Archive for the ‘Exam – Collective Identity – FGI’ Category

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NME Case Study, posted with vodpod

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Post Modernism in Media

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Mia was born in London but was raised in Sri Lanka during the decades long Sri Lankan Civil War that pitted the ethnic minority in rebellion against the Sri Lankan government.  The conflict was characterized by forced evacuations, raids, and many argue genocide.

French director, Romaine Gavras sets the video for ‘Born Free’ in a generic-gray cityscape, complete with the high-rise tenement housing that serves as a backdrop for the documentary styled film.  Born Free’s sonic rock, drum beats and distorted vocals open the video with a police raid on one such apartment that finds a terrorized couple, nude in their bed and under attack. The policemen’s identities appear to be quite heartless, even showing signs of sadism when one policeman jeers at the camera. This juxtaposes the common trust we put into the police forces as they seem to be hurting people for fun, and not protecting them.

The video narrows in on its disjointed narrative, which finds the police squadron singling out, kidnapping, beating, and eventually executing red heads.  The most jarring scene features a redhead boy being shot in the head at point-blank range.  Other violent scenes include cringe inducing police beatings and a graphic landmine explosions, one in which a man is blown up and torn apart limb by limb. The soldiers here are identified to be even more heartless than the police. Many of their faces are covered, perhaps out of shame, and they seem to be perhaps doing what they are told and not what they want, a problem M.I.A was trying to portray in this video.

The selection of red heads as the terrorized minority seeks to satirize and critique the absurdity of ethnic and religious divisions that characterize such genocides in the real world.  The Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, the war in Darfur, or the Bosnian Genocide are all variations on the same tragic narrative that has plagued too much of our collective human history: arbitrary violent division justified by differences that when compared to our common humanness are as negligible, as the between red or blonde hair. The red heads are all depicted as quite weak characters, as they are all not holding weapons, the soldiers and police were all armed, showing their authority over the red heads.

M.I.A.’s social justice critique does not single out one group, conflict, hero, or villain in the video; instead she takes wide lens in her radical approach to confronting injustice of persecuted minorities. Born Free seeks to make a bold political statement about injustice—through nudity and graphic violence.,these are both uniquely striking visual representations.  M.I.A. inserts a voice to the domestic conversation of the persecution of people of colour, undesired minorities, poor people, and immigrants. It is a shameful and all too common reality around the globe.

The identity of the law appears unconstitutional and against the very precepts and values of a Nation supposedly founded on the equality of all men; a nation built by immigrants and “displaced” people. While the news can be scary, it is not nearly as frightening as government mandated discrimination. The video shows the truth of all countries becoming one step closer to the police state depicted to in the M.I.A. video.

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Whenever there’s a Bond film, there’s a Bond girl. She is as indispensable as the gadgets, the car, the chase and the villain set on overtaking the earth. They have always been in the centre of controversy, usually branded as beautiful women (often with sexually overt names) who need Bond and whom Bond ironically, cannot complete his mission without. They always seem to have perfection in everything they do. However, this portrayal of women can be somewhat unrealistic.

Actresses, most famously including Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, and Maud Adams as Octopussy, who co-starred with early actors playing James Bond, were christened “Bond Girls” by promotional advertisers; the phrase has since become part of the vocabulary of popular culture. Their 3 roles as Bond’s love interests, partners, or enemies have all been characterized by their submission to his charismatic persona and masterful manner, which in and of itself has become an institution of popular culture: phrases such as “Bond. James Bond” and “Shaken, not stirred” have become familiar to moviegoers and non-moviegoers alike. However, women in Bond movies do not all simply wait to be rescued by the handsome spy; often, they provide worthy adversaries or partners for Bond, skillful in the arts of espionage and subterfuge themselves.

Honey Ryder was the first Bond Girl, her name can be perceived with a euphemistic approach – Honey, being sweet and natural and Ryder being sexual. The idea of sexual ability is commonly used throughout all the Bond films. In the famous ‘Bikini Scene’ the camera is positioned at a slightly lower than head on position, rendering the emergence of the actress out of the sea more dramatic and framing her figure in the center of an almost empty mise-en-scene, while her face is averted in a clearly objective manner. She is being watched without her knowledge: the female is subjected to the male gaze by both Bond and the audience. The scanty costume is, of course, another factor in the viewer’s understanding of her status as sex object, her body clearly revealed. The knife she has represents danger and it’s something that is endearing for Bond, the bikini represents her being sexually available for him and at the time period was seen as, almost sluttish.

This stereotypical idea of women can be seen again in “Goldfinger”. The majority of women in the film are sexy dancers and maids. The First 20 minutes shows every one of the women being white, young and in skimpy clothing. We also see Sean Connery portraying the alpha male role, slapping a woman’s bum. This is a key example of the attitudes surrounding women in this film. Pussy Galore is the main woman in this film. With an extremely sexual name, she also seems to be an independent and successful business woman. However, Bond seduces her, when asked how he got her to withdraw from the plan, he said, “I appealed to her maternal instincts.” This shows us Bond’s ignorance of women, and his ability to seduce them. Galore’s involvement in the plot shows a hint of change towards female importance.

With feminism on the rise in political culture, “For Your Eyes Only” and “The Living Daylights” (1987) show how the attitudes of women follows the social trends. Women are still sexual, but their importance increases. 1981’s film sees Melina, avenging her parent’s death, shooting men, driving fast and rebelling against Bond . This is more representative of feminist ideology. However, Bond still seduces many women, including Melina. The Prime Minister at the end of the film is a woman, showing Margret Thatcher’s reign. Timothy Dalton’s first film shows a more empathetic Bond. There are older, realistic women. Two women proposition Bond in a car and he takes their offer, leading him to a trap. This shows women using their sexual nature to the advantage and overpowering men. The lead woman in “The Living Daylights” is an independent woman. There seems to be more equality between Bond and females as times go on.

Pierce Brosnan became the new Bond and his first movie was “Goldeneye.” It shows women as equals with men. Onatop, a female villain kills men through sex, uses her appeal to beat men, and succeeds in her evil. The female protagonist, Natalia is vital to Bonds plan and success of his mission due to her technological knowledge. Judi Dench was also cast as “M”. The boss of Bond, a cold, unisexual, professional woman. She defines bond as being a “sexist misogynist dinosaur” and sees through his audacity. She points out the flaws in the protagonist that we once saw as flawless. The women are successful, empowered, capable of beating or being equal with men, and are not overtly sexualised. We can conclude that the arrogant male supremacy of 60s Bond was crushed by the social movement of feminism, making women as equal as men.

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