It's a whole new world

Thoughts in motion for Media Studies & H.O.C

Bonnie & Clyde: flaunt that pistol

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 4:56 am on Thursday, December 15, 2011

 

Definitely a superb choice of film to end the term: with a bang! Too bad this short run has met its end. I now find myself analyzing film I would have just mindlessly watched over and over again! This class has taught me to open my eyes and really appreciate films as an art form and not just a entertainment pastime.  The imagery, camera effects, and symbolism within every film are now gravitating toward my eye and capture my attention. Especially within the film Bonnie & Clyde, a film in which every camera shot is important and there is symbolism around every corner.

One thing I kept noticing throughout the entire film was the positioning of the pistol. Yes I know it was a robber/gang movie, but it wasn’t merely the pistol, but what it portrayed. For Clyde and the other men, it was an extension of their masculinity. The pistol represented domination, power and control, for it’s a bit hard to control and aim a pistol, like Bonnie tried when she first shot a gun and felt its recoil. When Clyde first showed Bonnie his gun, he held it near his pelvis, it was a very suggestive positioning.  Maybe it was just to hide it from wandering eyes, but I’m pretty sure it was letting bonnie know what else was there * cough cough*. Or, it was used as it probably should have been; as a weapon.

     

I was more interested in what Bonnie used it for. We first see her with it as an rookie when she first shoots it. however, throughout the movie we see her flaunt that pistol again and again. For one, we see her use it as a way to expose her femininity, while also portraying a dominate sex symbol. Personally, Clyde would have been just a small town gangster without Bonnie. The photo were she poses with the cigar and pistol on her hip, even though she dislikes cigars, it is seem as very manly and one of authority. the gun on her help accentuates her curves, making it obvious that she is a woman. There is the scene with the sheriff where Bonnie flaunts the pistol to the sheriff’s face in a provocative way, almost caressing it. Although I do not know anything less appealing to be caressed with.  Then there is the female vs. male use of the pistol, one where Bonnie is holding the gun at her hips, feminine, and where Clyde is holding it between his legs, masculine. It really was awesome to see a pistol portrayed in a new light.

Memorias del Subdesarrollo

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 12:28 am on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Or Memories of Underdevelopment. Kudos for Google Translation (just kidding I speak Spanish!).  Man were there a crazy amount of experimental, political, and avant-garde films to choose from! There was Black girl by Ousmane Sembene and Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren, and others (That I can’t remember) ! We only watched the opening for this film, but i remembered a lot of it, and not just because I can speak Spanish! Shoot, I needed help with that dialogue, very glad for them subtitles!

Even though this movie is about Cuba’s newly regained independence, and how a wealthy married man decides to stay behind, I focused less on the political monologue and went towards the dialogue he was having with his wife in the tape recorder. It was so different and odd, and it really stuck with me. The first thing they talk about is the book she is reading, which she answers “Something trite, frivolous and decadent: ‘The Best of Everything’ “. With her contempt of Cuba and everything in it, those choice words were most likely directed to the country itself. While he is listening to the dialogue, the camera moves with him as her sorts through her clothes, wears her shawl, goes through her makeup and other things reminding himself of his wife. He seems like a pest, which she makes a reference to; about insects. She says that the country is going backwards, while she is saying that, he is looking through her makeup and jewelry, which is pretty weird for a guy( and sorta backwards too?)

There are a few interesting shots, like when he wears her monocles and there is a shot of the wife in bed reading. Then there is the part where he is painting a woman’s face on her mirror, while listening to his conversation where he tells her she is so attractive when she’s fake. That he likes her artificial beauty compared to other women’s natural beauty, which I found very odd to say to your wife. Again, backwards. He tells her it changed her from a “common little Cuban to  a glamorous beauty”. One could maybe see her resentment to Cuba, where it reminds her of her less-luxurious life. Her holds her underwear and there is a shot of her stepping into the shower. These shots help the scene as it seems like flashes of his memories while listening to the dialogue and going through these actions.

