Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

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toVor
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Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by toVor » April 4th, 2017, 5:04 pm

First started on the prior GS board, this was the first of what may be several suppositions about comparisons, symbolism, and contrasts between different scenes, characters, or elements in films, whether intentional by the filmmakers or coincidental.

Let me begin by explaining where and how my thought process began regarding this topic. One day at work I was at my desk eating a muffin, and I was taking small bites so as not to stuff my mouth and be stuck with a mouth full of food when a call came in. This reminded of the hit man Jules in Pulp Fiction, who at the end of the film (which actually took place at the beginning of the story) was eating a muffin in the diner. He took small, careful bites, and chewed slowly, calmly. I just found it interesting to see a killer who lived a life of extreme measures such as stepping into danger, murdering people, and being involved in gunfights, to practice such calm and measured eating habits in his small, slow bites and chews.

This reminded me of Quint in the 1975 classic movie Jaws, when he was aboard his boat the Orca waiting for the shark to arrive. He was sitting in his fishing chair with the fishing pole in front of him, slowly, calmly taking tiny nibbles of a cracker, and chewing very slowly. He appeared very calm, patient, and peaceful. Obviously he had done that before and was well seasoned and experienced.

Later in the film at the Quint’s battle against the shark came to an end, we saw the shark swinging its head back and forth and chomping wildly with huge bites, while Quint struggled to avoid sliding down the deck into its mouth. When he ultimately did, the bite that the shark took resulted in an agonizing death and a bloody end for the vengeful shark hunter.

Now, what I made notice of may be silly, but the comparison between Quint’s small, slow, methodical bites, and the shark’s huge, fast, wild bites was a blaring contrast to me. I realize of course that the cracker scene was meant to display Quint’s experience and calm patience, while doing something he excelled at, though I can’t help but think that it was filmed and included for the visual contrast; as well as the irony of the shark hunter who so calmly and slowly ate the cracker while hunting the shark, then being eaten so quickly and violently by the same shark.

What do you think?



P.S. Quint's descent into obsessive madness, if it could be called that, was very reminiscent of Captain Ahab's obsession to kill the whale in Moby Dick. In fact, Spielberg had wanted to include a pre-hunt scene of Quint watching the film of Moby Dick to further the comparison between the two, but he wasn't able to obtain the rights to use the film. Robert Shaw's dialogue, ironically, was to include him commenting on how fake the whale prop looked in the film.

I shall end this blog with two interesting bits of Jaws trivia for you to take a bite out of:
-The producers of the film have admitted that had they read the novel that the film is based on, had they read it more than once, they would not have made the film knowing how difficult the filming would be.

-Along the same lines, author Peter Benchley went on to say that if he had known about the actual behavior of sharks, he would have never written the novel.
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borgmatrix
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by borgmatrix » April 10th, 2017, 11:35 am

You had to start off with a movie I haven't seen. You couldn't have gone "The Godfather" route? I would have definitely had some things to say there.

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toVor
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by toVor » April 12th, 2017, 12:44 am

What's funny about that, Borg, is that in the old Godfather thread we both expressed disbelief that anybody would not have seen GF by that point.

This was exactly the way I started this same topoc on the old forum. It's actually one of the only few topics I'd had saved in my memory card. I wish I'd saved more. But potential good news: I might have copy/saved that whole long intro from that 2nd Godfather thread. I'll have to check.
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by borgmatrix » April 12th, 2017, 12:07 pm

toVor wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 12:44 am
What's funny about that, Borg, is that in the old Godfather thread we both expressed disbelief that anybody would not have seen GF by that point.
I'll make sure to never express that sentiment again. :laugh:

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toVor
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by toVor » April 12th, 2017, 8:05 pm

Judge not lest ye be judged. ;)
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by borgmatrix » April 24th, 2017, 9:26 am

All right, so this is completely unrelated to your first post (I still haven't seen Jaws), but I wanted to get a few brief thoughts down, Godfather-related, and thought why not use this thread.

