Introduction to Art and Communication

Casablanca is considered one of the most amazing movies by a large
number of movie lovers. Indeed, it is an undisputable classic that has
earned itself an everlasting place in the minds and hearts of many
people all over the world. Its script features the increasing menace
pertaining to Nazi Germany, as well as the staunch isolationism that the
United States has taken up. Casablanca would be considered a classic
thanks to its endlessly charming nature that emanates from its stellar
performance, as well as its delivery of a timeless story of love and
loss.
The story is set in French Morocco in December 1941, in which war
refugees are seeking a way out of the Third Reich to the American safe
haven. The protagonist in the movie, Tick Blaine, operates a café and
boasts of not taking any sides stating that “I stick my neck out for
nobody”. However, his apparent ignorance and nonchalance changes after
a Nazi resistance leader Victor Laszlo and Rick’s old flame Ilsa Lund.
Not only does rick start recognizing the war that is happening within
and around his café but also he is prompted to make an immense
sacrifice for the good of all.
A large number of classical movies come with varied plotlines, an
aspect on which Casablanca does not disappoint. First, the movie tells
the story of the romance that existed between Elsa and Rick, a love
story that draws complications after the entry of the third male
character who has noble qualities that make him an appropriate rival to
the protagonist. Flashbacks are used in bringing out the romance between
Elsa and Rick, showing scenes from happier times. In addition, there is
the story that essentially makes the movies central theme, where
individuals from varied cultural backgrounds come to Casablanca, an
African city. The fact that the movie was shot at a time of war comes
with significant political and ideological connotations.
Nevertheless, the movie, in spite of being set in a Moroccan city does
not come with any character from the film. Indeed, it only uses a
Moroccan fabric seller as a representative, an individual that is
depicted as stupid and greedy. In addition, a large number of movie
lovers may consider the fact that the story does not have a happy ending
a bit disengaging.
Nevertheless, the movie would still appeal to the audience in the
contemporary society especially considering the development of its
central theme, which is fighting for one’s freedom in the city.
Indeed, the movie is based on a crucial historical element, which is the
resistance of Morocco against its French colonizer. While this may be a
historical element that was actually happening at that time in history,
it signifies the varied bondages with which individuals in the
contemporary human society are struggling. These may include wars,
famine, ignorance and poverty amongst other things such as
discrimination on any basis. The statements that “human life is cheap
in Casablanca”, “no one is supposed to sleep well in Casablanca”
and the desperation that is expressed in the statement “I will never
get out of here, I’ll die in Casablanca” would be quite common in
such situations in which cases, in which case the movie comes with an
extremely relevant theme to its audience in the contemporary society.
Indeed, the lessons of sacrifice, courage in the face of adversity, and
triumph of love would resonate with the lives of a large number of
people.
Storytelling has undergone tremendous changes with the entry of
technological advancements. This is especially with regard to the
structure of stories. It is noteworthy that stories may be divided into
two distinctive types according to their structures including linear
structures and nonlinear structures. Linear stories start from a certain
point and follow a logical progression pertaining to time-bound events
that take characters to subsequent points. This structure has mainly
been used in children stories, as well as verbal storytelling as this
structure comes as significantly easier to follow. Nonlinear structures,
on the other hand present scenes that are presented without the logical
sequence. They may involve multiple storyline progressions and
flashbacks that allow for jumping back and forth. This has become
primarily possible in the advent of television and video games, movies
as is the case for memento, as the audience would find it easier to
track non-linear stories in instances where there are visual cues.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento takes up Nolan’s
typical structure where his movies start with the end scene. Indeed,
Nolan movies come with a recurring theme of vengeance a loved one’s
death and justified dishonesty around which Memento revolves. A former
insurance investigator, Leonard Shelby, who is also the protagonist, is
seeking to avenge his wife’s murder. Unfortunately, he suffers from
memory lapse, with his memory not running for more than 15 minutes. In
essence, he has to keep writing his progress and the people he has met
including his mission in seeking revenge against John G, the man that
raped and killed his wife. Memento is different from Malcolm X, which is
an autobiographical movie for the African American civil rights
activist, Malcolm X. Malcolm X follows a linear structure in outlining
the milestones of the activist up to his eventual death. However, it
also takes a nonlinear structure through the dramatization of Malcolm
X’s childhood incidents such as his mother’s mental illness, the
death of his father, as well as incidents pertaining to racial
discrimination.
