I love movies. I have loved movies all my life. I grew up on them. When I was eight years old, I managed to convince myself I would make movies when I grew up. Now I am in the process of getting a degree in Film Studies. I write about film more than ever before, partly because I have to for my classes, mostly because I enjoy it, because I have something to write about. Sometimes it helps me understand the film better; sometimes it helps me understand myself better.
I created this blog as a place to showcase my work, and also as an incentive to keep writing reviews, analyses, and essays over breaks, when there’s no one here to grade me.
I have tried many times, and failed, to explain in a coherent manner why it is that I love films. Here is my best—and most coherent—guess.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

City Lights (1931) Analysis

The Tramp, wearing tails, drives around in a Rolls Royce.  He spots a man smoking a cigar and patiently follows in the car until he drops the butt. The character jumps out of the Rolls, fights off an old, ragged bum who had himself bent over to pick up the cigar butt, grabs it, sticks it into his mouth, leaps back into his Rolls and drives away smoking; the assaulted bum looks on in stunned silence. This little comic bit, one of the countless memorable scenes in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) is more than just a funny sight gag; it is a glimpse into a way of life and into the underlying metaphor of many of the filmmaker’s works. The sequence underscores much of what the great artist’s career was built on: the contrast of wealth and poverty, surface riches and actual need, appearance and essence. What the Tramp needed was never financial success—he was destined, from the time of Chaplin’s Essanay shorts, to fail at attaining material rewards. What the character wanted was of a more spiritual nature: love and acceptance into “proper” society. Most of the time, he was doomed to fail at attaining that as well.

Read my analysis of Chaplin's The Circus here.