IDEOLOGY Unit Ten Emily Clancey & Joseph Chang
Facts about Ideology • Ideology is a body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of and individual, group, class, or culture • Ex) politics, social issues, morality, ethics • They are slanted, given the ideas of the director • We can classify films into three groups of varying ideologies
Facts about Ideology • Neutral- Light entertainment films where issues/ideologies are superficial and not the main point of the movie • Implicit- The protagonist and antagonist represent two conflicting sets of values. However,what he characters stand for is inferred and the moral is not really spelled out • Explicit- These films aim to persuade us one was or the other. They are highly slanted. Examples are political films, many documentaries, or political films.
History of Ideology • Originated from the time of the French Revolution • The word was first coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796 • Ideology was then continued on by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels • The concept of ideology was further expanded on by Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) with his finding of the term hegemony, which states that the power of ideology stems from consent
History of Ideology in Film • Gransci’s idea of hegemony can be seen in the use of film; films with ideologies require the consent or agreement of its viewers in order to make a connection between ideas and the viewer • Film director legend Alfred Hitchcock introduced his own ideologies in his films, a notable example being his theme of “voyeurism,” or looking into other people’s lives without them knowing. This can be seen in how he portrays his audiences for his films as “peeping toms,” reflected in his famous movie “Psycho,” during the scene of Norman Bates peeping on Marion Crane. • One of the most infamous examples of ideology in film can be seen during the rise of the Soviet Union to spread the idea of communism • Ideologies were used in propaganda films and individualism was considered the “villain” of the films, while the community and working class was portrayed as the “hero” (explicit films)
History of Ideologies in Film cont. • In the early 1920 to the mid 1950s, ideology was apparent in western films as the concept of good vs. evil; the protagonist represented goodness by his cleanliness and good manners while the antagonist was the manifestation of evil, seen by his ugly features and cruel actions. • Now in present-day films ideologies can be reflected by the characters’ own beliefs and mindsets
Ideologies in Films • Left wing vs. Right wing: • Right Wing: A set of ideological values, typically conservative in emphasis, stressing such traits as family values, patriarchy, heredity and caste, absolute moral and ethical standards, religion, veneration for tradition and the past, a tendency to be pessimistic about the future and human nature, the need for competition, and identification with leaders and elite classes, nationalism, open market economic principals, and marital monogamy
Ideologies in Films: Politics • Left Wing: A set of ideological values, typically liberal in emphasis, stressing such traits as equality, the importance of environment in determining human behavior, relativism in moral matters, emphasis on the secular rather than religion, an optimistic view of the future and human nature, a belief in technology as the main propellant of progress, cooperation rather than competition, an identification with the poor and the oppressed, internationalism, and sexual and reproductive freedom.
Ideologies in Films: Politics • In many films the ideologies of left wing vs. right wing can be apparent through many different forms, some more transparent than others • Soviet Union films were often disguised propaganda, filled with political nuances and ideas. An example would the animated short “The Millionaire,” released in 1963 by V. Bordzilovsky. Within the short, the message of the evil of high social class is disguised in a humorous cartoon about a dog who inherits its owner’s money
More examples of ideology in film • Environment vs. Heredity- The idea that one’s behavior is directly influenced by external forces, such as our physical and mental situations versus character being largely genetic and inherited. This ideology can be seen being explored by the film “The Iron Giant.” • Iron Giant: You Are Who You Choose To Be • Mulan's Choice • Relative vs. Absolute- Films displaying these ideologies show families or individuals with strong feelings on making judgments, such as an individual having loose and adjustable morals and beliefs as shown in the film “The Dark Knight” by the villain Two-Face ; on the other side there are individuals who must follow strict moral codes for the rest of their lives, as shown in the Disney film “Mulan.” • Mulan: You'll Bring Honor to Us All • The Dark Knight: Harvey Dent
More examples of ideology in film • Outsiders vs. Insiders- Leftists identify with the poor and often romanticize rebels and outsiders, while rightists often side with the Establishment, or people in leadership. An example in film of these ideologies would the “The Hunger Games.” • Rebellion of District 11 • Feminism- Ever since the 1960s, the idea of feminism and female empowerment has been seen in many films, with strong female protagonists capable of handling anything that their male counterparts can. Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow in “The Avengers” is one such character. Another example of female empowerment is the “Hurt Locker,” not because there is a strong female character, but because the director, Kathryn Bigelow, showed the film industry that a female director is as skilled at creating stellar action films as males. • Merida's Archery • Black Widow Kicks Butt
More examples of ideology in film • Homosexuality- Inspired by other revolutionary groups such as feminism, the homosexuality movement accelerated forward in the world of film. As a result of the movement, many actors and directors have decided to make movies addressing the topic to the rest of the world. One notable movie of this topic is “Brokeback Mountain.” • Brokeback Mountain: Lovers • Cooperation vs. Competition- Leftists believe that social progress is best achieved by working as a community, while people on the right support the belief that true progress comes from open market principles and that competition brings out the best in everyone. An example of a movie that shows cooperation as ideal is “Finding Nemo,” in the fishnet rescue scene; similarly, the film “Pirates of Silicon Valley” shows competition as the driving force of success. • Finding Nemo Net • Silicon Valley
Works Cited • "Film_and_ideology." Film_and_ideology. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. • Hess, John. "JUMP CUTA REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA." Film and Ideology by John Hess. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. • "Ideology." Ideology. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.