While she is telling him how disgusting he is, he starts to put on her pantyhose over his head. as if verifying this. He also tells her he has been recording the entire conversation. AND SHE PISSED!! He looks at himself in the mirror with the face with the pantyhose and one has to question this guy’s sanity. Or freakishness, you choose. He turns off the tape when they are screaming their heads off at each other. He slowly takes off the pantyhose and sits down, looking a bit forlorn. It was quite an odd scene, but the entire segment was shot beautifully and had the overall effect of us looking into his personality and his personal life.  Maybe I’ll watch the rest of the film. Maybe.

La jetée: more than just a black and white clip.

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 8:42 am on Friday, November 25, 2011

OKAY ALL NIGHTER. REALLLLY pissed off by the fact that I just wrote AN COMPLETED POST and it deleted the draft -__________________- THANK YOU INTERNET. Moving on, Happy late Thanksgiving, hope you enjoyed your turkey! Gotta get this done and pack for Pennsylvania! Now then the movie, whose title means ‘The Pier’ or something. Really surprised by the composition of this 28 minute short film. The usage of photo-montage was well incorporated into this and didn’t make the scif-fi time travel theme seem cliche or tripe. The story consisted of a man in a aftermath of WW3, in the ruins of Paris, where he is the experimental subject of a time travel trial. The present needs the help of any past/present technology or people to save them, the main character is the only successful experiment, as he is haunted by an image of a woman he does not know, and the witnessing of a man’s death at an airport station.

The usage of images instead of traditional movie reel was really unique because it let one know that it wasn’t real, and yet was strangely realistic. It didn’t have the images aligned in perfect order, but instead chose shots that one could see the stark contrast of light to dark and  that no two images used the exact lighting, as well as the noir themes. It was a dark and a bit suspenseful; there’s this one scene when he is taking the injection and all you hear is a heartbeat going faster and faster and faster, and the images of his pained expression, although his eyes are covered. Then it abruptly stops. It definitely creeped me out!

This film definitely influenced future movies (haha time theme!) such as The Time Traveler’s Wife and Source Code ( I used the book cover for TTW since I HATED the movie). All had time-travel in them, a female lead that played a vital role in the storyline, and all the time travelers where men who loved the female lead. yes, a bit cliche, but the use of a narrative, images that flowed into a story, and dark noir themes were not. The noir themes were the harsh reality of the aftermath of the war, the experiment to be done undergrone, and the serious tone the movie was under, unless he was with the girl.

The girl appeared to him when he traveled back in time, and the only time we see a actual moving image is when she wakes up in a bed to see him and she smiles at him. It is set in much lighter tones and the imaging flows more like movement; one after another instead of stills shot in different frames of time. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In both The Time Traveler’s Wife and La Jetée,  both main characters die in the eyes of their loved one. It has that raw realism and tragedy that is better unfolded in the imagery of La Jetée than that of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

 

Mother India: The Sacrifice of a Mother

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 5:34 am on Thursday, November 17, 2011

 

This was a hard movie to digest, and not just because of the language barrier, I’ll tell you that! I mean, it was definitely inspiring and a great film of its time and all, it’s just i do not prefer traditional Indian movies in general, especially Bollywood (which i think is the ONLY movie industry in India??). I may be wrong, but anything that randomly has people signing and dancing has always been iffy to me. Except for the show GLEE, but i suppose it has to do with the fact that they are singing songs we already know and incorporating them into scenarios; NOT making up a bunch of their own and expecting anyone other than kids to like it (H.S. Musical? EW).

yes

 

oh yes, I WENT THERE.

Besides the fact of the few musical numbers, I did like the serious themes and some scenes in this film. The message of India’s struggles for indepof my ranting, I’ll move on to thisendence  and freedom were expressed by the suffering of a mother with poverty and children. It was very invoking and powerful, as one will know that a mother will almost always fight for her children.