The movies were on a few weekends ago, and I was watching here and there. When Mike's with his father at the hospital, telling him. "I'm with, pop. I'm with you," it of course has some double meaning. He's not just there physically with him, but also in the life he leads. It feels a bit early on the story for Michael to truly comprehend just how "with" his father he's going to be, but that sequence of scenes was the beginning of his ascent (or descent).

In part II, when Kay is trying to get Anthony to embrace her, and then finally Michael arrives, closing the door in her face, it was a nice parallel to the end of GFI, and Neri closing the office door. I'm sure this is something we've spoken about before or that someone's brought up. But it hit me more this time, that parallel.

Al Neri. He might not have had a lot of screen time in I and II, but I love this guy and his unwavering support/dedication to Michael. And it bums me out so much that in GFIII (which I did not watch any of this time) he has a line, if I'm remembering right, about it being "impossible" to get to someone Vincent wants to go after. Probably about taking out Zasa, but maybe it was later in the movie. But, if my memory's not failing me, when Neri, Connie, and Vincent meet, its Neri saying its not possible. Gimme a break. I did see the scene toward the end of GFII a couple weekends ago when Tom is going into "are we strong enough and is it worth it" bit about going after Roth, and saying its impossible, which MIchael very pointedly calls him on "It's not impossible. Nothing's impossible...Tom, you know, you surprise me. If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it's that you can kill anyone." Mike asks Rocco for confirmation, but Neri is in the room. And he's helped Mike pull off "the impossible", such as in the previous movie with the deaths of the heads of the Five Families. There's no way he's forgetting all that to start spouting that things are "impossible" in part III. Felt like a very weak way to try to build up Vincent, and at the expense of Neri. I'm sure I've ranted about this before, but of all the things to get upset about in III, that's the one that bothers me so much.

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toVor
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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by toVor » April 24th, 2017, 8:34 pm

Very interesting observation Borg. I must see if I have a copy of that thread somewhere, from when I posted all those quotes together that time to start the new thread. I don't recall you mentioning that there, and while it was a long thread that's probably the first time I've read that from you, to the best of my memory.

My thought about that is that as we've seen, Mike has come a long way since the events of the 2nd movie, and so has Neri. If not an oversight by the filmmakers as you've implied here, then perhaps it was intentional as if to show that Neri has grown to wanting peace and legal earnings as Michael has; that he is not as bold and reckless as he was in his younger years. My memory is hazy on this but either Neri or Lampone was a cop with a temper before being noticed by the Corleone family (I think it was Clemenza who brought the former cop to Vito's attention). It may have been Lampone that I'm thinking about but if it was Neri then perhaps the movie was in fact showing us that the cop with the uncontrolled temper had grown to be able to rein it in by that point. Either way, whichever one it was, I'm suggesting that we were meant to see it as growth and evolution of the person.

Or perhaps it was indeed sloppy screenwriting after all.
Crikey. I forgot what my old signature was about. :roll:

Back again I am, here from the days of old, the tides so bold...September, 1998 oh my how the years have rolled.

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Re: Symbolism and Comparisons in Films

Post by borgmatrix » April 25th, 2017, 7:04 pm

toVor wrote:
April 24th, 2017, 8:34 pm
My thought about that is that as we've seen, Mike has come a long way since the events of the 2nd movie, and so has Neri. If not an oversight by the filmmakers as you've implied here, then perhaps it was intentional as if to show that Neri has grown to wanting peace and legal earnings as Michael has; that he is not as bold and reckless as he was in his younger years.
I looked back, and it was Zasa that was the point of discussion for them. Given that Vincent ended up just shooting him out in the street, I can't think of a single reason why it would have been "impossible" or why any recklessness would have been involved in taking him out. Vincent dressed like a cop shot Zasa in broad daylight. Like Neri, dressed like a cop, shot Barzini in broad daylight.

I don't think it fits with Neri's character. And if he was supposed to be so different, I don't think he'd be conspiring with Connie and Vincent behind Mike's back.

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