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Essay example - Focus on Society / Criticism and Commentary

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Masters
Essay
Visual Arts & Film Studies
Pages 2 (502 words)
There are some films that leave a lasting impression on an audience because they bring to light new aspects of the human condition that people have not properly appreciated before. Two such films are Philadelphia (1993) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). Both of these films have…

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oth films were regarded as controversial in conservative quarters, simply because homosexuality is a taboo subject there, provoking moral outrage, but at the same time they reflect an on-going change in American society towards a more liberal and diverse social landscape.
In Philadelphia a very reflective and atmospheric soundtrack helped to imprint in people’s minds the ordinariness and humanity of gay people. The standard courtroom motif evoked earlier films which depicted a struggle for social justice, such as To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) which dealt with the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the face of overt racial prejudice. The film reflected some of the big debates of the 1990s about homosexuality and its main contribution to that debate was to add dignity and compassion to the whole subject of AIDS/HIV. In a similar manner Brokeback Mountain used the Western tradition as a familiar backdrop to a controversial relationship, thus, for some, normalizing and integrating gay relationships into American cultural history. Both films present positive images of homosexual people, and by creating sympathy for them within the narrative they contribute to a gradual shift of American sensibility towards less judgemental attitudes, and a more accepting culture towards homosexuality.
The review of The Beach (2000) by Elvis Mitchell (2000) for the New York Times takes a distinctly auteurist approach to the movie, since it repeatedly mentions the connections between this movie and other works by director Danny Boyle. An obvious connection with Boyle’s famous film Trainspotting (1996) is stressed at the beginning of the review in an appreciation of actor Robert Carlyle, who also starred in that earlier film, and indeed played a similarly deranged and drug-fuelled character in both films.
Boyle’s “sleight of hand camera business” (Mitchell, 2000) is interpreted as a substitute for narrative resonance, and the point is reinforced with reference to ...
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