Posted at 11.13.2018
Utopia is an excellent world point out where everything which happens is ideal and there are no negative emotions like sadness, anger or jealousy to can be found in it. The entire world is perfect and has every situation fixed in the most pleasurable manner possible. Consciously, or unconsciously, the human being mind strives towards efficiency to create an ideal world- a utopia for itself. But, in real life, this is not possible and this leads to a multitude of emotions like sadness, disappointment, anger, etc. which is the contrary of just what a person in utopia should feel just like. To bring back this sense of utopia even briefly, humans started out projecting the carefully produced ideal world through entertainment such as theater, videos, musicals etc.
In this essay, I'll compare the videos Singing in the Rain by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and Meet Me personally in St. Louis by Vincette Minnelli as types of classic North american musicals against Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet by Baz Luhrmann as types of contemporary North american musicals on the basis of whether they satisfy the thought of musicals being truly a form of get away from into utopianism. First, I'll use Rick Altman's "The American Film Musical", which has laid out quite a few criteria for a standard American musical to analyse these motion pictures and ensure they meet those criteria. Also, I will concentrate on Utopianism by using Richard Dyer, in "Only Entertainment".
"Two of the taken-for-granted descriptions of entertainment, as 'escape' and as 'wish-fulfilment', indicate its central thrust, namely utopianism. " (Dyer, Section 3, Pg. 18)
By using entertainment, humans are able to get away to the world of utopia but this realm is not made by using "models of utopian worlds", alternatively it is helped bring forth with thoughts and feelings. Dyer cases that,
"It thus works at the amount of sensibility, by which I mean an affective code that is quality of, and typically specific to, confirmed mode of cultural production. This code uses both representational and non-representational indications. " (Dyer, Chapter 3, Pg. 18)
Using Dyer's words, I will also try to analyse the representational and non-representational signs of the films discussed earlier.
Meet me in St. Louis is an American musical which was released in 1944 with a reasonably simple story which focusses with an upper middle income family with the four daughters and a child. It is located in St. Louis, Missouri in the year leading up to the 1904 World's Rational and undergoes the challenges this family faces and exactly how they conquer them together. The North american film musical may have a dual concentration narrative. As Altman says, in "The American Film Musical",
"Rather than focussing all its interest on a single central character, following trajectory of her improvement, the North american film musical has a dual concentrate, built around parallel stars of opposite making love and radically divergent worth. This dual-focus framework requires the audience to be hypersensitive not so much to chronology and development- for the results of the male/feminine match is completely conventional and so quite predictable- but to simultaneity and assessment. " (Altman, Chapter II, Pg. 19)
Altman also says,
"Whereas the original approach to narrative assumes that structure develops out of plot, the dual-focus framework of the North american film musical derives from figure" (Altman, Section II, Pg. 21)
In Meet Me personally in St. Louis, there's a dual concentration narrative. The storyline revolves around the complete family, focussing typically on Esther and her marriage and the news headlines of the family's sudden move to New York. By subjecting these narratives to "simultaneity and comparison", we can see they are interdependent as the narrative of the family moving away threatens the newly found relationships of Esther and her other family customers- Esther and John, Rose and Warren, the parents using their kids. Also, this is placing Esther's love for her family and her boyfriend against one another. As for composition deriving from character, the film is set up in a manner that the character Esther and her conquest for her love occupies the first part of the film and this is followed up by the rapid announcement of her family's proceed to New York by her daddy. That is done to guarantee the entertainment factor continues to be present by creating gentle tension, as the primary goal is achieved and the visitors shouldn't weary.
Singing in the Rain also adheres to the rule of dual narrative as there will vary narratives or pathways for both the male and female protagonists. The film portrays the struggle of American film studios and their transition from the silent movies to the talkies. The male protagonist, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), is a silent film professional with humble roots, who tries to make it through and hold on to his devote the film industry through the transition. The female protagonist, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), is an aspiring stage actress who is utilized by Lina Lamont to be her words backstage but she finally is given credit and her job flourishes. You will find other area narratives which tie up into the main narratives, the most visible one being the narrative of Lina Lamont, which functions the same goal as the narrative of the family moving away to NY in Meet Me in St. Louis- to provide problems which when fixed, strengthens the existing narratives, or give a neat final result to the narratives. These two main narratives are intertwined simultaneously and features the contradictions between your already famous designer and the newly flourishing artist (Don Lockwood and Kathy Selden), fame and infamy (Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont), hate turned to love (in the case of Kathy Selden), etc. These contradictions are resolved by the main characters slipping in 'love' which resolves or offers these characters the strength to resolve their issues. The structure is unquestionably derived from figure, especially from Don Lockwood, whose narrative overshadows Kathy Selden's narrative. All of the musical numbers concentrate on Lockwood and his emotions, or makes him the explanation for the initiation of the tune- as regarding Cosmo Brown's "Make 'Em Giggle" or the ultimate musical amount dubbed by Kathy Selden for Lina Lamont.
Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet are both musicals directed by Baz Luhrmann and released in 2001 and 1996 respectively. they are both modern-day musicals plus they follow the dual narrative path, focussing on the male and female protagonists and their narratives highlight the differences in their character such as independence and confinement, love and money as regarding Moulin Rouge! and love and hate, life and loss of life as in the case of Romeo + Juliet. For the structure of the two musicals- Moulin Rouge! focusses on Christian's character as the musical starts and ends with him and he is the narrator of the situations which unfold. Satine's narrative is interwoven with Christian's and her narrative is really the cause for the beginning of Christian's narrative, therefore building a never-ending loop. In the case of Romeo + Juliet, this can be a loose version on the play by Shakespeare, using dialogues from the play itself. The narrative is influenced by Romeo's identity but it is well balanced out by Juliet's narrative as well. Each one of these four films can be grouped as American film musicals albeit there are distinctions in the way utopia is portrayed by these videos.
