Urban stories Power, Poverty and Conflict 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.
Urban storiesA 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
Urban storiesDifferent Environments/Times‘La Haine’ ‘Projects’ on the outskirts of Paris for ethnic minority groups, who were ‘assimilated’ into French society, with no opportunity for work or progression as they were promised.‘City Of God’ The poor and lower working class minorities living in Rio de Janeiro are treated as an underclass. With limited prospects the young males drift in to a life a crime due to limited prospects in the ‘favelas’.
Urban •The favelas act as a place for the gangs to plan and start awar•Favelas act as a place for the gangs to be ‘safe’ and‘wanted’ in terms of being with others.•The ‘City of God’ is an urban city, as a lot of crime andcorruption such as the wars against the gangs and theregular looting and shooting crimes.•Many look beyond the favela to find a better life e.g.Rocket wants to get away from drugs and crime, Angelicaand Benny want to start a farm.•The favela is about gaining control and power.
Power•The film is about gaining power in the favela and doing well in thebusiness of drugs.•Lil Ze/Dice is obsessed with power, anyone that faces him eitherdie or end up working for him.•Violence breeds more violence.•Lil Ze/Dice is behind the motel heist, he is also shown to be apsychopath.•Goose takes Lil Dice’s money, Lil Dice ends up killing Goose “OhGoose I’ve got something for you”.•Lil Dice sees a voodoo shames guy, he gives Lil Dice a new nameand a mullet/necklace, he is now Lil Ze. “If you wear this whenhaving sex you will die”.•Power is the single thing that corrupts society.•The police have less power than Lil Ze as they are corrupt.•The drug gang lack little responsibility, their main priority is sellingdrugs and not getting caught.•What this film does offer is some perspective into the socializedpower of peer groups, but what is thinly explained is why Rocketyearns for something more than fitting into criminal enterprises.
Poverty•The conditions of the poor are presented as unable to be altered except byan individual getting out of the slums and leaving everyone else there.•There are few choices, slim chances and narrow and vicious mindspresent in the film, this contributes to the poverty.•Not just guns and little resources they have contribute to poverty, but thefact that there is little social behaviour.•The conditions of life are shown to be disturbing and corrupt.•Everybody has a need to belong somewhere.•Poverty is shown in a negative way through the narrative and technicalfeatures of the film.•The film employs three different shades for each decade, the 60s has agold tint, the 70s there is a blue tint, in order the show the sinister side ofthe city, as well as to reflect the poor living conditions in the favelas•The narrative shows the issue of poverty due to where the characters liveand how they behave. It shows the both the roots and the effects of povertyas the story begins in the 1960s before the events in the 70s and 80s. Theearlier events are shot with bright colours with a very open environmentwhich can suggest freedom, whereas 2 decades later, the city descendsinto poverty which is visualised in much darker tones and colours as thecharacters become more violent and turn to crime and drugs.•Due to the amount of poverty, many have resorted in crime to get by inlife.
Conflict•Conflict invades every minute of the film.•Characters and random people die everywhere.•The whole film in a way is about one massive war thathas begun since the 1970s.•The moment when the children make Lil Ze angry, heshoots two of the ‘runts’ in their feet. (no choice)•The conflict between the police and the gangs.•The conflict between honesty and dishonesty.•The conflict between the values of the women – whowant their men to settle down and lead a ‘normal’ life.
QuestionWhat is the importance of mise en scene and / or sound in creating meaning and generating response in the films you have studied?
Highlight the key words so that you are able to use them in your answer to the question. This will make sure that you are sticking to the question asked and not moving off on a descriptive trailWhat is the importance of mise en scene and / or sound in creating meaning and generating response in the films you have studied?
Highlight the key words so that you are able to usethem in your answer to the question. This will makesure that you are sticking to the question asked and not moving off on a descriptive trailWhat is the importance of mise en scene and / or sound in creating meaning and generating response in the films you have studied?
Re word the title of the question into a quicksentence of intent to get you focussed on the essay that you will write
Re word the title of the question into a quick sentence of intent to get you focussed on the essay that you will writeSound and mise en scene is used to great affect in many of the films that have been studied. They are often used to complement the narrative generating further emotional response and meaning.
Note down some points that you will raise when answering this question You should spend about 5 minutes doing this
Note down some points that you will raise when answering this question You should spend about 5 minutes doing this• Music• Sound effects• Dialogue• Mise en scene contrasts• Mise en scene messages
What issues could you include?• Racism & Exclusion• Realism• Discrimination• (In)Equality• Liberty/Rebellion• Fraternity (Brotherhood)• Class (Political – Assimilation?)• Westernisation (Social/Cultural)
Write your answer...• What are some of the dos and don’ts?
