Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crash-The Longing of Acceptance

After watching Crash, I realized just how much racial discrimination does happen in our world today.  It was flabbergasted within the first 10 minutes about how much racial discrimination was shown and how much of it was completely accurate.

The Crash DVD cover.
Used with permission from
I feel that the overall the message was one of racial discrimination and how everyone is the same, regardless of their race.  Not only is race a large part of discrimination in our world today, but so it religion.  When the officer pulled over the African-American couple and almost arrested them for performing sexual acts, it was not until religion came into the picture that it was a big deal.  Another big thing I thought was very important was in the opening scene when there was a couple in a car and an Asian woman and the vernacular that was being spoken was so stereotypical that I couldn't fathom it.  The racial slurs that were being tossed around like it was nothing is almost pinpoint to how today's world works, it is scary.

I do not think that this movie has accurate depictions of minorities, but rather accurate depictions of stereotypes.  For example, the Asian woman could not drive, the African-Americans stole a car, the Caucasian police officer felt up an African-American woman, and the list goes on.  The depictions of the stereotypes that we, as humans, have towards each other was so well thought out and so well connected that the flow of this movie was great.  I think that Paul Haggis did a great job in finding a way to depict all of the discrimination, but in a way that was not seen as negative towards anyone group of people.  The depictions of the stereotypes (racial, religious, socioeconomic, and so on) are so well illustrated in this movie that it is hard to believe that this is happening in the 21st century.

I do not think that Paul Haggis' background played a role in directing this movie, but rather it gave him more motivation to prove things wrong.  I feel that because of Haggis' background, he might possibly know first hand all of the stereotypes that Caucasians have towards other minorities; so to see a movie portraying many of these stereotypes is unreal.  I feel as though many people cannot see how this movie is accurate, but I come from a big city where there were always a wide variety of cultures.  Coming from this town, I have seen discrimination, I have seen racial profiling, I have seen a lot and this movie remind me of a lot of the things I have seen.  The director's background, I feel, does not have any effect on what was shown because of the truthfulness behind each image that was presented throughout this film.

I feel as though any group of people, besides Caucasians, who view this movie will be offended.  This is because no matter how the racism is spun, no matter how the hatred toward others is sugar coated, there will be a point where it is too much.  I felt as I was watching this movie, that it was hard to sit and bear everything that I was seeing.  To see everything that was happening in this movie, it was almost too much for me to handle.  This movie invoked such a strong feeling in me, that if I were a minority watching this movie, I would feel 10 times more strong towards what was being depicted.  For example, when the Causcasian police officer went in to save the African-American woman he had felt up previously and there was tension, it was in a way set straight because he was able to redeem himself of what he had previously done to harm her.  This was a strong scene because the racism was set aside, the tension was put on the back burner, everything that was in the past stayed there.  This was the first step in "overcoming" the racial profiling.

Having such strong images throughout the movie, added so much to my visual literacy.  When I saw scenes of ethnical problems, I wanted to fix everything that was wrong in these scenes.  After learning about all the visuals of people that we see in an everyday life, the police officers, the business men, and those that are not as high up as those previously stated and seeing them depicted in a negative way was something that needed to be done.  Not every person is unbiased when we look into our everyday life.  The visuals that were shown in this movie were ones that depicted our society in a very accurate way, but did not have much to do with things I learned in our class, other than how the strength of an image can play with many different emotions in a person's mind.

After everything that I have seen in this movie, there were so many things that Paul Haggis did to keep our interest in this movie.  I think one of the most powerful things he did was that he made this movie so realistic, that it was almost to hard to watch.  All of the things that were said and done in this film made me want to keep watching so that I did not miss any minor details.  I think that the realism in this entire movie was one that I found so unbelieveable because it hits so many cords with lots of groups of people.  The subjectivity of this movie, the amount of truth behind everything said, the depicted scenes were almost unfathomable because of the position Paul Haggis took on this topic.

"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something." -Opening lines of Crash

Home-How the World is Connected

After watching Home, I learned so much more about Earth that I did not know was going to effect us so much so soon.  Yann Arthus-Bertrand did an phenomenal job at depicting the earth's problems of today and how we, as humans, have completely altred the way Earth was 200,000 years ago.

Example of farming in Saudi Arabia. Used with permission
After watching this incredible documentary I learned that there are so many things that have been caused by humans, that could have been prevented.  I feel as though Arthus-Bertrand's message was one that illustrates the problems with today's society and what can be done prevent things from running out for our future generations.  For example, it was stated in the film that by 2025 the world will be in a water shortage because the current societies have used up so much of the earth's natural resources.  It was also stated that the Dead Sea decreases by more than a meter each year; all of the resources that we have today are being used at such an exponential rate that we are going to burn them up so quick, that the later generations will not be stable enough to sustain life.  The above photo is an example of farming that was talked about in the film, called circle farming.  The plots are irragated from water underground that collected during the rain; unfortunately, a lot of these plots have used up the majority of the water, causing the production in goods to decrease.

In this documentary, Yann Arthus-Bertrand did not discuss minorities as much because it is everyone's problem.  No one group of people have caused the decline of what was given to us.  For example, he did discuss how the effects of what we, as Americans, have contributed...but he also discussed what the women in other countries have to do to get water and resources for their families.  One thing I remember from the film was the statement that as countries develop, they eat more meat; Arthus-Bertrand showed an image of cows that never saw a single meadow, which was astonishing to me.

I do not think that Arthus-Bertrand's ethnicity, cultural, or professional background had any influnence on how this movie was filmed.  He did an excellent job at being unbias and showing us how we are changing the earth.  The areial photos do more justice than going into the places he photographed; I feel this way because you can see the damaging effects of everything the humans have done.  This documentary was more about showing what has changed in the last 200,000 years rather than providing a standpoint about what needs to happen.  The images were unbias because they were subjective instead of objective.

I think that it could be misinterpreted by many different people.  For example, in the movie it was stated that for almost every person in Los Angeles, there is one car to that person.  This can be taken in many different ways; for example, the people who own these cars may take it offensively, whereas the people without those cars may blame the others for what is being done to the earth.  Another thing that could be misinterpreted is what exactly was being presented.  When I first began watching the film, I thought that it was going to focus on one topic, but the film took a different turn.  It focused on many topics and illustrated how the world was connected.  This misinterpretation can be made by anyone, disregarding their color, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, etc.

The images of the world that were shown throughout the entirety of this film were so strong that those alone added to my visual literacy.  The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" is beyond represented in this film.  To see what has happened to the earth, what damage has been done, what we could have prevented, it's astonishing!  I can say that after watching this film, my view of the world has changed.  It has been formed into something that I can think about as perserving, so I am not responsible for destroying a life.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand did such a good job at visual and audibly keeping the audienced focused.  The images that were shown on screen were so powerful and so defined, that it made it impossible to want to end the film.  The words that were spoken as the film went on became more meaningful and more powerful because it became my problem, it finally hit home.  The way that Arthus-Bertrand was able to take the audiences emotions and pour it into the film was outstanding.  He was able to play on our psyche, which helped him in the viewing of this film.

Here is a link to the Home documentary, and I suggeset that you all watch it.  (You will not be disappointed).