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Transcript of IDEOLOGY
Joseph Brenan & Michael Coop
The French Riots
President Charles de Gaulle held a rigidly conservative stance on the governance of France
His laws mandated that homosexuality was a crime, factory workers could be fired at will, women had to answer to their husbands when using money, and the educational system was overcrowded and stifling independent thought (source 1).
In this clip we see Wayne's character smoke a cigar - implications of wealth and, perhaps, masculinity.
He displays his skills by flipping the firearm in a threatening manner - this may be symbolic of capitalist dominance.
The "gold piece" coin he flips also continues the depictiction of wealth and symbolises the capitalist commodity in its base form.
The Marxist Ideology
Karl Marx was a revolutionary political thinker. He believed that conflict arising from the need for food and materials was the root of all social issues.
He envisioned a perfect state in which resources were shared equally regardless of class, thereby removing all sense of societal conflict from the world
Marxism, in its most basic form, is essentially this.
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
According to Marxist theory, all of these character traits (wealth, heroism, and masculinity) create a reaction within the audience – a yearning to embody the praised individuality in Wayne’s character and a comfort with his environment – staunchly opposed to the Marxist sense of community and sharing.
Source 1 - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90330162
source 2 - http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/beginning.html
source 3 - youtube.com(watch?v=uu0h3GRBQ-U).
source for C&N essay - http://faculty.washington.edu/cbehler/teaching/coursenotes/camideolcrit.html
Andrew Dix, Beginning Film Studies, page 229.
The Conversation between Film and Ideology - Ye Quijun (dissertation) p12.
Comolli and Narboni
Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni were a writing duo who were published in cahiers du cinema. Their 1971 essay Cinema/Ideology/Criticism looked at the production and consumption of film from the ideological standpoint of Marxism.
It criticises a commercialised film industry, interested only in supporting the “dominant ideology” of capitalism.
It argues that a capitalist society holds power over all aspects of film production: editing, writing, equipment, actors etc. and as such almost all films subtly reinforce the norms of capitalist society in order to imbue the audience with capitalist values...
Citizens eventually became so tired of this that they took to the streets to protest – for a short time, bringing aspects of French government, economy and media to a standstill.
Though Marxism was not taken as a way of governing the country, the ideals espoused by the rioters left a mark on many aspects of French and global society, one of which is of course film and film criticism
In this clip, capitalist ideology is shown to be prevalent through the ‘hero’ status affixed to Wayne’s character.
Comolli and Narboni continued...
The two also made distinctions between the types of films in relation to Marxism, and set parameters to measure their effectiveness in challenging the dominant ideology.
One form of film is imbued with the dominant ideology in both narrative and form, giving no indication that it is even aware of said ideology. '
would fit into this category nicely as it makes no reference to the fact that it is a film and implies that the hero is comfortable in a capitalist world.
Contrastingly, films that are able to challenge the dominant ideology are those that both: use narrative to directly challenge the ideological norms, as well as using alternate methods of form, usually to let the audience know they are watching a film and hence allow them to examine what they are seeing in a more removed context...
A modern example that follows the previous descripton of Comolli and Narboni's point on film forms is
"Jean-Luc Comilli and Jean Narboni admittedly allow for the possibility of some filmmaking that will disrupt the spectator's usual quietude"
Dix, page 229
So in regards to "challenging the ideological norms", fight club expresses the arbitrary conformity we put ourselves under - this may expressed through quotes such as...
It also makes references to the fact that it is a film through techniques such as breaking the 'fourth wall' and editing the film so that it shows tell tale signs of it actually being a film reel/product of cinematic work
‘A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy’.
- Oxford English Dictionary.
It may be ironic that an anti-capitalist film employed 'high-budget' stars such as Brad Pitt and Edward Norton to make its statement on the dominant ideology.
However, despite the films' 'message', it is still a product that must be invested in by the audience for the livelihoods of the film makers and producers.
Back to Comolli and Narboni...
“It [film] becomes transformed into a commodity, possessing exchange value, which is realized by the sale of tickets and contracts, and governed by the laws of the market.” (of a capitalist society).
This point stands true for most, if not all commercial films made today.
So in conclusion, Comolli and Narboni recognise the fact that a capitalist ideology is somewhat oppressing other ideological notions and liberties as well as dictating industry and social conventions.
So in terms of
as a "signified" film (a film that makes aware its political statement through its 'unconventional' form), the style in which it was made supports Comolli's point on such films being political statements in an otherwise capitalist world where there is no place for Marxist ruling.
of literature and art, as ideological forms, are
products of the reflection in the human brain of the life of a given society". Ye Qijun (p12)