The scene I decided to focus on is the final scene, where everything reaches its climax. It is not only emotionally impacting, but visually as well. The part I start is with the murder of Sukhilala, who is the moneylender of the main character mother figure, Radha, who is struck by severe poverty with the abandonment of her husband and the failure of the crop. As life goes, one of her two sons, Birju, is very resentful to what has befallen his family, and holds an intense grudge against Sukhilala. Which is why he decides to murder him, and as he and his bandit friends make a small circle around him, Sukhilala is terrified as Briju twirls him around and stabs him. He then dumps his body unto the feet of his daughter, who cowers behind her betrothed. A confrontation between the two ensures. And the daughter and a friend grab a gun and run away.

As the betrothed fights Birju, one notices the way he sings the oar with fire on it; it is circular swings. I believe circles have a lot of significance in this film; as if they are representing never ending cycles of violence or something. Birju fights off the fiance, and carries off the bride-to-be. He is then confronted by the mother, who is now holding the gun. He does not listen to the heed of his mother’s words, and she is forced to shoot him, which is rare in Hindu films.

‘Cause She’s a WOMAN.

As he goes slowly towards his mother, bloody and everything, he tries to hand her something circular that he took from Sukhilala’s household. She runs towards him and clutches him in her arms. She screams his name while blood is staining her hands. The blood then becomes a reddish water in a canal, where we see the ‘present’ time.

The reddish water could signify the blood she was forced to spill and her anguished sacrifices over the years. It does become clear, however, probably signifying peace and cleansing of her village. This was the scene that impacted me most of all, because it is extremely hard to witness the death of someone you love, especially if you are forced to commit it. The relationship between Sukhilala and Radha is very similar to the power Britain had over India, and how India sought freedom and independence. Also the red water in the canal can signify the blood India had to shed for them to gain independence.

Psycho: Norman and his prey

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 5:54 am on Friday, November 11, 2011

This particular film is known as one of the most scariest films in history, and we can see why. No one expected anything that was shown. Alfred Hitchcock made it his personal mission not to spoil the ending or even plot, just some outline of a murder in his teaser trailer. So bent on having the audience enjoy the full experience of the movie, no one was allowed entry to the film in theaters if they arrived late. The main appeal to the terror one felt  in Psycho was that it took you by surprise; it was unexpected.

The actual murder scene for me wasn’t especially terrifying, I was more creeped out by Anthony Perkin’s performance of Norman Bates, and how a seemingly normal looking man could be someone sinister underneath. The references to his violence and obsession over women (or lack thereof) were subtle and yet pointed straight at you! Norman was, just like this statement, a contradiction as well. He was not someone a person could relate to, and Marion Crane’s glances at his face and quiet stares showed us that, although looking perfectly normal, there was something off about him, for example, his hobby of taxidermy, which is the stuffing of birds. These birds were not in nice positions that made them look ornamental, but were a bit creepy to look at, such as the raven’s profile leering at you, or the owl in flight (in a hunting-like pose), all giving off this feeling of domination and inferiority.

This is shown all the more apparent with the scene where Norman Bates peeps at Marion Crane. When he is entering the room, he is not going right into action, but rather contemplating his every move. His movements are deliberate, like a predator stalking its prey. We see the owl in flight right by his head; as if verifying this assumption. He picks up the portrait off the wall where Marion Crane is on the other side of. I always wondered what this portrait was, as the shot was so fleeting; I could only see the figure of a woman. So, I researched and found that it was called Susanne and the Elders, which unfortunately i was unable to pinpoint which exact artist drew Psycho’s version; a painting depicting a fictional character who is spied on by two Elders who try to force themselves on her by threatening her, which was derived from an article called “Psycho Redux” by Donato Totaro.  The act of peeping is invading one’s privacy in secrecy, she was literally being spied upon. It was as if he was stalking his prey.

This was the whole underlying factor behind Norman’s seemingly normal face, he was this sinister beast that looked for his next victim, although it should be only normal sexual desires, however, he does something that is in fact sinister; which is peeping. Also , peeping with the intent to act upon it. The fact that he never actually raped the women he killed was interesting. It really made it seem as if ‘Mother’ was truly jealous and killed his potential ‘partners’ before anything actually happened.This was extremely interesting overall to see the emotional state that Norman’s mind was in when going after Marion. This was, other than the shower scene, one of the most influential and more explanatory scenes to Norman’s state of mind. not only that, but the slow cinematography that gripped us and emphasized this.

