Summary of urban stories 2014


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  • Lil Ze, Knock Out Ned. Goose, Shaggy, Shorty and Wife, The Hotel, Steak and Chips, Police officer and arms dealer, Otto’s Dad, Knockout Neds family.
  • Summary of urban stories 2014

    1. 1. URBAN STORIES Section A Power, Poverty & Conflict
    2. 2. URBAN STORIES Common Issues: • A culture dominated by a more powerful ideology. • A portrait of a culture in a particular place at crucial time of development. • An inability for sustained romantic alliances due to social conditions and upbringing.
    3. 3. URBAN STORIES Common Issues: • A feeling of social or cultural insignificance. • A descent into violence, drug use, crime, alcoholism or lethargy. • Conflicts arising as a result of social and/or cultural environments. • Societies lacking in identity due to Western Globalisation (influence of America)
    4. 4. URBAN STORIES Context of time and place: Production Film Representation of the city: The city as a character in itself Influence of the urban environment on the characters Representation of Power: Physical / Authority / Power / Gender / Social Class Money / Family Representation of Poverty: Material / Emotional / Education / Opportunity Representation of Conflict: Physical / Psychological (of the mind!) / Emotional / Material / Social & Cultural / Family & relationships
    5. 5. La Haine Contexts La Haine (1995) is set in the 1990s and the protagonists live in ‘les banlieues’ (housing estates) on the outskirts of Paris. It also deals with police brutality, racism and civil unrest. It opens with immediate context: real footage of the riots that regularly took place between youths and police between 1986 and 1996 (and were continuing during filming). The director, Mathieu Kassovitz, has often stated that he was inspired to write the film when he heard the story of: a young Zairian, Makome M’Bowole [who] was shot in 1993. He was killed at point blank range while in police custody and handcuffed to a radiator.
    6. 6. Messages and Values •Multiculturalism and ethnicity within modern French society is clearly explored throughout the film. Examples of this are the posters in Hubert’s room and the song ‘burnin and lootin’, which links directly to ideas of black uprisings and by that fact that each of our central characters is from a different ethnicity •A positive outlook is that the three friends are all of mixed ethnicity and within the youth culture the separate ethnicities are shown as evolving into a vibrant hybrid of cultural fusion and unity. It is only in the centre of Paris that this unity is missing
    7. 7. Ethnic Origins Hubert: Black African-French Vinz: From a Jewish Background Said: Arab African- French
    8. 8. Ethnic Origins •Drawn together by their shared youth culture, their difference in ethnic origin seems unimportant to them: But each character is shown to be very aware of the ways in which others in France might look at his ethnicity. •For example, because he is ‘white’, it is Vinz who is given the task of attempting to gain entry to the middle-class block of flats where they hope to meet ‘Asterix’.
    9. 9. Ethnic Origins What other ways could you differentiate between the three main characters? Discuss the above question in pairs. Make sure you can refer to specific scenes in order to illustrate your point.
    10. 10. Key Scenes: Interview attempt When the TV news crew are attempting to interview the three main protagonists about the previous nights riot, they literally ‘look down on’ the three friends. What does this suggest about how they are viewed within society? Why do you think the news crew approached them? What does this suggest about the attitudes of white French people towards non white French?
    11. 11. Key Scenes: DJ scene The DJ using his decks to blast out an anti-police message in a scene which is filmed and edited in such a way as to convey the sense of momentary freedom, escape or release. Why do you think it was important to include this scene?
    12. 12. Representations - Males Young men from ethnic minorities are the main social group represented in the film. The American ‘hood’ film sub-genre often has a character that is trying to reject a life of crime and escape the trappings of the ‘hood’ in which he lives.
    13. 13. Hubert conforms to this archetype, and rejects crime as a way of life. He tries to fight against taking violence as a means to integrate into society and earn a living (Poverty). His friends Vinz & Said take different approaches to their social situation (Conflict). The film can be seen as debate about the way to deal with issues above and beyond their control (Power).
