Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Do The Right Thing, Again

I was disappointed to find that when I start teaching something my love for it tends to wane.

Of Mice and Men didn't seem as heartwarming once I had to read 30 papers about it's heartwarmingness.

Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice wasn't as caustic once I had to hear daily class debates about how caustic he was.

It's not a complaint about students, just about my failure to elicit complex responses.

So I was worried when I decided to teach film study through Do the Right Thing. I didn't really want to ruin my love of that movie.

Another 30 papers will come in tomorrow with analyses regarding how cinematic devices reflect the philosophies of Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. And I'm loving Do The Right Thing more with each passing class period.

The angles used on Radio Raheem and Da Mayor subtle support the struggle for power by force rather than through mindless oration.

The color coded costuming of the violent Pino in White and the peaceful Vito in Black enhances non-violent philosophies while turning older stereotypes of "wearing the black hat" on it's ear.

The diagetic laughter while the camera zooms in on Italian Wall of Fame pictures enflames the dormant white philosophy of superiority on the black masses.

The five close-ups of hate followed by Senor Love Daddy's close-up tirade for love uses a change in motion to accentuate the merits of action and peaceful action at that for positive social change.

The vague conclusion of Radio Raheem's LOVE V. HATE soliloquy foreshadows the eventual conclusion of the film, but the lighting on each knuckle continues the long running device of Hate in darkness and love in light.

These are all impressively logical interpretations of this film. And they are all developed by 17 year old kids who had never thought about these philosophies or cinematic devices until three weeks ago.

I've never thought of half of these things, and I'm geeking out over the movie even more.

I love my job.

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