“They’re here!” It’s the Invasion of the Body Snatchers!!

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 12:49 am on Saturday, November 5, 2011

  Our first horror film! It was actually pretty decent and interesting, especially considering that it is from 1956! Douglas Sirk, the director, does a superb job of creating this sort of eerie atmosphere underlining this seemingly normal Californian town. The music also helps with this sort of feeling as well. The story is a sci-fi thriller about an alien invasion. The invaders are cultivated in large plant pods and copy humans while they sleep and take over them.  They are seemingly perfect to their counterparts, except for the fact that they are emotionless. The story also shows how a local doctor, Dr. Miles Bennell and his girlfriend, Becky Discoll, learn of these pod people and try to escape them.

There is a sort of miscommunication of how in fact this movie is an allegory of pr0-comminist to anti-communist themes. Personally, i did see some pro-communist qualities,  such as the scene where 2 pod people try to convince Miles that the invasion is a good thing, because humans are much better off without ridiculous emotions such as love. Where everyone should be all the same and devoid of emotion, to be equal, which communism tries to encourage. The anti-communism theme, would probably be the portrayal of communism ‘infecting’ the human population, causing us to ‘lose one’s soul’. Thus, not even considered a human any longer. Douglas Sirk did not admit to this at all, instead saying that he felt people  were emotionless about cultural things,that they had no feeling of pain, or of sorrow. He decided to depict this in a thriller, although it is not a huge theme.

Some scenes that i found note-worthy and interesting to the storyline was probably the small strange details on the town. Such as when the Saturday morning where Becky and Miles have stayed awake in his office in order to escape the pod people, and they look outside. He comments that, although it looks like a bustling, busy Saturday morning, with a bus dropping off people and everything, it was way too early to be so. The phone rings, the police car drives off, and then, the music changes to a sort of low eerie sound. Many people walk up to the town square, all at once, and this is not normal. One gets the feeling of something strange and unfamiliar, at least that’s what I felt. If that was to happen on a Saturday morning, and I look out the window to see a bunch of people silently going towards one location, I would be SO terrified.

Another scene is when Miles kills his copy that is forming. He tells them to run and find a safe place, and stabs the pod with a pitchfork. The fact that they were ale to create the pretty creepy scene right before, showing the pods burst out with seeds, using just soup bubbles and simple man-made effects was truly great. As well as the panic that stirred within us, when Miles and Becky are trying to get away from the mob, and Becky shows such exhaustion that the audience feels tense if they are or not going to make it. Then the scene were she turns into a pod person, and Miles is terrifying that his love is no longer ‘alive’. Finally, the scene where Miles escapes from the pod people and frantically screams to the cars and, to us as well, “they’re here already!”. They should have left it at that, I believe it would have the left us feeling a bit paranoid and slightly disturbed instead of the fake ‘goodwill’ ending that has the doctor calling the FBI.

 

Oh, it’s Written on the Wind…

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 5:52 am on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Douglas Sirk’s film that we watched, written on the wind, just seemed like a bad interpretation of wealthy American families at first. It looked like a badly dressed up and overly exaggerated melodrama. However, it did have this sort of ironic undertone, under all the colorful arrays in the design, and the tasteless dialogue.Everything felt dry, and fake, but the director was going for that effect. This was so interesting because people from the 50’s really believed this was a genuine movie, not knowing the director’s ironic twist to it.

Not only were the costumes, such as Marylee’s outfits, outrageously colorful and slightly ridiculous, but also the sets and backgrounds were as well. It was all under the pretense of looking all happy and whatnot but dripping with fake happiness and overdramatic situations. It was, to say the least, an exaggeration. But of what? Well, the director was a foreigner, so my best bet is that he was using this film to emphasize how Americans exaggerate everything we  do. The situations we put ourselves in, the DRAMA we unleash. For instance, this movie is actually based on the real-live scandal of a torch-singer named Libby Holman and her wealthy tobacco heir husband, Zachary Smith Reynolds. Sirk was most likely using this scandal to emphasize the melodramatics of American society.

