women, and African-American men” (Koivunen 69).  Even though the time period was 2004, racial supremacy was still present.  As Roger Ebert writes, “I believe anyone seeing it is likely to be moved to have a little more sympathy for people not like themselves… All of these people, superficially so different, share the city and learn that they share similar fears and hopes.”  It is important for a movie like this to include ideologies to teach a lesson to the audience, that even in present time racial supremacy exists.  Movies like this are able to open the eyes of the views to social interactions that surround them that they might not think still exist.

In the film Far From Heaven racial supremacy is shown many decades ago, during the 1950s.  During this time period people were discriminated against based on their skin color.  Whites had many more privileges than blacks were allowed.  The idea of whites being greater than blacks was the sole reason why there was so much gossip around town about Cathy and Raymond’s friendship.  People viewed their relationship as unusual because most whites treated blacks with little respect; therefore Cathy was challenging the ideology of white supremacy by accepting Raymond, looking past his skin color.  In Gabrielle Murrary film review she writes, “Haynes’ recreation [of All That Heaven Allows, America] is an awfully long way from paradise.”  This film accurately displays how life was for an African American, showing how society has changed in many ways today, but yet still have remained the same in some ways.  For example, it is no longer uncommon for friendships between different races to exist.  But, to some white supremacy is still an ideology that exists.

In both films race sets apart many different groups of people. For example, the idea of white supremacy is promoted in both films.  Because of this belief, whites are viewed as superior, depreciating other racial groups as a whole.  Though in Far From Heaven the time period differed from the time period in Crash, racism was still present.  With racism present, a social hierarchy, originating decades ago, still remains in society.  In both movies a character undergoes a change that challenges the racial ideology at certain parts in the film.  For example, in Crash, Cathy Whitaker befriends Raymond instantly, until she realizes that society does not accept a friendship with people of another race.  After realizing that following what society believes was a mistake, she apologizes.  Both Raymond and Cathy know that during the 1950s this was unusual, but they realize that slowly if people could form relationships like theirs, fighting against segregation, these racial barriers would diminish.  Just like Cathy Whitaker, Officer Ryan also goes through a change throughout the course of the film.  After violating Christine, Ryan is later able to gain her trust back.  Ryan discovers Christine in a horrible accident, in which the car is flipped over and on fire.  Film critic, Koivunen writes, “While not wanting to rely upon her perpetrator, she has no other choice.  If she wants to survive, she must rely on the very man who previously violated her as he is the one in power” (69).  Ryan transformed from a disrespectful officer to saving Christine’s life (See Fig. 1).  This allowed Christine to see another side to Ryan, one in which he did not discriminate against her skin color.  “This aestheticized (and hyperbolic) act of heroism, in turn, represents a moving instance of racial reconciliation in what turns out to be the climactic, scene of Haggis’s film” (Hsu).  With more people like Cathy and Ryan in their societies, racial supremacy would be likely to disappear creating more equality.


The viewer must also keep in mind the differences that are apparent when analyzing the plots and time periods.  Although the films have a lot in common, they also have many differences.  For example, the job choices for an educated African American in the time period of Crash differed a lot than in the time period of Far From Heaven.  In Crash, Cameron Thayer, an African American character held the job of a TV director.  This successful job separates him from the job that Raymond has in the movie Far From Heaven.  Though Raymond is also well educated, he cannot advance in his career because of his race during this time period.  Therefore, he assumes the role as a family gardener.  White supremacy is present in these films, in and out of the workforce, but African Americans have gained more rights over time.

Ideologies are projected throughout many forms of media, including films. Through the use of ideologies a lesson can be taught to the audience.  Crash and Far From Heaven are important to compare because they take place in such different time periods, yet similar ideologies of white supremacy are presented in both.  Though one film takes place many decades before the other, and many historical events took place to create equality, discrimination still exists.   In 1950 in Far From Heaven the rights that white people had did not compare to those of the black people.  The ideologies in both films successfully show hope for society’s future, as long as everyone can look past false stereotypes that were once created.  America has come a long way in the past recent decades spreading equality, but racial differences are still prevalent.

Ebert, Roger. “Crash.” N.p., 5 May 2005. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.

Hsu, Hsuan L. “Racial Privacy, The L.A. Ensemble Film, And Paul Haggis’s Crash.” Film Criticism 31.1/2 (2006): 132-156. Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text. Web. 14 Dec. 2013.

Koivunen, J M, and J W. Rothaupt. “Crash, Directed by Paul Haggis.” Journal ofFeminist Family Therapy. 19 (2007): 68-69. Print.

Murray, Gabrielle. “The Last Place in the World… A Review of Far from Heaven.”Sensesof Cinema. N.p., Mar. 2003. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.

Pramaggiore, Maria, and Tom Wallis. Film: A Critical Introduction. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2011. Print.