Write your answer...• Go through each point and cross them off as you go• Give an example or two for each point and possibly one which is the exception to the rule• Try to refer to specific scenes / quotations from the films• Do not tell the stories / describe the films in too much detail• Explain how your examples prove your points and answer the question (using words from the question)• Ensure that you are sticking to the correct time limit
Urban stories Applying research knowledgeGreater understanding of how contextual issues are incorporated into technical codesThe importance of discussing the social consequences of time & placeDeveloping your ability to recognise an ‘Urban Story’
Urban stories Approach to analysis/discussionDevelop your knowledge of Urban Stories through research into the social environments of each text. Focus upon the key themes & issues raised within this type of World Cinema.Give technical aspects that re-enforce the central issues specific detailed attention.
Music• The music that is used in the films has been well chosen to have a great impact on the meaning and response within the films, linking in to the social and historical context as well as informing the audience about the characters• La Haine plays no non diegetic music within the film at all as it would affect the stark realism of the film. There is often music within the film though but it is presented by people playing music or switching on tapes. An example of this is when a DJ turn his speakers to the crown and mixes a Hip Hop song, KRS One Sound of the Police, with a traditional French song, Je ne Regret Rien, by Edith Piaf. The contrasting music illustrates the conflicting influence on the characters culture and identity. Within Chunking Express, the diegetic but almost dreamlike repetition of California Dreaming by the Mammas and Pappas by Faye illustrates her longing for America as well as the invasion of American ideologies and all round influences onto the East and the people within it.• The characters often turn away from their own culture to identity another often American one, however, this is illustrative of a post modern situation where people are not identifying with a true and particular identity but the one which is presented to us through the media and popular culture that has sprung out of it, illustrated in Vinz’s poster of American icons, his repetition of the phrase from the film Taxi Driver as well as Faye’s obsession with a song that is representative of hippy ideals that have been taken over a capitalistic and materialistic culture
Sound effects• Sound effects are continually used to generate meaning and response in the films that have been studied, these are varied in nature but all point to underlying messages and values as well as the historical and social context in which the films have been found.• The sound of the clock ticking is one sound affect that is actually added to the realism of La Haine. This is only found within the scene transitions where we see the time of day of the film. This film is set on one day within a Parisian estate demonstrating the lives and activities of those people within it. The ticking ties in with a central metaphor of someone falling from a building and expecting bad things ahead as well as having the connotations of a bomb that is about to go off, which is the feeling of those people who live on the estate. At the beginning of City of God we hear a knife being sharpened which separates the sound of people drinking, dancing and laughing. This is illustrative of the mixture of danger within the celebrative place that Brazil is with its carnivals and tropical weather. Noise of drums and rattling often accompanies• As you can see sound is used in a number of different ways throughout the films studied in order to provoke a whole range of meanings and responses
Dialogue• The dialogue spoken within the films clearly is very important for the meaning and response of an audience, without it films would often be rendered meaningless. However, there are times when a phrase of dialogue can help to cast meaning over the entire films and sum up a directors intentions within the film whether it the central messages of the essence of a character.• Hatred breeds hatred, is a line stated by Hubert in La Haine when he is debating with Vinz in a Parisian toilet, he says this as Vinz wants revenge for the shooting of a friend. Hubert illustrates a central point behind the films of a continuing conflict that has been created in Paris and can be done anywhere when two sides are fighting each other. You will not win by fighting hurting 1 of 1000 men, you will only cause the others to want to hurt you. Rockets line of, we were a long way from the picture postcard image of Rio de Janeiro, illustrates a point of the film which is to highlight a true representation of a country and its difficulties..• Dialogue then is very important in creating meaning and response but also in summarising the message and intentions of a film
Mise en Scene – in contrast• Continuing the above statement of contrasts, this is also illustrated in the mise en scene to be found within a film.• In La Haine the contrast of the city of Paris and the suburbs or banlieues is quite clear, not only in the streets and attitudes of the police but also in the living conditions of the habitants. Vinzs house where he shares a bedroom with his sister can be seen in great contrast to the huge flat that Asterix is living in. In terms of time representing the same place there is a clear contrast in the presentation of the sixties and seventies of Rio and the slums. The film City of God, begins with optimism presented in the wide open spaces and the light colours as families are moving in to the favella to begin their lives together. This is then replaced ten years on by grey metallic colours and corrugated iron as the film shows how the area has deteriorated when more people arrived and little left.• Under greater examination we can see the truth in a lot of these cases when looking at the countries through Google earth. The contrasts are literally a stones throw away
Mise en Scene and Messages• As well as realism the mise en scene within the films often convey to us with messages and values subtly weaved in to the film.• A scene in La Haine where the characters are sat in a park seeing the day out and are approached by journalists illustrates how a lot of Paris and the world view its underclass. The scene is representative of a zoo with high walls where the characters sit around unoccupied and visitors come and look over the fence at them. One of the central characters even refers to this when he states that they are not in a safari park. The bedrooms of Vinz and Hubert also show to us the characters that they are through the posters on the walls. Hubert’s room contains a focus on his African heritage and black role models such as Mohammid Ali; Vinz on the other hand shows his rejection of his parents values, his distaste with laws of the society and his need to gain another identity of his own: Bruce Lee, American wrestlers, Cypress Hill.• Mise en Scene then can contain messages and values and portray the country in which it is set along with the individual characters of the film.