Hard to believe this was based on something real-life, since it’s so unrealistic. The chain of command in this film is very odd too. The fact that the father would look at his own children with contempt and slightly shun them, to rather accept someone who wasn’t at all blood-related? It was definitely different than one would expect. On a different note, my favorite scene was the parallel shots between the father going to his ‘tramp’ daughter’s room, and Marylee dancing like a crazy person in a flamboyant red robe in her bedroom. The loud music, so deafening that his fall is practically muffled by it, all showed her selfishness and slight madness (did you see the robe???). Marylee was definitely one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen on screen.

Such as when she is trying to seduce Rock Hudson, her brother’s best friend. She is so obvious and she wastes no time in trying to seduce him with her body. His rejection leads her to look for some random guy, which in turn goes to the bedroom scene, father’s death etc. The other scene she’s in where she is alone by the brook, and she reminisces on the childhood love she always had of Hudson. The blast of color from the background, to her own checked shirt, not to mention her acting, left us with such sappy melodramatic 2 minutes.  It is one of the scenes I remember most however. She was literally the only character I felt brought life to the sappy screen.

The Early Summer never ends….

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 4:32 am on Friday, October 28, 2011

This movie was a bit different from the rest that we’ve watched because it was so domestic. Early Summer is literally about a story of an extended family named Mamiya, and revolves primarily around the eldest daughter, Noriko. It was interesting because we saw the lifestyle of a traditional japanese family. The low camera angle that let us experience dining with the family made us feel as if we were part of the family. Compared to other films that we’ve watched, where we are not totally invovled, but here, we feel a sort of connection to this family.

This movie revolves around a certain number of themes and conflicts. For one, there is marriage. Noriko has reached the age of 28, which is a bit mature to still be single. Her family urges her to marry, and she has (by the boss that she seems to be interested in) a candidate that is wealthy, but much older. The movie focused on how her family were so willing to put her with this unknown suitor, who we never see, and is never directly asked her opinion to the man. This shows how, in countries like Japan, that marriage is regarded highly by the family, and that the bride’s opinion does not always matter. They never took into account her happiness, and the expressions Noriko would have expressed her discontent of the suitor.

Another theme is the conflict between gender and family status. Her elder brother, koichi, regards this suitor be the best, and when his wife and mother try to disagree with him, his anger flares up. There is the need for this man to dominate the household. On another point, this movie was unique becuause it would go into a scene, and then never finish it, or show what came next. For example, the scene where Koichi gets angry at his two sons for throwing the bread that they thought were toys. They show the boys walking along the beach, but never when they are actually found; it is heard from the father receiving a phone call. As well as the last scene, where Noriko gets married off, but we never see the wedding.

The fact that Noriko and her friends were separated into 2 sides; the married and unmarried, also show the intensity of marriage in Japan. The single women were looked down upon just because they were in fact single, although they had jobs. It became more of the domestic housewife, or independent worker. I believe that Ozu was trying to portray women as actually doing something for themselves, instead of only their husbands. . Although the family accepted Noriko’s choice of a different husband, it felt as if woman and men were still in different levels, even though many women were working now, and were much more independent.

Umberto D : A man and his Dog, Indeed.

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 8:44 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2011

  Wow, sorry for the late post, this took me forever to organize myself! Hope this counts, but if not I’ll just have to deal.  This movie was really interesting since most of the characters were various unknowns or picked off the street! The star of the show is definitely the dog (Ha-ha, just kidding!). The story follows an elderly man by the name of Umberto, and his struggle with his tyrannical landlady, who is doing her utmost best to drive him out.  He is troubled by the rent he cannot pay, and his only friends are the pregnant housemaid and his little dog Flike.  With the silence and deep facial expressions, each character portrayed their struggles and life-stories. The music cued in really well with each scene, and helped create the sort of environment and ambiance the scene was trying to portray.