Watching Inception for the second time, I definitely noticed many techniques we have talked about in class.  One for example that I noticed was the editing, more specifically the timing of everything.  Many scenes were played in slow motion for a dramatic effect.  The timing in this film is used to make it more action-filled and suspenseful.

Chicago 10 displays the theme of counter-culture in 1968.  The audience is presented with the counter-culture of the members of the Yippie through their enthusiasm and appearances.  Sex, drugs and rock and rock were all present among the anti-war protesters. This the way of life of the Yippies in Chicago 10 expresses the director’s view of this time period.

Chicago 10 is  placed under the title as a documentary film, though it used some untraditional aspects.  The use of more artistic techniques including the use of animation.  The combination of live footage and animated characters makes the movie Chicago 10 more interesting and interactive.  Discovering the characters with the live footage makes the viewer feel more engaged in the film.  The partially animated aspect allows the film to recreate the trial, where they do not use live footage, but instead non-visual evidence about what went on.

The use of animation in Chicago 10 was artistic and appropriate choice to enhance the film combining history and animation. Animation was included so the film could involve scenes that weren’t originally caught on camera and recreate them as a visual aid.  With this artistic choice the audience was able to view important scenes that were caught on camera along with those that could not have been included without the use of animation.  The animation was able to reenact the emotions and actions of the characters effectively throughout these scenes.

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is a film that develops around the idea of the perfect yet unachievable body image. The film tells the story of Karen Carpenter’s struggle through the use of dolls as characters.  Women feel as though they have to strive to look like what the dolls display.  The dolls enhance this theme by showing how women, including Karen, suffer to try and become this impossible ideal.

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is a great example of an avant-garde film.  For example it is abstract with its focus on objects, the dolls, instead of human characters.  This abstract is present from the beginning until the end of the film.  With the use of Barbie dolls, however, the viewers still can identify to the characters and their emotions.  Secondly, it can be perceived as a compilation film because of its use of scenes from the Nazi Death Camps.  This footage seems unfitting for the story-line.  This film separates itself from the traditional way of creating a film.

All the characters in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story are played by Barbie dolls displaying the social statement of perfection and feminism.  The dolls are seen as perfect on the outside, give the impression that all women should look like this.  Brechtian distanciation, also known as the alienation effect, is used to try to distance the viewers from the unrealistic characters of the film.  Even though this technique was used, it does not stop the viewers from being able to sympathize and relate to the doll characters.  The artistic message and underlying issue that Haynes films is the idea that  you could not tell that Karen suffered from anorexia from just looking at her, but rather it was more of an inner struggle she faced that ultimately led to her death.

Feminism was one of the themes present throughout the film Zero Dark Thirty.  Director, Bigelow, went against the norm by choosing a woman to be the protagonist, C.I.A. analyst, for this film.  Maya is able to represent her role in the film by portraying herself through her aggressive, determined behaviors.  This is an essential theme in the film because it breaks free of untrue stereotypes.

Throughout Bigelow’s films she is able to stand out as an auteur.  Many of her films display her feminist views and war related themes. The femininity theme in an action movie makes this movie unique because Kathryn uses a female as the main character, which in the past may seem like an unusual choice for an movie in this genre.  By using her own, distinctive styles in this film and her other films, she puts herself forward as an auteur.

Director Kathryn Bigelow exemplifies a feminist director by using Maya as the protagonist to prove that women can be advantageous in this area of  work.  Rather than using a male for this role, Bigelow was able to put a strong women.  Maya is focused on obtaining information related to Osama bin Laden, after the September 11 attacks.  Throughout the film Maya shows her determination to figure this information out.  With a strong woman in this protagonist role, Bigelow brings about equality that a woman can accomplish anything.

Weekend is a film filled with violence and pure chaos including many car accidents and a murder scheme.  During the duration of their trip traveling to Corinne’s father’s house, they witness many car accidents, including one in which they were involved.  The violence extends to the last scene in which the camera shows the audience the several car accidents and bloody bodies. Throughout these scenes there are instances of fake violence done to people and real violence done to animals.  Both the fake violence and violence are used to effect the audience’s emotions in different ways.

A typical Hollywood film includes plot clarity, cause and effect continuity, goal oriented characters, and closure.  In the Weekend Godard, a film activist, erases these concepts to create his own unique and sarcastic film.  The unrealistic, exaggerated or underplayed acting, inappropriate music, and scene lengths contribute to Godard’s goal of going against the norm.

In the Weekend,the film alienates the audience to further Godard’s artistic and political aims through the use of sound.  He rejects the typical part of a Hollwood film in his choice of music.  Normally in a a Hollywood film the music would correspond with the scene or emotions of the characters, but instead he uses inappropriate music in many scenes of his film.  For example in the scene where Corinne is talking about her experience with Paul and Monique the music is loud, doesn’t fit the emotions of the scene, and sometimes even blocks out what she says.  Godard is able to make the film artistic by not involving these essential parts to a Hollywood film.

