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Thread: Hidden Cinema/Film analysis

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    Hidden Cinema/Film analysis

    Part 1

    Have you ever stopped and looked closely at the poster for Johnathan Demmes 1991 masterpiece, The Silence Of The Lambs? Did you notice that in the centre of the moth that sits over Clarice's mouth is Salvador Dali's 'Human Skull consisting of seven naked women's bodies'?


    Hidden cinema is, by it's very nature, missed by most of us. It can consist of showing the viewer particular images and allowing the viewer to analyze them in order to realize the subtext. Sometimes, you will find these sorts of thematic images in films that you wouldn't expect to find them at all.


    In Paul Verhoevans 1997 film, Starship Troopers, a film that is usually snobbishly regarded by many a film critic to be nothing more than the cast of 90210 playing with guns on another planet, we can see upon further inspection that the film is based in a period in Earths future whereby the world has become a fascist new world order in where propaganda to join the military federation is rampant, and shown to us constantly throughout the film. The characters of the film are all from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina in our world, but in the world of the film it is full of white, English speaking, middle class kids who look like they have been lifted straight from a US teen movie set in California. The world has become the USA. It is also evidenced by Rasczak, the one armed teacher/company commander who tells the kids about the 'founding fathers' who thwarted democracy and set up the Federation. This is all spoken in a scene when the images are constantly cut between Rico flirting with Carmen , so as not to make it a major plot point.

    But one of the interesting things I found about Starship Troopers was the implication in the film that the Federation are in fact fighting themselves, who they perceive to be the bugs.

    Look at this short scene from the movie, and pause the video at 0:40

    Over Rico's left shoulder is the insignia of the military, a giant winged bug with the word 'VICTORY' written below it in a banner. We can also the insignia on their uniforms look very similar.

    Did you know that in Stanley Kubricks 1964 satirical comedy on the Cold War, Dr Strangelove, Kubrick insisted that the table in the war room should be covered in green felt to make it look like a poker table. The point being that these men sitting around the table were gambling with the lives of all of us. But as you may have noticed, Dr Strangelove is in black and white, so there is no way the audience could know just by watching the film that the war room table is green. But Kubrick knew it. And that's all that mattered to him.


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    Part 2


    Staying on the subject of Kubrick, lets look at possibly his most analyzed film, the 1980 classic; The Shining. The Shining really is a film analysts wet dream. An enormous amount of subject matter fills each scene and so many meanings can be argued as to the themes of the film. I could write out a long dissertation about this film, but lets just stick with a few smaller points. Let's watch the 'Lloyd scene' together:

    Notice at the beginning of the scene (which given the way it was recorded onto youtube is not easy to make out. Sorry about that) how when Jack is walking up the hallway towards the entrance to the ballroom and he has a little tempered outbursts, he is always walking past a mirror? Notice when he sits at the bar and after he says to himself that he'd 'give his soul' for a drink, Jack looks at us and see's Lloyd, the barman. But, as we saw from earlier in the scene, he is not looking at us, nor Lloyd. He is looking at himself in a mirror.

    We can see this again here when Jack is chatting with Mr Grady:

    For this whole entire scene, he is looking into a mirror. Remember, he is the caretaker.

    We see this pattern repeated throughout the movie; the woman in the bathtub in Room 237, when Wendy locks Jack in the storeroom and 'Mr Grady' lets him out etc. There are strong arguments to be made that in Kubricks version of The Shining, there are no ghosts and never were any ghosts, we just see what Jack Torrance see's through his insane vision.


    Many accused the second (and in my opinion the best) story of the three intertwining tales featured in Quentin Tarantino's wonderful 1994 film, Pulp Fiction as sick exploitation cinema without any purpose or merit. In my view, those people couldn't be further from the truth. The story of The Gold Watch is itself made up of two stories; The story of The Gold Watch itself, and the story of Butch reclaiming his honour in order to live up to his family name.

    Lets watch Christopher Walken brilliantly tell us this tale:

    I'm going to assume from here on that you have seen Pulp Fiction, so will not be posting any links to the remaining movie links to support my analyse. If you haven't seen Pulp Fiction, then what the hell are you doing reading this? Go watch it, now!

    As I said before, the Gold Watch story is an allegorical retelling of the story Christopher Walken tells to the young Butch:

    1:01 - 'We were in that Hanoi pit of hell together.' Later in the film where Butch and Marsellus and being held captive by Z and the other hillbilly in the basement, that is Butches 'Hanoi pit of hell' and the pit that he must escape from in order for him to do what his father could not.

    1:08-1:18 - ' will never have to experience this yourself...' But we know that he will have to experience it himself and he will have to 'take on the responsibilities of another.'

    1:54 - 'It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee.' Knoxville, Tennessee is where Butch and Fabian will flee to the day after the fight that Butch wins. Butch says this to his friend 'Scotty' during the scene where he is talking to him on the phone. It is also worth noting that the place where Butch and Marsellus are held captive by the rapists is in a little general store. Also, after Butch kills the gimp and goes to escape the general store, there is a license plate by Butchs head on the wall as he stands in the doorway torn about if he should return to save Marsellus; the licence plate is for the state of Tennessee.

    1:55-4:24 - We hear from here on the story of Butchs family lineage and it becomes clear that the watch itself is a symbol of the family traits and attributes. It is never explicitly said what those traits are, but given that Butch's father, grandfather and great grandfather fought (and 2 died) in wars, it could reasonably be said that among those attributes would be honour and pride.

    It is this pride that Marsellus tries to take away from Butch when he bribes him to take a fall in the fight, earlier in the film.

    The night of the fight, you might feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.

    Butch would most certainly not view the concept of pride in such a way.

    When Marsellus is selected to be the first to be raped and after Butch kills the gimp, he runs up the stairs ready to leave Marsellus to be the next gimp for the two rapists, intending to leave him in that 'Hanoi pit of hell.' But he can't do that. In the doorway he reconsiders and decides that saving Marsellus from the fate that is allegorical of the fate that befell his father, is the only honourable thing to do. It's as if by rescuing Marsellus, a man he has no ties too and no reason to help and actually flat out hates, he is subjectivity saving his own father. He is 'taking on the responsibility of the other.'

    He goes back into the general store and looks for a weapon, settling on a samurai sword, a weapon associated entirely with the honour of the samurai in Japanese culture.
    Last edited by Harvester_Of_Sorrow; 04-04-2014 at 09:15 AM.


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