70s4. The Gangster Genre, Cinematography, and The Godfather Part 2

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70s4. The Gangster Genre, Cinematography, and The Godfather Part 2

  1. 1. US Cinema of the 1970s: The Gangster Genre, Cinematography, and The Godfather Part 2 Prof. Julia Leyda September 10, 2013
  2. 2. quiz  Describe the differences between the flashback scenes (of Vito as a young man in the early 20th century) and the movie’s present day (of Michael as an adult in the 1950s).
  3. 3. gangster genre  Edward Mitchell’s analysis of the genre in the context of American cultural values  Puritanism  condemnation: guilty from birth  helpless: God’s will  moral agents: choose good or evil  Social Darwinism  survival of the fittest as natural law  the HoratioAlger myth  “luck and pluck”  social mobility, traditional values, and respectability
  4. 4. American Dream in gangster movies  self-made man: hard work pays off in success  HoratioAlger “luck and pluck”  Social Darwinism “survival of the fittest”  children can have a better life than parents  immigrants associate the US and its icons with American Dream (flag, Statue of Liberty, anthems)  realities: discrimination, poverty, xenophobia, corruption, class distinctions  immigrant enclave: bilingual community helps newcomers; maintains culture; source of jobs, information, education
  5. 5. Vito as American success story  bootstraps: came to US with nothing, worked hard, earned friends and respect  vigilante justice: protected other Italians from the predatory Mafia dons, eventually replaced them (cf.Westerns, crime)  entrepreneur: used olive oil import company as a front, image as small business owner  traditional values: Sicilian emphasis on family / “Family,” loyal friends, community, church
  6. 6. bootstraps: Vito and Clemenza
  7. 7. vigilante justice: Fanucci needed killing
  8. 8. entrepreneur: Vito’s new business
  9. 9. traditional values: family, community
  10. 10. discussion questions  Discuss the differences and similarities between the characters ofVito and Michael Corleone in this movie.  How doVito and Michael each try to achieve the American Dream?
  11. 11. The Godfather Part 2 cinematography  GordonWillis, DP aka “Prince of Darkness”  also shot Klute, The Godfather, All the President’s Men, Annie Hall, Manhattan, and lots more  shot scale defined by the size of a person within the frame  color coding for time periods and characters  framing to unite or isolate characters  chiaroscuro: light and dark for symbolism and atmosphere
  12. 12. shot scale
  13. 13. shot scale
  14. 14. shot scale: medium close-up (MCU)
  15. 15. shot scale: medium shot (MS); two-shot
  16. 16. shot scale: long shot
  17. 17. color in The Godfather Part 2  contrast between flashbacks  warm sepia for Sicily,Vito’s childhood / youth, in the past  garish lighting and cold, hard shadows for 1950s  browns and sepias look older to us (cf. Chinatown)  expressive of characters and emotional contexts  interplay of colors with lighting allows more complexity in expressiveness (dark / light, warm / cool colors)
  18. 18. Vito’s NY neighborhood: LS, two-shot in warm, golden, soft tones
  19. 19. Michael’s NV home: long shots in cold, dark, sharp, blues and greens
  20. 20. final shot: shadowy close-up of Michael
  21. 21. discussion questions  Discuss the color palettes for the other movies we’ve watched, in comparison to this one. How does each movie use color to express themes or emotions?  Movie lighting usually aims to show us as much of the actor’s face as possible.What is the effect if we can’t see faces clearly?  CompareAl Pacino’s screen image in Dog Day Afternoon and The Godfather Part 2.  Compare the portrayals of crime and family in Chinatown and The Godfather Part 2.

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