The scene I decided to do was the train scene. This scene was the ultimate low of the entire movie; where Umberto felt that he had hit rock bottom and there was no point in continuing on with his life. This is after he’s been kicked out of his apartment, and his attempts to find a good home for Flike have gone astray due to certain circumstances. Just before this scene, he tried to leave Flike by walking away while he was playing with random children. Of course, Flike found him under the bridge. Soon after, he picks him up and starts walking toward the train tracks, where our scene begins. There are people in bikes going past him and across the train tracks. The drawbridge comes down to stop the car that would have passed. The officer yells at the car honking at him while people in bikes still go under, toward the park. Umberto  hesitates for a moment, then goes under as well, in the opposite direction; toward the tracks.  He walks up to the now deserted tracks, with Flike buried in his chest between his arms. We see the shot of the wires and cables that are above the train. Then don at the tracks, back to Umberto’s face. His arm is shaking, and Flike now isn’t snuggled in his arms, but is being suspended by just one arm. Umberto is breathing hard, squinting, and gulping a bit. We see the train come forth, then Umberto look at Flike and at the train. We see him squeeze Flike and the dog panic. His is now being suspended by the neck, and his struggling loosens Umberto’s arms and he is dropped at the exact moment the train goes by. Umberto is now screaming for Flike with dust all around him, and we can barely hear him due to the deafening sound of the train. We now see Flike away from the train tracks looking  at Umberto, cowering a bit, and as the train finally goes by we see Umberto looking around for Flike. He spots him sitting alone far from the tracks. As he goes up to him, Flike turns and walks away. Still calling after him, Umberto follows him across the bridge.

Just a scene that is 1 minute and 21 seconds, but it holds a lot of depth. Such as the music; the use of violins that create a sort of tense atmosphere plays well with Umberto’s hesitance and nervousness. When we actually see Umberto makes his way to the train, there are large DUN DUNs, then silence; foreboding the train’s arrival. Then there is the high climax when the train actually arrives, and the music goes to a sort of waltz when Umberto is looking for Flike. This entire scene plays with the role of suicide and death. The fact that Umberto tried so hard to find a home for Flike, with sense of disregard for his own life, so long as his dog is safe. The part where the bikers are going towards the park and Umberto is solely going toward the train tracks is another symbol of his solitude; of how he is taking the lone road. It also symbolizes how different he is from people; he is like the only elderly man there. His facial expressions were spot on and flawless on how he was clearly at war with himself concerning his and his dog’s upcoming death. There was hardly any speech in his scene, and there was no reason for it, since silence was a key point in this scene. Signifying, again, solitude and the depth in which he stands alone.  Then there is Flike’s panic, and how he sensed that something was severely wrong. After wrenching free of Umberto, he stands alone, far away, and as Umberto approaches walks away in a hurry; his sole friend in the whole world is even deserting him! We see them cross the bridge where the dog once searched for him, now disregarding that, and hurrying to run away.

The fact that Umberto was unable to commit suicide was deeply shown with him RIGHT next to the tirain as it roared past. As if his whole life was just a cycle of failed tasks; his inability to pay for his room, to find a good place for Flike, to secure a loan from his former friends, and to help the pregnant maid with any of hr troubles.  It is the long struggle of his life that he has been facing, never quite reaching the end. It was an interesting movie, and the ending, although vague and unsatisfying as to what he will do with his life, is in fact one of the most realistic.

Goodbye, Baby.

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 5:23 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

 I…personally didn’t like this film. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was GREAT, just the story line was a bit too…. drawn out and over-dramatic for me . There were some key moments in the film though, but as I said, not my cup of tea. I do understand why it is so revered to critics and movie-lovers, which is the oh so poplar film noir. This film was a perfect example of how well it can be portrayed in American films. Film noir is a cinematic term to describe (most of the time) crime dramas. Two words that should never be put together, in my opinion. Not only that, but it’s used to emphasize cynical motivations and sometimes uses sexual themes to further deepen the plot.  Double Indemnity did just that. The scene I will be analyzing kinda sums up both the cynical motivation and some sexual themes all in the span of two and a half minutes, which is awesome. The picture above kinda hints at it, so you probably know what it is: the scene when good ol’ Phyllis dies.

