Final project: The 5th Wave

There were a lot of movies that could have been chosen, but I decided to choose one that is a bit different from the regular movies or documentaries that focus on one big issue. The 5th wave talks about a teenager girl, Cassie, who is trying her best to get to her little brother, Saam in the middle of an end of the world situation. I chose this film because among all of those great movies, in a way, I can relate to this movie, since the main character is a typical teenager like the rest of us.

The 5th wave is another film that talks about the end of the world but in a different way. With no messages or warnings, a mysterious object appears in the atmosphere and starts moving around the planet. No one knew what was on it or who they were so they called them “the others”. They start hitting the earth with waves. An electromagnetic pulse that killed all the power on the planet, an earthquake, a deadly flu where Cassie’s mom (a nurse) died helping other people. Short time later, the dad also dies. As the kids were supposed to go somewhere safe, they all went on a bus. Cassie went down to get something, however the bus started moving and she couldn’t catch it. We, afterwards, see how Cassie tries her absolute best to get to her brother. Knowing that the other’s next strike was to kill all the rest of the humans.

What attracted me in this movie is Cassie’s strength and perseverance. Despite everything that is happening, her number one priority is to get to where her brother is, alone, with no help nor knowledge on how to survive. She breaks many stereotypes about being a man is the stronger gender and is able to handle more dangerous things. She teaches herself how to shoot and how to survive. She never gave up and whenever she feels unmotivated she remembers her brother and why is she doing all that, which gives her power. Throughout her journey, she had very high hopes that she will be reunited with her brother.

We can also see how independent she is. After getting shot in the leg, she didn’t want the help of the guy that helped her recover, Evan and wanted to continue the walk on her own. However when he refused to let her go alone, she asked him to show her some tips and tricks to fight and defend herself. The way she wants to depend on herself and keep herself safe with no help really shows us how strong and courageous she is. And how women or girls don’t need a male character to take care of them or look over them as an easy and weak person. The way she changed, from a typical teenager to someone who is willing to fight whoever to keep on with her goal, is amazing. Throughout the whole movie she was focusing on only accomplishing her goal and she never doubted herself. 

Finally, I see that this movie has a lot of aspects that represents every teenage girl, even if we don’t see it from the outside, under the similar circumstances we will show a lot of courage and strength. It shows that we don’t need anyone else to complete our goals and by ourselves we can do so much more than we could ever imagine.

Final Project: Mustang (2015)

“Mustang” (2015) is a Turkish movie that follows the life of 5 orphaned sisters growing up in a very traditional family and society. This movie is directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, a female director and it is told through the perspective of Lale, one of the 5 orphaned sisters. This film shows the many cultural restrictions put on women in a conservative society. However, the 5 sisters do not agree with any of these restrictions. Therefore, these five sisters go against social expectations and prove to be strong and brave individuals.

Indeed, many expectations are put on these women as they are expected to become good wives. These women are being forced into conservative housewife roles by their grandmother and uncle. Indeed, these sisters are continuously thought by their grandmother how to cook, take care of their husbands, stay quiet, and not to take too much space in a room. These women are expected to go along with what the conservative society expects from them, such as to wear clothes that cover their entire bodies, to not have relationships with boys until they are set up in an arranged marriage, etc. However, the five sisters do not agree with these social expectations of women. As a result, these sisters go against them forming their own identities.

After a neighbor spots the five sisters playing with boys innocently on the beach, they get punished by their caretakers. Indeed, their grandmother punishes them by hitting them and their uncle punishes them by screaming, insulting, pulling one of the sister’s hair, and forbidding them from leaving the house even for school. This shows that the conservative society unjustly expects certain things from girls and that girls do not have the same privileges as boys. However, these girls form a strong bond with each other as they support one another. These five sisters do not follow the restrictions that are set on them. For instance, they sneak out of their house to attend a soccer match even if they were forbidden to attend this sport. This demonstrates that these girls are strong when they work together. After the girls were forbidden to stay at home, their caretakers started to set them in arranged-marriages even if the girls were unwilling. In the case of Sonay, she got to marry her boyfriend. Indeed, before the marriage, she snuck out of the house several times to go see her boyfriend at night when she was not allowed to go out. After she got set up with a boy that was not her boyfriend, she stood up to her grandmother saying that she will resist and scream if she did not get set up with her boyfriend. This demonstrates Sonay’s strength and her bravery as she stood up for herself and her love.