The flashbacks in Malcolm X’s life are aimed at showing the viewer
the incidents in the life of the protagonist (Malcolm X), which have
shaped his ideas and way of life. For example, it is his experiences
such as death of his dad that lead him to leave his home and start
living with Shorty, who later introduces him to criminal life that leads
to his incarceration. The experiences of his childhood involving racial
discrimination have shaped his attitudes towards white guards and draw
him to the black God that is espoused by Elijah Muhammad.
However, the memory lapses and the nonlinear structure in the movie
“Memento” allow Nolan to take the viewers’ perceptions pertaining
to the characters for a ride. At the beginning of the movie, the
motivations of the characters seem extremely clear. However, the same
cannot be said of the end of the movie. Teddy is seen as the second
attacker, Natalie is the helper, while Leonard is the hero. However, at
the end of the story, the viewers cannot be sure as to whether Teddy was
the second attacker or he was, in fact, a victim or friend. While
Natalie is depicted as using Leonard, the viewer is bound to ask whether
she also pitied him and tried to give him assistance at some point. On
the same note, Leonard’s action pertaining to the setting up of Teddy
is clear, but the same cannot be said of his motivations. The viewer is
at a loss as to whether Leonard has abandoned the quest for vengeance
for his wife’s death and is instead seeking revenge for Jimmy.
“The Lord of the Rings” has been touted as having one of the most
amazing set designs. This was achieved through the use of costumes, as
well as the use of weapons, miniatures, creatures, armor and
prosthetics. Of particular note are the costumes, which the set
designers went to great lengths to ensure that they looked “used”
and “lived in”. These costumes had their color wearing away, stuffed
pockets, as well as dirty costumes for characters such as Aragorn and
Gandalf thanks to the fact that the costumes would have been used in
crossing terrains. Indeed, these costumes had have over-dyed colors and
acid etching, just as the armor. Hobbits in the movie were given shorts
thanks to their bare feet, while the elves were given long sleeves to
give them a gliding impression.
However, the weapons and the costumes are designed to underline the
central theme of the movie which is power and greed. This is especially
with regard to the One Ring, as well as its corrupting nature on the
bearers. Frodo offers Gandalf the ring, which the later rejects, just as
other people such as Aragorn, Galadriel, Elrond and Faramir do. This,
however, only makes the ring central to the plot of the movie as the
characters are either denying it, nurturing it, fighting the temptation
to take the ring, or even preventing other individuals from giving in to
the temptation. All characters are pursuing the ring, Frodo suffering
attacks from Gollum, as well as the sons of Faramir, Boromir, and
Denethor. Indeed, no one is spared the temptation of acquiring the ring
including Galadriel, Gandalf and he pure-hearted Sam. In fact, while
Frodo is chosen as the ring’s bearer thanks to his immense resistance
to the lure of the ring, he is fighting constantly his desire pertaining
to it. Indeed, there are instances where he is tempted to give the ring
over to his significantly more powerful friends, while he wants to keep
the ring to himself in some instances. He finally gives up the ring
following its destruction at Mount Doom after Gollum fights him for the
ring. Even then, Frodo had elected to keep the ring in spite of the
immense trouble it had caused him. It is ironical that the ring is
eventually destroyed by its own power, despite the fact that it
possessed and connected so many.
This fascination with power and the desire by a large number of people
to create the crudest weapons that would cause the most harm to all
people that would stand on the path of their pursuit for power and
influence underlines the reality of greed and temptation that plagues
the society today. Indeed, a large number of people are prepared to go
to any length to attain symbols of power and feed their insatiable greed
for influence in the society.
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