First off, let’s focus on the dialogue in this particular scene; it’s very detailed yet slightly cryptic at the same time. The scene starts off with Phyllis on the couch, looking down with a cigarette in her hand saying, “We’re both rotten.”  This is referring to the act of murder they both committed, although Walter dealt the killing blow.  He brandishes this fact at her by stating that she is more rotten than he; that she used him to get rid of her husband, and Nino (Lola’s bf) to get rid of Lola (her stepdaughter), and possibly to get at him as well. This sequence is very important since it ultimately shows Phyllis’s drive of manipulation and an endless cycle of cynicism to get what she wants. That no matter what the means, she will get someone to clean up her mess. Next we see her hint at why he is at her house in the first place; murder. He then states that he “doesn’t like this music anymore”, which implies that, at first, he did enjoy it. This shows us his opinion of Phyllis as of now, compared to his rash need for her affection and approval in the beginning of the film.  He asks if she minds if he closes the window  and she shoots him when he does.

He then walks up to her saying, “You can do better than that, can’t you baby?” When he is right in front of her, even though she can shoot him dead easily, her hold on the gun loosens and he takes it from her. He then asks why she did not shoot and she just holds on to him. He then says it couldn’t be because she was in love with him, for he now knows that she wasn’t and she agrees with him. This shows that even though she proclaimed her love for him over and over throughout the film, she was manipulating him to get the grand prize: ridding herself from the husband who never noticed her. She never loved her husband, however, as she explains to Walter that she is rotten to the heart and has never loved anyone, “Until a minute ago, when I couldn’t fire that second shot”. I’m not sure whether she is sincere or not, but I kindasorta believe she’s trying one last pitiful attempt to draw him into her clutches again, which may be why we see her hands near his neck. I say pitiful because she herself knows he will not take her back, especially after being SHOT AT. He proves this by saying, “sorry baby, I’m not buying.” She sobs saying that she doesn’t care and she just wants him to hold her close. This could be the underlying sexual theme, “hold me close” can be taken, especially to a man, as an invitation for something more. Women can use this for manipulating men, as perhaps Phyllis is trying to with Walter. In vain, however, as we see the conviction in his face, she then realizes he will kill her and stares pleadingly into his face as he says, “Goodbye, baby.” He shoots her twice and she slumps in his arms.

Not only is the dialogue important, but film noir also portrays scenes in shadows and the deep contrast of light to dark. Again, back to the beginning of the scene. We see Phyllis and the ‘rotten’ statement; she is wearing white, depicting purity and light, yet stating that she is rotten, which one knows associates with the color black, which is all around her. Her posture is not as upright and proud as it once was; it’s slightly downcast and even her hold on her cigarette is loose.  Walter, on the other hand, has a little bit on light shining on his suit, maybe symbolizing that he has ‘seen the light’ in regards to Phyllis’s actual character, his pose is also upright, and a small smile is shown on his face; a sort of confidence leeks out of him. When Walter goes to close the window, Phyllis throws her cigarette, looks down with a emotionless expression, although the way she is getting up is menacing; her face is slightly covered in darkness before she actually gets up from the chair. The bars from the window Walter is closing shine on him before he covers them with the curtains, sort of foreshadowing his end as she tries to ‘snuff him out’ with a bullet. Now, she is the one with the bars around her head; they are more pronounced, definitely stating that she will go down first. Let’s fast forward now to the part where he shoots her; he is now cast in almost complete darkness as the deed is now done, and the bars pierce him, signifying his turn in the series of deaths. He lays her down on the couch, and as he goes to pick up her gun we see her foot pointing to him as if stating, “you’re next.”

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That’s it in a nutshell, a semi-large nutshell, again, sorry for the lengthiness, but definitely a great scene that underlines the category of film noir as a whole. Although film noir is very broad and has different levels depending on the film, we can get a general view on it through this film.

 

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