Final Paper

The films Zero Dark Thirty and Night and Day are similar movies; yet differ in some aspects as well. Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is an action movie about the chase to find Osama bin Laden. It is about the tenacious search Maya has to go through to find him. Night and Day at its core is about a powerful battery (zephyr) that Roy wants to keep away from his enemy’s possession. Roy is being chased the entire film because his enemies want to find the zephyr, and kill him. While keeping the zephyr away from his enemies, Roy finds himself having to protect a girl named June who gets stuck in the situation. Zero Dark Thirty is a movie about a girl in search of a terrorist, and Night and Day is a about a man protecting a battery and a girl. While both films are action movies of a chase, Zero Dark Thirty is directed by an auteur and is a “feminist” movie that promotes the authority of government. Night and Day is an action movie absent of film art, promotes conventional gender roles, and is more conspiratorial towards the government.

            Genre, film ideology, attitudes towards the government, and auteur film all play a role in Zero Dark Thirty. The entire film is about the chase for Osama bin Laden. Maya spends endless hours doing research, and listening to interrogations of terrorists who were close to bin Laden all to find out clues about where Bin Laden might be hiding. Maya interrogates people herself, and makes a pivotal decision about invading a house where she thinks bin Laden is hiding. The chase is a vital pat of the movie that causes the film to be action filled. Zero Dark Thirty also has a film ideology. It promotes feminism, and shows how a woman can perform a “mans job”. Marouf Hasian Jr., a communications professor at the university of Utah wrote in the Sage Journals, “The films producers, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, have marketed this visual artifact as a liberating cinematic representation that shows how a dedicated woman led the manhunt for Osama bin Laden”(Hasian). Zero Dark Thirty shows how a woman can perform a manhunt. The oxford dictionary defines manhunt as, “an organized search for a person, especially a criminal”. The word that means searching for a person has the word “man” in it. Insinuating that a manhunt is considered to be a man’s job. In Zero Dark Thirty, Maya goes on a manhunt for Osama bin Laden. She searches endlessly through documents, pictures, and recordings of interrogations with terrorists to find him. She interrogates people herself, and almost dies from a bullet while leaving the Pakistan embassy in her car. Jessica Chastain’s character portrays a woman with a goal, who does everything in her power to fulfill that goal of finding Osama bin Laden. Her journey was dangerous, and she did not give up. Her character showed how a woman could go on a successful “manhunt”. One a political note, the rights of the government to torture, and spy on people are taken lightly in this film. The film does not even bring up the idea that this technique may not moral. There is an overall assumption that the government has all the power it wants, and can torture people to obtain information, and all is well if it is done in the name of the government. As well as being a feminist, Bigelow is an auteur because she sends a message in her film about feminism. Hanna Rosin writes in the New Republic, “But why her? She is not just a woman, but a woman who once appeared in Born in Flames, a movie about feminists and lesbians trying to take over the United States”(Rosin). Hanna thinks that it is significant that Bigelow directed this feminist movie, because she herself is a feminist. She has been in a feminist movie called born in flames, and although the other films directed by Bigelow have been with very strong men, it only exaggerates the message of feminism in Zero Dark Thirty

            Although absent of auteur film, Knight and Day also has a specific genre, ideology, and attitude towards government. The entire movie is Roy protecting the zephyr and June while running for his life. He is being chased the whole movie, which makes the film an exciting action movie. Although this film was made recently, it still had conventional gender roles as a film ideology. From the very beginning of the film, June is portrayed as a helpless woman, as Roy fights all the battles and takes care of her. June spends most of her time screaming, or hiding behind Roy. In the beginning of the film she screams in the pilots pit while Roy lands the plane. Then as the film progresses she creates problems for Roy by answering her phone on a secluded island, and Roy has to save them from getting captured by his enemies. June also hides behind Roy, and follows his lead in the fighting scenes. Gary Thomson says it well in the Inquirer that June’s “job, mostly, is to be awestruck by Roy’s bravado and athleticism, to describe Roy as brave and athletic when he’s off camera, and to scream when bad guys try to kill her”(Thomson). Knight and Day is a conventional style movie where the girl needs to be saved by the boy while the boy fights off the bad guys. In contrast to Zero Dark Thirty, Knight and Day is conspiratorial against the government. In this film the government are the “bad guys” and Roy is the good guy. Roy has to run away form the government to protect Simon, the creator of the zephyr, June, and to protect himself from the government. Again in contrast to Zero Dark Thirty, James Mangold is not an auteur director. He is a Hollywood producer, who creates movies for the public to watch and enjoy. Although he has created respectable work, including Walk the Line, he does not direct films to portray a message, but rather to make a movie that people will watch and enjoy.

