Final Paper!

The two films: Far From Heaven and Freedom writers, have many similarities and differences in the types of films they are. Both these films share ideologies that were going on in a time period or location. The films both relate to issues like women, racism, and heterosexism. Freedom Writers is about a teacher who goes to teach in recently integrated school. The students at the school only care about their own kind and hate everyone else. The teacher has a hard time teaching them, and only truly understands what the students actually go through until a recent drive by occurs and the students start to tell her what goes on in their lives. Far From Heaven is a film about a married couple, Cathy and Frank who are perfect to society, but actually have many issues that no one knows about. Cathy’s husband Frank is homosexual but cannot admit to it because of how society sees homosexuals during that time. This causes many problems that Cathy cannot help resolve because she is a women and cannot stand up to her husband.

            In Freedom Writers, The ideologies of racism are clearly shown in the film. In the classroom where Erin Gruwell teaches, the students sit in sections of what race they are. They hate any other race and refuse to associate with them.  This shows the amount of racism that went on during this time period. Gruwell was a white teacher and did not understand why the students felt this way and did not realize how they felt until a recent drive by that occurred. She realized that the kids in her class did not even know why they hated each other, they just knew they were supposed to. The ideology of racism is shown through out the film and the director does a great job in showing the extent to what racism was in that time period. Another ideology that was shown in the film was sexism. Since Erin Gruwell was a woman, her husband did not think she could handle being in a class with interrogated students. The students often ridiculed Gruwell for being a women and unable to teach as well. This shows that people thought of men more capable and better qualified than women. There are many ideologies in this film that are successfully depicted by the director, Richard LaGravenese.

            In the film, Far From Heaven the ideologies of sexism, heterosexism, and racism are clearly shown in the film. Cathy and Frank are seen as the perfect couple to all their friends and family, but in reality they are not even close. Cathy’s husband Frank is secretly homosexual and refuses to accept that he is. He eventually gets caught looking for guys to give him sexual favors and gets put into jail. Cathy continues to stay oblivious for a while but then eventually figures out Frank’s secret. Frank is unable to tell the truth about his sexuality because he is afraid what society will think of him. In this time period, homosexuals were not seen as men and were looked down upon. This shows what society was like during this time period. Sexism is shown when Cathy tries to comfort Frank and all he does is yell at her. She does not stick up for herself and takes the yelling from her husband because that is what she is supposed to do. If she were to stand up for herself, society would look down on her and she would be looked at as if she were an outsider. This shows how in this time period men were in control and women had little power to do anything. Women themselves thought they could not do anything to defend themselves. Racism is shown in the film when Cathy starts to hang out with her African American gardener. She starts to like him and starts to hang out with him. They both go to an art show together and they are given dirty looks and Cathy’s friends ask her about why she is being seen with an African American. Cathy knows that if anyone finds out about her and the gardener’s relationship she will be looked more down upon with the society. After people do find out abut Cathy and the gardener’s relationship, they start to harass the gardener and threaten him to stay away from Cathy. They call him names and try to hurt him just because he is an African American. This shows the amount of racism throughout the film. Heterosexism, Sexism, and racism are three ideologies that are clearly portrayed in the film.

Freedom Writers and Farm From Heaven both have ideologies throughout their film. They both have ideologies of racism and sexism but are shown in different ways. In Freedom Writers, the ideologies are shown through children in a classroom and different experiences that they were going through. Whereas, in Far From Heaven, the ideologies are shown through the life of an married couple living in a difficult time period. Both films are able to show their point and show how extreme these ideologies were during these time periods. When each ideology is shown it is interesting to see how they can be portrayed in so many ways and how there is so many things that could occur in each ideology. For example, in Freedom Writers, the racism is in a community where everyone of a different race just fought everyone else for no reason. However in Far From Heaven, racism was shown in a different way. They showed racism by targeting a man for one reason. This shows the different perspectives that directors have for these ideologies.


As you can see, the two films Far From Heaven and Freedom Writers are similar and different in many ways. Far From Heaven has the ideologies of racism, sexism, and heterosexism. Freedom Writers has the ideologies of racism and sexism. These ideologies overlap in the films but are shown in completely different ways. This is a clear example of how directors can have different views on how ideologies are presented in films. 


Works Cited


Chicago 10

The film Chicago 10 has the theme of counter culture. The US government in that time period were thought as upper class elite people with all the money and power. Hippies, who were the opposite were thought to all live a life with drugs, sex, and doing nothing to achieve a sense of peace and tranquility. The Hippies in this time period were the against the Vietnam war and fought against the government by protesting against it. The government tries to stop the Hippies but nothing seems to stop them. The Hippie’s desire for peace causes more conflict than peace

Chicago 10 follows actual events and shows the truth of what happened during this time period. This shows that Chicago 10 is a post modern film and documentary. The film uses action, animation, and goes against the modern movie making, The conflicting features in the film makes the film a post modern film instead of modern.

