Saturday, March 14, 2015

The movie M

The part of the the movie that stood out to me was the scene in which the defense lawyer for the criminal is  addressing the mob. The defense for the criminal was that he was unable to help himself. According to the lawyer the criminal has an illness and should be put in the hands of doctors instead of being killed. He even addresses the mob and tells them they are without fault themselves. He even calls out the head mobster for his involvement in 3 killings.

This scene beings back the topic of free will that we have encountered in other movies.  The lawyer brought up the question of if the criminal had free will. If he did not then should he be punished for something he can not control. If he does then why can he not be good? Why does his mind tell him to do those types of things? Does a person with a mental illness have free will?

The scene also questions in which hands should the authority lie in. According to Nihilism there should be no authority figure and the power should be in the people's hand. This is demonstrated in this scene through the mob court case. Yet the mob is unwilling to hear the defense lawyer and are overcome by their own emotions. This is to represent the disorder society would face if the power was distribute according to the Nihilistic ideology. However, the movie does not show the police which traditionally are the authority to be an better. They violated the peoples' rights in order to complete their duties.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

     The scene that stood out to me was the one where all the mental patients are in a room together. We see a woman playing an invisible piano. Francis warns another patient  not to get close to a man he calls Cesare.  He claims Cesare will kill him if he does. Afterwards he goes to Jane and asks for her hand in marriage but she refuses him. Her reasoning was that  "We who are of royal blood may not follow the wishes of our hearts"
     The meaning of this scene is a criticism of the wealthy. The patients represent the wealthy class. We could infer this due to their very formal attire and the fact that the room in which they are all enclosed in looks like a ballroom. Another clue to their social status is that Jane refers to themselves as those with "royal blood". From Francis living in a world his mind created to the women playing an invisible piano all the mental patients are unable to distinguish between reality and fiction. This lack of understanding of the reality they were facing was also seen in the high society of Germany. While the average person was suffering due to a economic recession  caused by the Treaty of Versailles they were throwing lavish parties and flashy their wealth.
     The film creator's criticism echos the Nihilistic ideologies Nihilists such as Nietzche thought that the wealthy class in Germany had to be overthrown due to their abuse of others.  He once said, "What are man's truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors," meaning that in order to understand what is real and what is fact one must be able to see the error of their way and correct it. This is something that the wealthy did not do. The continue their life style at everyone's expense.
     This scene stood out to me due to the fact that this was the scene in which the perspective of the movie turned. Before this everything was seen through Francis and his thinking made sense. Not once during his storytelling did I question its logic. Yet when I watch this scene I began to see flaws in his story.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The power of Art

     Art has always been a commentary  on society. Dadaism, and Expressionism are not exception. The artists of these art forms felt that the reason why Germany was in just a recession was due to the imperialist and capitalistic government system that rely on oppression to run.  As the professor put it, "their art, or anti-art, then was to help accomplish this, their aim was to help the bases of German society by destroying the culture, that is by ridiculing it so much that people lose respect and their sense of obedience to authorities, and to expose people to shocking and even grotesque images in order to force an awareness of the ugly side of life," the artist felt that the only way to fight the system was through their art.  This ideology is still prevalent in the artists community today. 
   Today artist like Banksy and Chris Ofili are well known for their depiction of the injustice around the word. In their work we could see the influence of Dadaism and Expressionism. For example, in Chris Ofili's  "Holy Virgin Mary" we see a  women who is not the normal attractive version of the Virgin Mary that we are used to seeing. These piece  offended many people even the major of New York City. 
Chris Ofili "Holy Virgin Mary" 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Quote from Dada by Hugo Ball and its affects

"Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself."- Hugo Ball 
I interpret this as Hugo criticizing the power we have given to words. Words are not used to describe things anymore. Some words have gained power and status as if they were humans. Hugo felt that words labeling and defining things was limiting. He did not want language to limit his creativity. With a word Dada that could mean anything and nothing at all at all at the same time he found a way to reject language.
I have conflicting feelings about Hugo's view on language. While I do agree some words have gained too much power. For example the words "nigger" and "faggot" have gained the ability to cause people harm. Simplifying the language would limit these types of words. However, limiting language could also be a way to control people. In the novel, "1984" by George Orwell limiting words was a method the government used to control people. How can one say they feel unhappy if they do not have a word for it and no one remember it? The variation in language allows us to express our individuality.  The words I use to express myself are different than those of another person. 
Reading this reminded me of an article I read on the New York Times about the Chinese government, The Chinese government is trying to eliminate all the Chinese dialogues that is not Mandarin by making all channels, official papers to be in Mandarin. The people were complaining because they felt as they were losing their culture. If language is made the way Hugo wanted it to be any of us would have to give up the part of our culture that comes from our language just like the people in China.