The films Performing in the Rain and Meet Me personally in St. Louis bring in regards to a utopia in conditions of arranging (representational) and emotions (non-representational) using various factors- one of these being the musical volumes. In Singing in the torrential rain, the earth it has created is realistic as the film is situated round the world of film and situated in the age of change from silent motion pictures to talkies. The utopian element is helped bring forth by the quantities which provide another realm where the personas can be themselves and communicate their feelings with no problems. Dyer says, "utopia is implicit in the world of the narrative and as well as in the world of statistics" (Dyer, 1992). When a figure breaks into songs, as in the world where Don Lockwood confesses his want to Kathy Selden ("You were meant for me"). Dyer says,
"Were moved by music, yet it has the least obvious reference to 'actuality'- the level of our respond to it can only just be accounted for incidentally music, abstract, formal though it is, still embodies feeling. " (Dyer, 1992).
The confession world is carefully built by Lockwood and narrated by him, which does indeed make it seem to be realistic, unlike the other musical statistics, and this provides to the "intensity" of emotions the song provides audience. "Intensity", relating to Dyer, is
"the capability of entertainment to present either complicated or unpleasant thoughts (e. g. engagement in personal or political events; jealousy, loss of love, defeat) in a way that makes them seem uncomplicated, immediate and vivid, not 'certified' or 'ambiguous' as day-to-day life makes them, and without imitations of self-deception and pretence. " (Dyer, 1992)
The orchestral non-diegetic music also contributes to the intensity as both characters boogie, with Lockwood pushing Selden to boogie with him and lastly through the music, party and lyrics, their shared feelings for the other person gets conveyed to one another. As the camera pans out by the end of the number, the utopian backdrop and the airy lights are accentuated, adding the ultimate touches to the realistic utopia created by this amount.
Another scene billed with such emotions is Don Lockwood's "Singing in the torrential rain", the name song. The sensible setting is done through the diegetic rainwater accompanying the whole music. The orchestral parts sometimes drown out the rain's pitter-patter but it continues to be ever within the background. The energetic music and the boogie of Lockwood transcends through to the audience and they are able to feel his emotions through this quantity. This utopian quantity concludes with the interruption of the authorities official where Lockwood is cut back to the truth of his world.
Meet Me in St. Louis also treats its musical amounts in a similar manner as escapes to utopia. But the setting differs, it is a lot less sensible than Singing in the Rain. It showcases a community where singing is common practice where everybody loves to sing or break right into a musical amount, which already helps it be feel much more utopian than the other musical film. Altman says,
"The collection of scenes is determined not out of story necessity, but in response to a far more fundamental need: the spectator must sense the eventual fans as one or two even though they aren't alongside one another, even before they have found. " (Altman, 1987)
This is true for Meet Me personally in St. Louis, as the musical number "The Boy Next Door" immediately places both protagonists together. As the film advances, this utopian world created in the film is strengthened with emotions of love in the air, fun and mischief, and so on. Not much continues on with the main narrative of the film till Esther's daddy comes with the news headlines which breaks their created utopia. Dyer says,
"In these motion pictures, the launch of any real narrative concerns is usually substantially postponed and comes chiefly as a non permanent risk to utopia- thus reversing the other two patterns, where in fact the narrative predominates and the numbers function as non permanent escapes from it. " (Dyer, 1992)
The musical figures are light-hearted and chipper till the father announces his ideas for the family. Following the announcement, we've amounts such as "You and I" by the parents as a kind of reconciliation- a location where flaws are forgiven is established by the musical amount (thereby regressing back to the original pattern of musical amounts providing get away), "Have Yourself a Merry Little Holiday" by Esther as a consolation to Tootie- a location where wish is provided for future years, ensuring that everything will be alright.
In both of these films, the element of utopia is strong, a proven way or the other. It offers the so-called get away from from reality, either through musical statistics as regarding Singing in the Rain, or through narrative and figures as in the case of Meet Me personally in St. Louis. But, like Dyer says, the thought of utopia through musicals and their amounts is applicable to these early on American film musicals. The modern-day film musicals are a little more complicated for the reason that respect as the escape to utopia is not obviously defined.
Moulin Rouge! is the film aimed by Baz Luhrman, which is loosely predicated on the Greek misconception of Orpheus. Its style and environment is highly fantastical, reinforcing the utopianism of the world. Pam Cook says,
"The heightened artificial world was projected as an illusion where every fine detail was influenced by the necessity to look complete and plausible, but which viewers would perceive and enjoy as fiction" (Cook, 2010)
Just like how Religious saw the renewable fairy consuming absinthe, which later transmuted into a nightmarish hallucination that sucked Religious into the world of Moulin Rouge, although setting and style is fantastical, the narrative of the film is not really a utopian story. The primary narrative focusses on Christian, a writer of the post 19th century suffering from depression. Unlike other musicals which gives the audience a happy beginning and a happy ever after, the film starts with an ominous and melancholic firmness, which confirms the female protagonist's death early on in the film. This tragic revelation in the beginning hinders the utopian world the style and setting is trying to create.