Movie Journal Course Date Chariots of Fire Chariots of Fire, co-produced by David Puttnam (Engima Productions) and Dodi Fayed was released in the UK by 20th Century-Fox in 1981. Directed by Hugh Hudson, the film can be described as an inspirational, historical drama…
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Viewers are introduced to Harold Abrahams played by Ben Cross, who is a Cambridge University student in 1919. Abrahams is Jewish and encounters prejudice on campus even from members of staff. Undeterred, Abrahams pursues his interest and achieves important hallmarks. He becomes involved in the Gilbert and Sullivan Club and falls for a soprano singer. In the meantime, Abrahams wins a number of national races. In the meantime, the other key character, Eric Liddel played by Ian Charelson is a devout Christian born in China. Liddel’s parents were Scottish missionaries. Liddel’s most important goal is to follow in his parents’ footsteps, but he wants to pursue a career in running first. His priorities are questioned by his loved ones and Liddel explains it away by asserting that his running is divinely inspired. In other words, Abrahams and Liddel both confront internal and external social/religious conflicts and nevertheless pursue their interests. Both prepare for the 1924 Paris Olympics where, despite their different religious affiliations, both represent Britain. The underlying message, is that while we are all different and have very different belief systems, we are all united in our national identities and as human beings. On a personal note, the film informs that commitment, drive and hard work are the hallmarks of success. Drive and determination can help individuals overcome obstacles and the pursuit of goals need not compromise one’s integrity and identity. Raging Bull Raging Bull is an American film coproduced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and directed by Martin Scorsese. The film was released in 1980. Although instinctively, the film comes across as a biographical sports drama, it goes beyond the sports competitiveness. The protagonist, Jake LaMotta, a professional boxer played by Robert De Niro comes across as driven and fiercely competitive. However, there is much more to his competitive drive than sports ambitions. Jake’s boxing ambitions comes across as more of an expression of underlying emotions. Jake’s feelings of jealousy, insecurity and ideas of masculinity are articulated in his boxing to such an extent that he is indeed a raging bull. For example, when Jake’s wife Vickie, played by Cathy Moriarty admires the looks of one of Jake’s boxing rivals, Jake is consumed with jealousy and insecurity which he gives expression to in a bout with the man. Jake targets the man’s face in the ring and in doing so leaves the man’s face seemingly disfigured. At the end of the match, Jake directs a searing glare at this wife rather than his rival. The director’s narrative is clear: Jake’s jealousy and insecurity were manifested by rage in the boxing ring. The boxing matches in Raging Bull are particularly brutal with fights bloody and sweaty and delivered in black and white. Sound effects produce a particularly chilling thud when contact is made in the boxing ring. The delivery of punches with flying blood and sweat is often played in slow motion. The underlying feeling is that Jake is not participating in a sport as much as he is punishing his opponent, expressing his own insecurities about his sexuality and masculinity and insecurities and suspicions of his wife. Out of the ring, dialogue and suspicious glares therefore create tension and provide a build-up for the explosive boxing matches. At some point, Jake even accuses his broth Joey, played by Joe Pesci, of having an affair with his wife. Raging Bull demonstrates the self-destructive nature of
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