FILM 1701 Lecture Notes - Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Intellectual Freedom

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Published on 25 Sep 2012
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The worst prison is the death of ones child. Its easier for men.
I have loved you so long (2008), names the director and actors. Scott Thomas has a
lot of French films, even though she is British, different movies by her. Stated that
she feels more French than british. What doesn’t kil you, names directors and actors,
Ethan Hawke (also a director and writer), Mark Ruffalo (also a write and
director).etc.
For the films this week, interestingly pick up where we left off last time in our theme
of prison, both are about crime and criminals who go to prison but more specifically
about what happens after they are released. The films last time were about life in
prison itself, but not life out of prison. This lecture marks your out of prisons from
this course. Beyond that, the both films represent the whole concept of prison itself,
not just as place of confinement but also as a social institution, an ideology, a
metaphor for the various constraints in our lives, emotional, psychological, social,
cultural constraints by which we are bound. In many ways those constraints
construct as a social subject, they tell us who we are and gives us our place in
society and thereby shape our identities or even break those identities down. In
most Hollywood films and indeed in many western cinemas produced in democratic
nations, prison is depicted as antithetical to liberty and freedom, that makes given
that when you are sent to prison your freedom is taken away, that is one of the main
purposes and affects of the punishment. So there is a literal aspect to prison’s
opposition to freedom but also prison is antithetical to freedom as a value of social
and national idea that’s intrinsically related to other ideological values including
democracy and individualism. So in that case, we are not just talking about the
physical freedom that is limited or removed by prison but also intellectual freedom,
social freedom and political freedom. Now of course a lot of how we feel about
prison and how its represented in movies has to do not only with the political
system of the nation in which the film is produced or the opinions of the film maker
or the social or the political context of the time the film is made, if its made in deeply
conservative times then prison might be seen as a good thing, social institution that
helps to maintain control if only by locking up the criminals and keeping up save
from them. If it’s made in very liberal times then we might look at prison as a bad
thing, a machine that grinds the prisoners down, down and down , things to
dehumanize and depersonalize them, to weed out rebellion, brutal the pressure
resistance in spirit and thereby diminished difference in individuality, all under the
guise of promoting respect and system and instilling or restoring the law and order.
You can see how in account to cultural context, or a climate of protest or revolution,
the prison can very easily be a metaphor for the establishment or the very
institution of authority and power. In more extreme cases, such as an underground
film made by the totalitarian or vacuous state, prison could be depicted as an
instrument of that state, a tool of punishment but also political oppression, a means
of caution resistance or dissonance. In I have loved you so long, prison is manifested
in numerous ways, not as a physical institution in which Juliet is incarcerated but
also a very social structure system by which she is constrained including the
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patriarchal system we see throughout the film, places where men are primarily in
positions of power and authority, in relation to women who are either marginalized
or who come in second place regardless of their equal or even their superior
accomplishments. And we see the idea that metaphorical prison is echoed elsewhere
throughout the film in numerous other institutions and social structures which also
constrain physical, psychological or emotional freedom and which delimit the
individuality of various characters, for example the nursing home where Juliet and
Lea visit their mother is another institution where the patients are confined and
carefully watched by supervised personnel. Even the dementia with which their
mother suffers is a kind of prison, which has isolated and robbed her form her past
and personality. There is also the hospital where Juliet gets a job, the university
where Lea teachees and the wider professional fields that they both represent. The
institution of medicine with its rules and regulations. Its hierarchy and its pecky
odor and the institution of academia, which operates on a similar basis.. There is an
interesting scene which was actually eidt out of that movie which showed Juliet had
worked in the hospital being bullied by a young male doctor who makes a
derogatory remark about how the female employees of the hospital get older and
stupider over time. Just an example of patriarchy at work.
The second film What doesn’t kill you also refers to the negative effects of prison,
also that is one of the thing that the title of the film is referring to, the adage that
what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We see the toll taken by the penal
institutions daily monotony, shots of the inmates lying on their bunks inert, restless,
perhaps it’s a more realistic less melodramatic depiction of the prison that we have
seen in other examples of the genre. The inmates survive anyway they can, exercise
in the tiny yard, but also forming their own ersatz society within the olves? A
parallel to the life outside from which they have been removed with his own
hierarchy, its rules and codes, its rights of passages and cycles. In a fascinating way,
the point of punishment is reiterated by this need of community and society
amongst humans bit its even further sharpened by the realization of the
punishment’s extension beyond the prison term itself. Once you release it’s a whole
new lesson in survival in the outside world, which necessitates a whole new
formulation and of identity. Thats one of the reasons why there is so much
reconvence amongst ex convex, why they wind up back inside b/c for various
reasons they can’t make it in the outside world. They cant find work or they can’t
resis temptations to crime or durgs, but also its easier on the inside where
everything is provided for you, your cloths, your meals, your activities, your
summates and so on.
This is also true in I have loved you so long, which certainly is really about the after
math of prison, beginning just after Juliet’s release. She has been in prison for 15
years and the film begins as she waits at the airport terminal for her younger sister
lea from whom she’s been estranged to come pick her up. As the film continually
reminds us visually that there’s a double inscription of the concept of prison
manifested not only in the actual physical place of her confinement but the mental
place where she is as the result of her imprisonment and the event, which led to her
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