    14. 14. Hubert rejects the rioting of the other youths on his estate. He runs a gym that he worked hard to get a grant for, and promotes boxing as a sport for young people to get involved in. The audience first meets him in the ruined gym after the rioters have trashed and burnt it in the previous night’s riots. The film ends with Hubert sucked in to potentially committing the murder of a police officer (or being murdered himself) as retaliation for the shooting of his friend. Characters who try to escape the ghetto life are often stopped from doing so by circumstances out of their control – or even by death (something explored in other Urban Stories).
    15. 15. La Haine- Other Messages? • What is the film’s message? Consider it from an ideological standpoint, thinking about class, ethnicity and France as a nation? • The masses rising up and revolting against the dominant ideology? Power to the people? • The working classes being kept in their place by the ruling classes? • Immigration doesn’t work? • France should take greater care of its colonial cousins? • Others • Does the film have an overt or covert message?
    16. 16. City of god: Context and plot Directors: Fernando Mierelles and Catia Lund Year of release: 2002 Stars: Alexandre Rodrigez, Matheus Nachtergaele and Leandro Firmino All the characters existed in reality, and the story is based on real events.
    17. 17. City of god: Plot and context • It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the '60s and the beginning of the '80s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li'l Zé and criminal Knockout Ned. • The tagline is "If you run the beast catches, if you stay the beast eats,“ Which is a theme that runs throughout the film. The idea that if you are born into the city of god, you are expected to stay and become a hood. (This is an idea that is also explored with the film La Haine ).
    18. 18. City of God: Plot and context • The cast includes Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Jonathan Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Alice Braga and Seu Jorge. Most of the actors were, in fact, residents of ghettos such as Vidigal and the Cidade de Deus (City of god) itself. • What is the advantage of having actors who are from the Ghetto’s of Rio De Janeiro? • Do you think that this gives City of God an advantage over more traditonal casting?
    19. 19. Key scenes: Opening scene • The opening to the film focuses on a chicken and its attempt to escape the violent death that is almost inevitably awaits it. • The images that flash up within the scene are of blood and instruments of death, which also help to suggest that the chicken is going to be killed by the group chasing it. • The scene is also accompanied by piercing and threatening sounds, which add a almost tense atmosphere as the chicken is desperate to escape the chase.
    20. 20. Key scenes: Opening scene • The chicken trying to escape can be seen as a representation of some of the ‘hood’s’ living in the ghetto. • The chicken is then replaced with the character Rocket, who is then stuck between two equally threatening parties (the hoods and the police), representing him as a character who wants to escape from the lifestyle associated with being a hood. • The opening scene is taken from a scene at the end of the story, but is used as a point for all the previous stories of the slums to amount to. • This shows that this scene is key to the story of ‘city of god’ and is almost seen as the make or break moment for Rocket- should he take his opportunity to be a photographer or join Lil Ze’s gang?
    21. 21. Key scenes: Benny’s death One of the pivotal moments within the film is when Benny is killed at the club. Make a spider diagram of reasons why this scene is so important, using examples. Benny’s death Benny is seen as a ‘cool hood’, people are now worried about who is now going to keep the peace.
    22. 22. Deaths Deaths also play an important role within the film and are often used in pivotal ways that may change the course of the film. Choose three deaths, other than Benny’s, and create a mind map for each explaining there significance within the film. Consider how the Mise-enscene, cinematography and sound used within the shots are used to create meaning.