In the film Far From Heaven the characters display the idea of white supremacy.  Raymond and his daughter experience horrible things throughout the film that are caused because of this unequal society that exists.  The discrimination even gets so extreme and aggressive that Raymond’s daughter is attacked by three white boys.  The idea of whites being greater than blacks is the reason why, even at a young age, Raymond’s daughter experienced violent discrimination.

Ideology can be effectively used in films, including Far From Heaven, through symbols and narratives.  One way this film uses ideology is through sexual orientation and more specifically heterosexism.  Because of the time period this film took place during, Frank Whitaker being homosexual was viewed as unnatural and unusual.  Heterosexism is the discrimination against homosexuals assuming that heterosexuality is the accepted sexual orientation.  The film presents a distinct viewpoint on the ideology of sexual orientation and displays this through the characters’ beliefs and actions.

Sexual orientation and class inter-relate in the film through a upper class man, Frank Whitaker, fighting against his sexual preference in the eyes of his society.  Being that Frank is a successful executive at Magnatech and his wife portraying the perfect wife and mother they’re business extends farther than their household.  Between the towns gossip and the party they are hosting, their money and reputation is well known.  Because of this constant attention Frank and Cathy keeps Frank’s sexuality a secret and hide it from their friends hoping to try to “fix it” before anyone finds out.  Sexual orientation and class intertwine by forcing Frank to feel obligated to change himself in order to keep his reputation.

In the film Casablanca one of the themes present is the unavoidable past.  Both Rick and Ilsa cannot free themselves from their old memories and when they try it comes back to haunt them.  Ilsa leaves her husband for Rick thinking that her husband has passed away.  When she discovers that this is not true, she ultimately has to make the decision to leave Rick heartbroken.  Upon Ilsa’s arrival back in Casablanca, Rick’s past is brought up.  Even when Rick tires to move on from these past memories, he cannot escape the love he and Ilsa had once shared in Paris.

In the film Casablanca, Curtiz uses many different genres.  One of the ways this film stands out from others is the way that he combines the genres of drama, romance film and war film.   Drama is incorporated because of the romance, murder, and war taking place.  The romance aspect in the film is present between Ilsa and Rick throughout the film.  The war film, propaganda, genre is present from the opening scene of the film.  With the use of all these different, intertwined genres it gives the film a more original impression of the time while keeping the film more interesting for the audience.

Casablanca epitomizes the conventional gender roles in Hollywood by portraying Ilsa as a weak female  and Rick as the dominant male.  This becomes evident when Ilsa says, “You think for the both of us.”  This quote portrays the gender role that men are more superior and that men have more of a say than of women at this time.  Ilsa is not strong enough to make decisions for herself and relies on having a man in her life.

One of the promenant themes in Apocalypse Now  is the chaos resulting from the war.  The violent war influences many changes on the characters throughout the film.  In the beginning of the film the viewer is introduced to the protagonist, Willard, where he is drunk and destroying a hotel room.  He has returned from Vietnam where he has negatively changed.   The war also leaves Lance and Chef to become separated from reality, where they try to relieve themselves with the use of drugs.  Lance was once a young, keen soldier who then transformed into a drug-using, inhibited man.  With the violence and havoc in the war, it is not surprising that the characters undergo these changes.

The idea of sound vs silence plays a prominent role in understanding how these times were in war.  When the war is portrayed it is very loud with bombings and killings, forcing the characters to have to speak much louder to be heard, for example over the helicopter blades.  The sound associates these loud noises with America fighting through this war.  The idea of silence makes the audience have to pay closer attention to hear, though it is quiet these scenes are just as important.  The use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound bring the viewer into the conflict and conversations between characters, along with the characters own mental self conflicts.

Apocalypse Now shows that the counterculture was the inspiration for protesting, and eventually ending, the Vietnam War through Willard, Lance, Chef and other soldiers’ participation in sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll to escape the reality of wartime. The soldiers yearn to escape this stressful, vicious lifestyle to achieve a more carefree living style.  One scene where this is portrayed is when the men go to a Playboy strip show.  Chef and Lance try to escape reality through the use of drugs.  The rock-n-roll music and soundtrack fit in with the time period.  Music was another way the soldiers could take a break from the war.  Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll was a lifestyle that became present during the Vietnam War to inspire the ending of this war.

For the first paper I’m thinking about writing about either parallel editing or cinematography in the last scene in The Shining.  Parallel editing is present in this scene by showing each character, Jack Torrence, Wendy Torrance and Danny, and what they are doing simultaneously.  The movie alternates from each of these character’s actions at the same time but in different locations.  I’m also thinking about doing the cinematography in the last scene as Jack chases Danny through the maze.