The music in the film did not fit well with the events that were occurring in the film. The animation did not fit well with the film as well since Chicago 10 is a movie that is based on real events that occurred. The music should have represented what was going on with the hippies during that time period, instead of blaring rock music. It did not fit well with the movie at all.

Three Avant-Garde Films

SuperStar: The Karen Carpenter Story by Todd Haynes is a story about a 70s singer named Karen Carpenter. The story is told through Barbie dolls, to show the need to be perfect and fit a certain image. The dolls are perfect skinny dolls that fit what society believes is “beautiful.” They show hoe celebrities are expected to be and how they are ridiculed if they are not. Carpenter managed to become a celebrity but it did not last long because of her consistent need to be perfect. She suffered from Anorexia and could not continue her dream as an celebrity.

The other two avant grande films, An Andalusian Dog and Meshes of the Afternoon are seen as artistic inventions. Avant-Garde films are mostly for a select group of people and can be very confusing because they do not stay on one plot or story line. Avant-Garde films force the audience to look at the films in a different way and manage to make their films artistic. 

Avant-Garde films are meant to be artistic, but they can be entertaining as well. The audience does not know what to expect next in a Avant-Garde film and that causes them to pay attention more to the film. They do not make sense to the audience which causes the audience to think more about the film and its meaning. They prove that you do not need to follow the typical hollywood movie to have an entertaining movie. 



Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is a film that shows the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. This was an action packed film with many themes such as torture, terrorism, and journalism. Torture was used to get information out of enemies throughout the film. The horror in the film is shown in the torture that was given to the enemies. It was cruel but necessary so that they could find out the enemies next movement and plans. The journalism in the film shows what the missions and plans that the characters do to find Osama Bin Laden. 

Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the film, uses artistic elements throughout the film that label her as an auteur. Bigelow uses Journalism throughout her film to show the torture and violence that was going while all this was happening. Using Journalism shows Bigelow’s art throughout the film.

The type of torture that was shown in Zero Dark Thirty, made it seem like that type of painful torture is okay in real life, when really it is not. Even though torture was a way for people to retrieve information from their enemies, it is still not an ethical way to get information. This is an issue argued by many and both views have very strong points. This film showed these forms of torture to make it more interesting ofr the audience and make film action packed. This however, does not mean it is okay to use these forms of torture in the real world.

The Weekend (1967)

Juan-Luc Godar’s film, The Weekend uses a great deal of violence throughout the film. There are murders and scenes with car accidents that are uncalled for. The movie is supposed to be about characters going on a fun car trip and all the violence is unexpected. The audience is confused and does not know what to think of all the violence since it is so unexpected. 

Weekend went against the regular Hollywood movie. The film was the complete opposite of a normal narrative. It went against how a Hollywood movie is usually like. For example, sound, is usually used to set the mood in a film and help the audience better understand what is going on in the film. In Weekend, the sound does the complete opposite. It makes the audience more confused and the audience finds it difficult to know whats going on. The scenes in the film also looks extremely unrealistic and Goddard does this to make sure his audience does not think this film is the typical Hollywood movie.

Weekend is meant for an audience that can really analyze a film. They need to realize why Goddard does the random things in his film. Goddard makes sure that the audience is distanced from the characters and what is going on in the situation. In scenes where the mood should be more serious, Goddard puts in a random sound to throw the audience off and remind them that they are not connected with the characters. 


When i first watched Inception, my first impression was that it was an action packed, great, but confusing movie. I had to watch it couple more times before i fully understood the movie. After watching it this pass week, i realized that there are so many elements in the film that I did not realize before. I realized that Cinematography is extremely important in making a film. Inception uses full shots to show the full setting of the scene and to show what is happening everywhere during the whole film. The sound in the film helps create the dream state, when the film begins to lose a few things. After learning about The different details that go into making a film, I am better able to understand and view the film.

Far From Heaven

The theme of Heterosexism is shown throughout Far From Heaven. Frank, Cathy’s husband realize that he is attracted to men, but has to keep it a secret. He tries to keep it a secret and “cure” what he is feeling, and when he cant he lashes out on his wife. Frank does not want to feel the way he does because in this time period it was frowned upon to be Heterosexual. He has to sneak around and even gets arrested for looking for other heterosexual men. Living in the 1950s meant that are many social norms that had to be followed to be accepted by society, and being Heterosexual during this time was completely frowned upon and Frank’s struggle with feeling how he did is shown throughout the film.