    23. 23. Other key scenes Other than the opening scene and Benny’s death, what are some other key scenes within the film? Devise a list of what scenes you believe are important within the film and why. How could you compare them to La Haine E.G. The hotel scene when we realise ‘lil dice’ has killed all the people, many of whom live in the slums as well. This is the moment we realise his character is going to be ruthless and a rebel throughout the film and also allows us to understand how young some of the hoods are when they begin to kill. In La Haine there is no evidence of violence between members of the slum, their hatred (which is no what near that of lil dice) is aimed out side the slums
    24. 24. Messages and values • The scenes representing ‘City of God’ in the 60’s, show a much more innocent side to the ‘hoods’. The ‘tender trio’, as they hold up a lorry give the gas cylinders to members of city of god (even thought there actions are wrong, they still are thinking of the community). • When they enter the brothel, the tender trio make a deal to not kill anyone inside. Where as Lil Dice, who is representing the next generation, kills everyone inside- this shows a contrast and change within the ghettos between the 60’s and 80’s. • But, the problem is suggested to continue or escalate, as the film is ended with the runts killing Lil Ze. • This suggest a never ending circle of gang culture in city of god, and again suggests that there is a stigma and stereotype attached to those who are from the ghetto.
    25. 25. Messages and Values • Knockout Ned’s character starts off as one that almost mirrors the idea of a typical Hollywood western hero. Someone who is seeking revenge in honour of his family. He first puts forward a moral outlook which centres on the naïve notion that nobody who is innocent should be killed. • He quickly becomes deeply involved in the hood culture and starts to kill for the sake of killing. • He then becomes part of an unstoppable cycle where he is then killed by Otto, who is driven by the same sense of ‘Justice’. • This then highlights again the never ending circle of violence that the residents of city of god experience. It suggests that there can be no resolution or solution to the problems ever being sorted.
    26. 26. Benny and Ze Arguably, the most central relationship within the film, is that of Benny and Ze. Their characters are extremely different and it is important to question why they have been represented as being so close yet so far from one another.
    27. 27. Benny and Ze • We know little to nothing about the background of the two characters, their home life or relationships with family. • Benny has become a leader of a brutal, drug dealing gang controlling a part of the city of god, yet he remains a ‘cool guy’. Contrasting with Ze, also a leader, who is represented as a psychotic killer from the moment we see him as a young child. • In Benny’s death scene it is implied that Benny is really the only person Ze has ever loved, giving a reason to why he now has nothing holding him back in allowing the ghetto to become a war zone. • Both characters it seems are what they are because of their individual psychological make-up: essentially they have been born this way. • If we compare this to La Haine, we find that the characters in that film are given much more carefully chosen backgrounds, that make them much more distinctive as individuals.
    28. 28. Benny and Ze In City of God, the only explanation we have for Ze’s nature is that he is too ugly to get a girlfriend, while there is no explanation at all as to how Benny has emerged from the cycle of violence as a freewheeling hippy. • What was the purpose of using two opposing characters in such a way? Discuss and make a list.
    29. 29. Social, historical and political context • More than 6,000 people, most of them from the ghettos (favelas), were murdered in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. • Rio’s wealthy middle class lived in gated apartment blocks with private security, in conditions that are completely contrasting to those of the hillside shanty towns. • Police chiefs seem to be in no doubt that their job is to protect status quo through control of the underprivileged. • Throughout the 1980’s Brazil suffered chronic inflation and the country's foreign debt was higher than that of any other developing nation. • There was a high birth rate and a migration of people into the city from rural areas during the 1980s and these trends continued into the 1990s.
    30. 30. Social, historical and political context • The struggle between left wing socialist/communist groups and right winged conservative forces stretch back into Brazils past, to the 1960s and beyond. • In 1961, the president, Janio da Silva Quadros, resigned, saying his attempts at reforms had been blocked by forces of reaction (in other words right wing political forces). • In 1964, the new president, Joao Bechoir Marques Goulart , attempted to nationalise the country’s oil refineries and limit profits going abroad but was deposed by the army. • Military rule lasted until 1985 with the opposition political parties being supressed, civil liberties being curbed, and strict media censorship being enforced. • Also during the 1960’s Roman catholic priests began to criticise the governments failure to help the poor.
    31. 31. Social, historical and political contexts • Meirelles seems to suggest in City of God that as one generation has replaced another since the 1960’s the political dimension to crime in the ghettos, has now most certainly been lost so that all that is left is a dog eat dog world. • How important do you think it is to attempt to place such films within a social historical context? Discuss with the person next to you.