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Discussion Board Forum Forrest Gump - Movie Review Example

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1. The film has many levels of "reading". In the surface it is a comedy, a lovestory, a clever reconstruction of American culture from the 60s to the 90s. At this epidermal level, the countercultures - embodied in Jenny - represent everything that was "bad and evil", the origin of present day "decadence": sex, drugs, rock and roll, and political activism…
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Discussion Board Forum Forrest Gump
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1. The film has many levels of "reading". In the surface it is a comedy, a lovestory, a clever reconstruction of American culture from the 60s to the90s. At this epidermal level, the countercultures - embodied in Jenny - represent everything that was "bad and evil", the origin of present day "decadence": sex, drugs, rock and roll, and political activism. She was abused by her father and thereon jumps into every kind of abusive relationship, to end up victim to AIDS. Her political involvement is presented as a steam valve for her neuroses and frustrations, as a form of birdbrany fadism for loosers. Protesting the war is played at the same level than disco dancing. By contrast, the All American hero (Gump) kyte-flyes above the drama, blissfuly ignorant of what is really going on, to raise from a crippled moronic child and become a sports star, a Superman during the war, chummy to three Presidents, and a billionaire, of course. So, if you are a conservative, you come out of the theater thinking "They got what they deserved, both of them" and wholeheartedly adhere to the movie's morals and sociological analysis.
However, if the metacodes are read with more sensitive antennae, a different picture can be perceived. Existentialist ideas are in the background throughout the movie. Chance and destiny are counter played in the lifes of Jenny and Gump; there is no higher purpose, no good and evil, no God. There is only life. In this context, the countercultures are just one aspect of life. It is just by chance that Jenny is immersed in them and Gump is not, their roles in the movie are starkly black and white, to drive home the message. They could easily have exchanged their roles, their trajectories, their "destinies". Real life is a mixture of both, and any human being can during his/her lifetime partake in hell and heaven. The elements of the counterculture have always been there and will always be, as long as there is a human alive. The same glories and miseries are the theme of the most ancient forms of drama and will be replayed over and over; just their costumes and scenery change along with our history.
2) Indeed, this is a very interesting and original interpretation of the feather as a link between the novel and the film. However, I wonder if a reference to intertextuality was the intention of the filmmakers, given the existence of several explicit and nonsymbolic references to the novel, as the other participant correctly points in his/her posting. Other interpretations have been proposed: "the unbearable lightness of being; Forrest Gump's impaired intellect ; the randomness of experience" (Lyall, 1994); how we deal with the chance elements to our life (Anonimous, 2001); "destiny and dumb blind luck" (Anonimous, 2000).
I can think of other alternatives, among which one deserves some consideration. Websters Dictionary defines "white feather" as a symbol of cowardice, and I was reminded of words by Sartre: "Les uns qui se cacheront, par esprit de srieux ou par des excuses dterministes, leur libert totale, je les appellerai lches ("Those who hide from themselves the complete freedom of their existence, with deterministic excuses, I shall call cowards). Maybe Gumps idiocy and chance are just "deterministic excuses" to escape the nausea provoked by a universe deprived of purpose. Faced with nothingness, with the misteries of the physical world controled by its own mysterious laws, with so many questions about ourselves that we cannot answer, we cowardly invent a totalitarian system, a religion, and transfer our responsibilities to its minions. Gump is all of us who deserve the white feather.
Reference List
Sarah Lyall of The New York Times July31, 1994.
Anonimous, Forrest Gump-(Through the eyes of Forrest Gump). [DVD]. Paramount Pictures. August28, 2001.
Anonimous, Forrest Gump from BookRags Film summaries 2000-2006
Sartre, J.P. L'existentialisme est un humanisme, Nagel, Paris, 1946. Read More
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