Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mecanica Nacional

Watching this movie was like watching the wild side of immature teenagers. I didn’t understand most of the language, so most of my opinion is from a visual observation. It was like watching a party that I probably wouldn’t ever want to go to because it consisted of adults behaving like teenagers. The Human Geographies essay says that “They eat and drink, sing, flirt, make love, talk, argue, fight, threaten each other with violence...” (58) They played with boundaries, especially the way that the women were treated (the grandmother in particular...). The men and women seemed to want to fool around with people who they didn’t arrive with, and I don’t know her name, but everybody was all over the lady in the pink outfit...when she fell on the ground (which didn’t seem like a very hard position to get up from) everybody reached in to “help her.” Also, I don’t know his name either, but the main character whose mom died...when he found his daughter on the ground with her boyfriend, he seemed to snap out of party mode for awhile and act like an adult in order to punish her, but then he kept hitting her throughout the movie, even when she was sorry that his mom died. When the mother died, you would have thought that more people would have acted more serious, but they only seemed to act decently as a group when the press was there and when they were in another traffic jam at the end in the moment of silence. Otherwise, they were more interested in the race...even the old woman’s son couldn’t stay by her for more than a few minutes even though he seemed upset...especially when the race started. He got up from her side, and then all that was left was a dog for awhile. The whole thing was a giant party, and the death was hardly a distraction...they wouldn’t let it ruin their event.
The Human Geographies essay also says that the traffic jams at the beginning and the end are supposed to be a parody of a growing population....I didn’t get this connection until I read this in the essay...I just figured that it was supposed to symbolize impatience to get to their party/race.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

los olvidados

Los olvidados has a lot of huge important themes, especially since Buñuel thought of it as a documentary, but I think that the relationships are the most interesting part of the film...the relationships between the gang and their parents, the relationships within the gang, and the relationships between the gang and others such as authority figures, animals and people who are weaker than them (the blind man and the legless man).
When I first heard about this movie, I thought that the kids were orphans who started a gang, so when I saw the movie and some of the kids had parents/authority figures in their lives I thought it was interesting that they did but still choose to rebel and be part of a gang. And also that Pedro still really cares about what his mom thinks of him even though he makes a lot of bad decisions. His dream about his mother convinces him to behave, and makes him realize that his relationship with Jaibo is a bad one...Jaibo tries to control him and pulls him into situations that’ll get both of them in trouble...but even after he tries to get out of Jaibo’s influence, he can’t escape him until they’re both dead. The gang picks on people who are weaker than them, so that they can take their money, and they run away from any authority figure that could potentially punish them. Also at the beginning, it seems like Buñuel is going to have Ojitos inspire the gang members to change because he’s from the country and he’s knowledgeable, and he has a good heart. I kind of missed what was happening when he was pretending to be sick, but I thought that in general that his relationship with the blind man was important because it showed that different behaviour is possible, especially when he starts to get mad at the blind man and starts to throw a rock at him, but then chooses not to...I thought that whole scene represented the possibility of making good choices if you want to make them. I wasn’t really clear about Pedro’s relationship with animals, or why chickens/roosters kept appearing everywhere when something good or bad happened. Pedro seemed to have a soft heart for animals, which could represent the good in him, but he was still willing to kill them at the farm when he got angry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Aguila o Sol

Aguila o Sol.........what an interesting movie. I'm really glad that this is a blog because the language was way too fast for me to understand most of what they were saying and I wouldn't be able to give concrete examples like I would have to in an essay. That said, I guess it didn't really matter too much that I didn't really understand what they were saying because I still understood that there wasn't much of a plot. The whole movie, even the parts where they weren't on an actual stage was like stand up comedy.........When they were on stage though, just from the way that they dressed up, it seemed like they were trying to appeal to a lower class as well as an upper class..also when they were selling newspapers, it seemed like they were trying to make a connection with a lower class audience so that the comedy would appeal to them as well as the upper class. It reached out to all classes because it showed that they worked themselves up from the bottom when they were orphans and on their own to when they had their own act (this could perhaps give hope to a lower class audience?) and also to an upper class audience, as we could see when the characters were performing on stage, the camera kept showing how much the audience like the comedy....but going back to what I was saying before, this doesn't really apply to when they were children, but I noticed that they were constantly trying to entertain the audience (I mean the audience watching the movie, not the audience that was watching the show) through constant stand up comedy and slapstick...even the transitions attempted to entertain...for example when Cantinflas and Carmelo are going from the theatre to the bar, and the movie shows comedy with "El Gallego" before going back to the main characters. I also noticed that when they're drunk, they talk in nonsense and then sing when they are transitioning to another joke or section of the stand up comedy or to end the scene.

The plot can’t have much purpose other than to entertain, especially if they have to put in such a large and random dream scene. They seemed to want to show off the talent of the other characters ( I guess that’s what the other show was for too) some more, and add more slapsticks with the coconuts falling on their heads (or rather a crew member throwing coconuts at their heads)...otherwise there wasn’t much point it, or any part of the movie. So the movie was made up of a combination of the two points that I mentioned here (and probably more)...constant entertainment, and appealing to more than one class...maybe the dancing in the dream appealed to a higher class...I have a question though, and it’s not really relevant, but here it is. When Cantinflas and Carmelo are on stage and they are talking about verb tenses, doesn’t that imply that they have had some sort of education? Or do you learn grammar from selling newspapers on the street? This most likely isn’t important, but it’s something I noticed...At the time when they are telling the joke they seemed to be dressed up like lower class people, so if they did need an education for that then it doesn’t really make sense.

Friday, January 9, 2009


We're supposed to introduce ourselves...and I don't really know what to write...My name is Elena, and I'm a music and Spanish major. I guess I'm interested in cinema courses because as a musician I've had to analyse/study a lot of different styles of music from different cultures and look at them from different perspectives... and cinema to me is similar to music with all of the many components and layers, except that music is mostly conveyed through sound, and so is cinema, but obviously it is also really visual. Of course there are a lot of other differences, but I can see the similarities too, so on one hand, I don't think that studying cinema will be much different from what I'm used to (though I could be wrong), but I also know that it will offer a lot of new challenges. Anyways, I guess that's my introduction for now.