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Social Implications

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In The essay, “Social Implications in the Hollywood Genres”, Jean-Loup Bourget discusses what is implied about social groups in movies. In the last paragraph of the essay, Bourget asks “Must American society be like this? Must the Hollywood system function like this?” (57). Bourget actually answers these questions within his essay and I agree with his interpretation of the complexity of films, especially in regards to context meaning and the meanings implied by techniques.

Bourget describes several forms of techniques, such as the iconological approach. Bourget states that iconological approach assumes that a film is a sequence of images whose real meaning may well be unconscious on the part of its makers (51). Directors put meanings and facts into films that we are not suppose to initially see. For example the meaning might be to show the values of society. The camera might be focusing on how beautiful a character is, but the issue has nothing to do with beauty. Directors also might emphasize a scene or a particular person and pay less attention to the important character or scene. The audience however does not understand the director’s approach to the scene and will wind up viewing another factor that is less important.

Another factor to consider while watching a movie is the message that the director is trying to present rather than what the audience perceives. This can be done in many ways depending on the genre. For instance, in a film that portrays a utopia the main point is not the issue of how perfect the utopia is but rather the issue the director is trying to get across. Bourget states that the utopia calls the viewer’s attention to the fact that his or her own society is far removed from such an ideal condition. The film is not trying to get the audience member upset about how their world is not perfect, but perhaps how nothing is ideal in a perfect world. One can see the same approach in the genre of westerns. The director might show the Cowboys and Indians having a conflict over an issue. However, the audience will see that they Cowboys are the better of the characters. The only reason why this happens is because of how the director films the movie. The point he might be trying to get across is the fact that the Indian is in actuality the hero and he Cowboy is the villain.

Another genre in which the message can be perceived differently is that of the action/adventure. The audience member might see aliens, pirates, or action filled explosive scenes, but there is actually a deeper intended meaning. If the audience members look beyond the action scenes they can see matters dealing with political issues. An example of this can be seen in Independence Day. The audience might see how aliens invade and destroy America, but if the audience looks at a deeper meaning they will be able to see how the government would deal with a situation like this. They will also be able to see how Americans would react under this type of circumstance.

In the last paragraph of the essay, Bourget asks “Must American society be like this? Must the Hollywood system function like this?” (57). Bourget answers these questions by stating how directors have the freedom to imply whatever they wish about the American society. Directors can describe how a certain social structure operates. When directors tell about a society they must end the film with something positive and that happiness will one day be restored. Hollywood and directors do this so that audience members are not depressed and can come back to view more movies.

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