FS 1 Mid Term Exam Bagdad Cafe Percy Adlon (1987) ? According to Adlon this film “exemplifies how one person in the right place can affect a community of lives”. Discuss how the film represents this comment. The movie is about chance and the need to create a person’s own destiny when everything around her seems to be crumbling down…
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She happened upon a truck stop Baghdad Cafe which is already dilapidated, yet struggling. Meanwhile, the owners of the cafe Brenda played by C.C.H. Pounder was also having an argument with his husband, and the husband left Brenda, too. Brenda is a tough wife-mother and short tempered. She was skeptic when Jasmin rented a room at an adjacent motel and remained suspicious of the foreigner’s motives. But later on, Jasmin and Brenda became friend and Jasmin was even allowed to work at the cafe. Percy Adlon claimed that the movie “exemplifies how one person in the right place can affect a community of lives,” may be a fictional exaggeration but achievable in reality through concerted efforts of major and minor characters. But the movie was able to build up in its simplicity through the gradual introduction of various characters. There were Brenda’s children including her son played by Darron Flag who played the piano, the glamorous tattoo artist Debby played by Christine Kauffman, a former Hollywood set painter Rudi Coxx played by Jack Palance. The last two are just two of the regulars of the almost deserted cafe. So much like in real life, it took effort and initiative to foster change at any environment. And Jasmin’s German fastidiousness soon crept up she started cleaning her motel room and the cafe. She also developed fascination with savvy-talking Rudi who proposed to paint a series of portraits of Jasmin, with every painting bolder than the last. To keep herself engaged and busy, Jasmin also started learning the magic kit found in her suitcase and showing her skills to the thinning cafe customers. However, it was this small magic show that soon spread by word of mouth among the trucking community. The cafe soon peaked and packed. Through the presence and efforts of one person- Jasmin – Baghdad Cafe became a place to go. It became an interesting place because Jasmin started to care for the place and the people in it. The desert setting, a “middle of nowhere” feeling that is also a metaphor of what Jasmin and Brenda are going through: like a mid-life crisis that is so vast, bland, and nowhere to escape. The boomerang represents a reciprocal experience of what one gives and being returned, such as what Jasmin gave to the others, and then, returned back to her. The magic tricks, too, meant to represent the efforts that individuals provide for others may actually serve as trigger for surprising things to come. Such can be said to Rudi Coxx who has retired as a painter, and yet, he strangely began to have interest on the work again. In the beginning, a common denominator about the characters in Baghdad Cafe is their being stuck on a rut. Life has become so mundane and boring they seem to have succumbed to an end, a plateau. This can be said of Jasmin, Brenda, Rudi, and the rest of the characters of Baghdad Cafe. Yet, when Jasmin started to make the most of what she have, with cleaning materials at hand, perspectives have changed. From Brenda’s suspicion arose the glaring message that Jasmin might be sending. However, Jasmin did things out of sincerity and a need to address her own rut. Through her efforts, Rudi also started to have interest about painting, again. Brenda and her children became more inspired to improve the cafe. The presence of Jasmin, one person in the right place, has helped change the perspective of
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