Film and Ideology play a major part in the film, Far From Heaven. The stereotypes are all opinions that can be held by people during this time period. For example a stereotype would be that all men had to be “manly” and have a wife and kids and bring in all the money for the family. The way that homosexual men were shown in the film was also a stereotype and exaggeration that is not true in real life. This was one of the reasons that Frank was so resistant on accepting his sexuality

Gender and Sexual orientation are two ideologies that clash throughout the film. Frank and Raymond are both males, but are frowned upon for two different things. Raymond is not accepted by society because he is African American, and Frank is not accepted because he is Heterosexual. In the 1950s, Males were seen as higher up then women and African Americans but even though Raymond is a man he is still not treated as equally as Frank because of his skin color. However, Frank is also looked down upon because of his sexuality. So gender is not the only thing that determines where you stand in society.


              A major theme in Casablanca, is Isolation vs. Intervention. In the film, Rick is mostly isolated from the war, he follows orders from the Nazis and stays out of trouble. He seems to be oblivious to the war and blindly follows orders from everyone who tells him to do something.  Intervention is shown by Victor Lazlo, who has been involved in the war since the beginning and has been fighting the Nazis. He was even sent to a concentration camp. The differences between Rick and Lazlo clearly show he theme of the film. 

           Casablanca consists of different genres making it different then any other movie. By having different genres, different types of audiences are able to stay interested in the film. Casablanca has action, love, real life events, which makes the film an watchable to anyone. Even though the film is mostly known for romance and love, there are many other events that happen in the movie that make the film different types of genres. 

         By making the film a hybrid, it is seen as a more artistic and less conventional film. It is artistic because the directory was very creative by making it multiple genres. It attracts many different types of audiences and makes the film more interesting. It is not conventional because it does not fit the standard hollywood film. Most films just have one genre and attract a specific type of audience. Casablanca however, does the opposite by adding action, history, and romance all in one film.

Apocalypse Now

                A theme that is shown throughout the film is Civilization vs. Barbarism. Each character in the film believes what they are doing is civil, and what anyone else does is barbaric. This is shown not only with the Vietnam and European soldiers, but with each character individually. Kurtz starts out by being civilized, but as the film goes on he becomes wild. He does not hesitate when he kills people and this makes him barbaric. In the end, all the characters are connected because of the savages that they all turn into.  The European claim that the Vietnam soldiers are savages because of the way they kill, but the european aren’t any better. This shows the theme of Civilization vs. Barbarism.

               Throughout the film, there were many times where sound completed a scene, and without the sound the scene would have no meaning. For example, in the scene where they are on the beach, the sound of helicopters and people screaming helps show the war and how wild it was. Without any sound, this scene would not be as intense or important. Throughout the film, there is so much sound and action that when the sound was not played as much as before, the audience paid more attention and were more alert. The use of sound throughout the film effected the film significantly.

               The dialogue and sound in the film help set the mood and grab the audience’s attention when needed. The Dialogue in the film help show the way the characters are. The way they talk represents their personality and helps the audience feel get a better understanding of what the characters are like. For example, Colonel Kurz and Kilgore speak in different ways that show their personalities. Kilgore commands his soldiers in a playful way but Kurz is very tough on his soldiers. The sound effects also  help set the mood in the film because the different sounds represent different things. When the music gets louder, it represents something violent happening. Dialogue and sound shape the film in many ways.


                      One of the main themes that is seen in Psycho is Psychology. At the end of the film, the psychologist talks about Norman’s condition of Split Personality disorder. Freud’s theory of “Oedipus Theory” is he believed Norman had. This is when a child is “sexually” possessive of their parent. This explains why Norman was so upset when his mother was with another man and felt as if he was being replaced. Freud believed this was the breaking point to what caused Freud to kill his mother and go crazy. Throughout the film, the theme of psychology is shown and hinted through Norman’s character. However, this does not become clear until the end of the film.

                   The use of Tempo in Psycho played a huge role in the film. For example, in the famous shower scene,  the director played a strange type of music to make the scene look more suspenseful. Along with the music, the director had at least 30 short cuts in the scene. This caused a somewhat disoriented feel while Marion was taking a shower. By doing this, the audience was able to tell that something scary and bad was going to happen. The shots that were being cut were glimpses of her facial expressions, the shower head, and the drain. The director did this to cause the audience to be completely thrown off when Marion is killed. 

                    By taking risks such as killing off his main protagonist, Hitchcock was able to keep psycho suspenseful. He had the audience think that the movie would just end, but a whole new story unfolded. This was able to keep the audience absorbed and interested throughout the film. No one knew what else would happen in the film since the main character was now gone, and this helped Hitchcock rather than hurt him.