            Night and Day and Zero Dark Thirty are both action movies that have conflicting film ideologies, and government perspective. They are both movies about the chase of a person. In Knight and Day the bad people are chasing Roy the entire time, and in Zero Dark Thirty Maya is chasing bin Laden. Although they share a genre, they differ in the gender roles they portray. The ideology of Zero Dark Thirty is that a woman can perform the task of a man, and is meant to be inspiring to woman. Knight and Day is meant to elicit a romantic response by its audience, while June is constantly being saved and protected by Roy while he fights off all the bad guys. The two films also differ in their approach to government. The hunt for Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty is all done in the name of the government, and any torture that accompanies this hunt is justified. Knight and Day is against the government, and shows how they are not always correct in who they hire, or their action. In regards to Auteur film, Bigelow is an auteur because of he portraying feminism in her films, while Mangold is a producer to please and cause enjoyment from his audience.

            Zero Dark Thirty and Knight and Day share a genre, but contrast in their ideologies, attitude towards government, and one is directed as an auteur film, and the other is a film for pure entertainment. While the genre in Zero Dark Thirty is action, it holds an ideology of feminism, a positive attitude towards government, and is an auteur film. Knight and Day compares to Zero Dark Thirty in that it is an action filled movie, but it differs in its ideology in that shows conventional gender roles, conspiratorial towards the government, and is not auteur film.


Hasian, Marouf Jr. “The Critical Challenges Posed by Populist Post feminism During the Global War on Terrorism.” Sage Journals. 2013. 37:322.

Rosin, Hanna. “The Auteur of Unease What Kathryn Bigleow understands about the war on terror that no other director does.” New Republic. N.P., 6 Feb. 2013. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.

Thomson, Gary. “In ‘Knight and Day,’ Tom Cruise takes us back to a younger Tom.” The Inquirer. The Inquirer, 23 June 2010. Web. 23 Dec 2013.


Out of class writing

The first time I watched inception, I remember loving the movie. This time when I watched inception I noticed a lot of cinematography. I noticed in the dreams how the camera would spin around and make you feel like your in another world. I also would notice when the camera would zoom in on things to show significance. I noticed that last time I saw the movie, but this time I thought more about it. At the end when the camera zoomed in on the thing spinning, I realized how much of a difference the zooming in made on the scene.

Chicago 10

A theme in Chicago 10 is violence. The Hippies were not violent, and did not want to cause violence. The protest they made, caused violence to come about on them. In the trial they kept saying that they must be non- violent, but in cases like this, violence is bound to be broken out.


Chicago 10 is a propaganda film. It is a film meant to portray the Hippies perspective. They wanted no violence, no war, and no capitalism. Brett Morgen gets the message across through real footage of the riots, as well as animations of the trials in Chicago. Overall it is a very convincing movie that shows only one side of the argument.


 The use of animation in Chicago 10 was inappropriate and not artistic. I think that films are better when presented in a linear way. Sticking to one way of presenting things is best. Using animation just confuses the mindset of the watcher from serious and humorous. It undermines the seriousness of the message of the movie. Some people might think that this is artistic, but really it is just confusing. Chicago 10 is a propaganda film, and the propaganda is taken less seriously because of the animation.

The Shining

A theme in The Shining is insanity. In the beginning of the movie it seems that Jack and Danny are normal, but really they are not. Danny has an imaginary friend names Tony, which is normal for a kid his age. Later in the film Danny says that he is not Danny anymore, and it seems that Tony took over his body. That is not normal. Also, Danny is constantly imagining the two dead girls at the hotel coming back to life wanting to play with him, which is also insane. Jack seems like a normal human, until he yells at his wife for checking up on him, and then you find out that he is not a normal human because he has been coming back to that hotel to kill people at years that weren’t possible for him to be there.


