Cameras, Truth, and War Stories: Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now

35 years after the fact, the Vietnam War remains a divisive event in American history. Anti-communist sentiment stemming from the Cold War was tempered by an increasing desire for isolationism within the American populace, and both of these viewpoints were complicated by the introduction of a media presence in Vietnam which allowed news to be transported from the front faster than ever before. (more…)

Brokeback Mountain Breaks the New Queer Cinema Mold

In Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) we see the binary character study of two men engaging in a socially unacceptable love affair throughout a lifetime. The implications of such a plotline give Brokeback Mountain a public persona that is incorrectly associated with New Queer Cinema. (more…)

The Lesbian Soldier and the Supportive Wife: Gender Roles and the Woman Warrior in G.I. Jane and Courage Under Fire

The question of women in the American military during the 1990s was rife with controversy due to the multiple sex scandals reported by the media from harassment to rape. (more…)

Juno: A Text of the Colonized Body

In 2007 Fox Searchlight released the independently produced film Juno (Jason Reitman) about the unexpected pregnancy of the title character. Directed by Retiman with a screenplay by Diablo Cody, Juno was nominated for several Academy Awards and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. (more…)

Lola's Game of Life

I remember the first time I saw Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998), it was showing on a paid cable channel that I scrolled past and then back again to see "what in the world was that?" I sat through the exhilarating ride and didn't find out what the film was called until days later. The next time I watched it, years later, was for my Intro to Film course here at UCD and with that screening I found an unexpected passion coursing through my being for it. (more…)

Truth and Perception: Guilt and Innocence in Hitchcock

One of Hitchcock's favorite themes is the innocent man caught in a desperate situation, especially one is which he appears guilty of some crime. Sometimes the innocence or guilt is ambiguous; more often, it is clear to the viewer but unclear to the other characters in the film. (more…)

Pan's Labyrinth: Through Ofelia

As Ofelia continues to try to make sense of the unjust and barbarous world around her, events continue to take flight in reality and in her supernatural realm. Once Ofelia attempts stealing her baby brother back from the Captain and drugging his drink, incidents begin to quickly spiral downward, like the staircase Ofelia dies upon in the labyrinth. (more…)

Futurism: Art's Reaction to the Cinema

Very rarely does the world of art and film intersect. Obviously movies draw inspiration from the classic paintings of Art History (for example, Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven draws heavily from the visual style of the paintings of Andrew Wyeth.) Yet, never have these two mediums built off of one another, or responded to each other. However, there was one same moment in the history of art where an entire movement was created as a reaction to film, and that was Futurism. (more…)

Broken By The Past: The Role of Gender in Contemporary Gothic Cinema

The silhouette of a woman with unkempt hair flickers in an attic window sending a cautionary chill up an observer's spine. Something is out of place. Mental stability and social norms no longer feel as reliable as they should. This is the nature of the gothic nightmare. (more…)

The Story in History: Examining Apocalypse Now by looking at The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien says, "A grenade sails out. One guy jumps on it and takes the blast, but it's a killer grenade and everybody dies anyway. Before they die though, one of the dead guys says, 'The fuck you do that for?' and the jumper says, 'Story of my life, man,' and the other guy starts to smile but he's dead. That's a true war story that never happened" (83-4). (more…)

The Departed: A Study in Ego Dynamics

Martin Scorsese's gangster film The Departed (2006) can be read as a dramatization of ego development and pathology that uses its crime narrative and dramatis personae as a grid for mapping the psychological possibilities in human beings (though it is especially concerned with men). (more…)

Pedro Almodovar's Renegotiation of the Spanish Identity

Spanish cinema has been indelibly marked by the contribution of the films of Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar. The name has become synonymous with Spanish cinema, and his filmic influence has marked the reformation of post-Franco Spain. (more…)

Hitchcock and Identity: An Exploration of Marnie, Vertigo, and North by Northwest

"I find Hitchcock's films to be a bed of paradoxes and ambiguities in which identity is questioned and explored" (297), Lucretia Knapp writes in her essay "The Queer Voice in Marnie." Indeed, Hitchcock often deals with the matter of identity in his films, as his characters struggle to establish or reestablish their selves. In this vein, he frequently utilizes costuming to demonstrate the changeable nature of identity. (more…)

The Player: Hope, Heart, Nudity, Sex, and Happy Endings

The evolution of the American film industry has seen a multitude of transformations since its inception. From the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930's and 40's, to the edgy, unconventional and personal films of the 1970's, to the big budget, sequel driven movies of today, Hollywood has transformed into a finely tuned mass consumer machine, based on proven formulas and marketable storylines that often sacrifice substance over style. Director Robert Altman's career spans over two highly different periods in the American film industry. (more…)

Fiction Makes History in Apocalypse Now

All stories may be fiction, but all of history is open to interpretation. Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now took fictional representation of a factual subject to a new level in the film's depiction of the Vietnam War. Coppola's blurred lines between narrative fiction and historical fact have caused debate over crediting the film as an historical film or as one of mere entertainment. (more…)

Everybody Comes to Rick's

It's the 23rd of January 1943. The evening paper mentions that Sergei Eisenstein celebrates his 45th birthday today, The Duke Ellington Carnegie Hall Concerts record is released, and allied forces led by General Montgomery capture Tripoli ("On This Day," "Carnegie Hall Concerts, January 1943," and "WWII Combat Chronology"). The movie Casablanca also opens throughout US theaters today; however, this film premiered in New York two months earlier on the 26th of November 1942. (more…)