Mise en scene is used throughout The Shining, but most importantly in the first scene. The camera shows the hotel from a distance, not only showing how big it is, but also how it stands alone in vast empty mountains. This portrays the loneliness and isolation of the hotel. The camera then zooms up on the house from an awkward angle, showing its oddity and mysteriousness.


The Shining is a good example of a horror drama. There are many elements of surprise, specifically when Danny sees the two girls that were killed. At the end of the film when Jack is chasing Danny in the maze, the music is very scary. The lighting lets the watcher see the shadows of the people, which is scary. Also, the camera follows Danny from behind, which is scary because you know that Jack is chasing him. Some might say, that the film was not a good horror film because it was too long and drawn out, but in reality it was the suspense and buildup of the movie that added to its being a good horror film


A theme in Giant is money. The film starts out with Bick wanting to invest in a horse that he think will be successful. Later after his sister, Luz, dies, he tries to buy back her ranch from her worker Jett. Jett is also very focused on money. When he found oil he was so excited because he thought he would be even richer than the Benedict family.

James Dean exemplifies “star persona” in Giant. Just as Jett had an inappropriate relationship with Luz II, so too in real life, James Dean had an inappropriate relationship. After Jett’s mother died, his father sent him to live on a farm with relatives. James ended up having an inappropriate relationship with the pastor their. It is also star persona that James Dean lived on a farm for a while.

In Giant, there is a clash of acting styles. Both “personification”, and “impersonation” of actors is used. The mix of both types shows the stray in the 1950’s from the classic Hollywood style of acting. Some people might say that this is just a confusing way to direct a film, but in reality by Incorporating some impersonation of James Dean was the beginning of a new path slowly changing the classic Hollywood acting styles.

The Karen Carpenter Film- Avant- Garde

A theme in The Karen Carpenter Story is the impossible. Karen wants to be perfect. To become perfect, is impossible. She wants to be a perfect musician, and then she becomes obsessive over her body and perfecting the way she looks. For Karen, being super skinny is perfect, but the extent to how skinny she wants to be can’t be attained in this world. Because what she wanted was impossible to attain, she ends up dying in the end.

Although all three films this week portrayed Avant-Garde film I think that The Karen Carpenter Story focused on it most. Karen has an image of her self that is unrealistic, and the directors Joseph Sargent and Richard Carpenter symbolize that in the film by making the characters Barbie dolls. The way a Barbie doll looks, is the fantasy of the way Karen would like to look. Having Barbie dolls play the roles show this fantasy. The Barbie dolls acting like humans is also unrealistic and fantastical.

In The Karen Carpenter Story, Karen’s becoming a celebrity at a young age is the reason why she died at a young age as well. Karen’s life ever since she was very little was music and singing. She didn’t know of anything else. So for her, this was the full meaning of her life. This caused her to become obsessive over being as perfect, and fantastical, at that one thing as she possibly could. For her, that meant her weight. Today many young celebrities start off very well, but then they start to drift off onto drug use or similar pathways like Karen’s. Some might say that it is only a coincidence. And yes, it cannot be proved that beginning a celebrity life at a young age causes mishaps, but there is definitely a correlation.

Zero Dark Thirty

A theme in Zero Dark Thirty is finding answers. Maya’s job is to interrogate people and find information out for the CIA. She is good at what she does, and is very confident. Her confidence, in fact, is what convinces people to listen to her. The film is about finding Osama Bin Laden, and Maya is very sure that she knows where he is hiding. The film is about finding the answer to where Osama Bin Laden is.

Zero Dark Thirty reflect auteur film very well. Kathryn Bigelow chooses to include gruesome torture scenes, which add a lot to the film. It makes it honest, and real. It makes the movie feel like you are actually watching what actually happened. Her choice to include these scenes was characteristic of her, and she did a good job enacting it.

Zero Dark Thirty definitely portrays that Kathryn Bigelow’s feminism. She makes the protagonist a woman. No just any woman, but a successful smart woman. At the end of the film, Maya finds Bin Laden’s body. Bigelow showed a Woman do a job that is not considered a “woman’s” job. Bigelow shows that a woman can do this kind of job and be successful.