Unfortunately, it was not everybody that got the marriage they wanted. Indeed, Tugba who did not have a boyfriend was obliged to marry a boy that she did not want to marry. She had just met him when she was introduced to him. In addition, after her marriage, she was expected to have sexual intercourse with her new husband. However, she did not bleed after the sexual activity, which was a big problem for the two families as they automatically thought that Tugba was a “slut” because they thought that she had already lost her virginity. Tugba was unfazed by this, which shows her strength and bravery as a woman. Once the families brought her to the doctor, she explicitly said that she was not a virgin, however, after the doctor’s check-up, he revealed the news that Tugba’s hymen had not yet broken. This shows the double-standard for men and women in conservative societies as women are automatically perceived as “sluts” if they lose their virginity, however, men are not perceived this way. Indeed, Ece, one of the five sisters, did not care about this expectation of women having to be pure at marriage. When she saw a male that she found attractive and him finding her attractive, they had sexual intercourse in her uncle’s car. This shows that Ece is a strong woman that does what she wants to do going against the social expectations of women in her society.

Lale also breaks rules. In fact, she sneaks out of the house several times to learn how to drive. This demonstrates that women can do the same things as men and that no gender is above the other. Indeed, she successfully learns how to drive, which allows her at the end of the movie to drive away with Nur to the city as Nur does want to be married to somebody that she does not love. Indeed, this shows strength and bravery from both Lale and Nur as they go against their society’s expectations of them. This leads them to freedom and gives them the chance to start making all their own decisions in life, which demonstrates women’s strength and bravery. 

In conclusion, these five sisters go against social expectations proving to be strong and brave individuals. Still to this day, women continue to be perceived unequally compared to men in some societies, which is why we have to continue to denounce these injustices and fight for equal rights for men and women all around the world.

Blog #7: Exploring Masculinity

I chose the film “Joker”, that came out last year to write my final blog on. I have been told before watching it, that this movie was provocative. “Provocative” was a strange word, I remember thinking about how it could be provocative, as I couldn’t imagine in what way, or what aspect in this movie could cause strong reactions from the viewers. Especially after seeing the movie “The Plateform”, I thought I had seen what’s shocking and disturbing. While “The Plateform” didn’t disturbe me as much as I thought it would be (maybe it was too gory?), “Joker” really did a good job in making me feel uncomfortable while watching it. The two movies both has themes of murder, mental illness, existentialism and human rights, but “Joker” deals with the much current social problem of the male identity, and link it to issues such as the difference between the rich and poor, expectation of other people and the worth of one’s dream in this society.

In the society of today, prople often think that men gets more than women. More power, more status and more fame. It is true to a certain extent, but “Joker” shows us that there is also a difference between men and that not all of them are successful. The main character, Arthur Fleck, is one of those people that most of us would probably not see or pay attention to even if we are aware of his presence. He is different from the rest of the society; it is shown in the movie that he seems to have multiple mental disorders along with “emotional incontience”, an existing condition that makes him burst out of uncontrollable laughter even if he doesn’t want to. Arthur’s condition seems like a good joke from god, among all the problem he already has in life. He is from the lower class, and struggles to makes the ends meet while taking care of his sick mother, while relying on seven different medications to make his pain go away. Arthur does recieve help from the government: there is a social worker whom he can consult and talk to. But as the government cuts away founds in sectors they consider as “less essential”, Arthur soon doesn’t even have access to this service anymore. He is then left all alone, with no financial help or any other aid from the government, while Thomas Wayne, the politician running for the mayor position, promessed to help citizens in poverty and to make their life better. This is a good example to demonstrate that the rich only gets richer and the poor only gets poorer since the upper class simply doesn’t care about them. This movie also illustrate that men in the upper class often hold all the power and prestige, and men like Arthur in the lower class can only live in poverty, ignored and forgotten. For example, the three man Arthur killed were depicted as terrible people, and yet their death were described as tragic loss (since they are from the upper class and work in a prestigious company) and Arthur was represented as being a merciless murderer by the authority. It shows that not all men have hold of power and that men are still separated by social classes and are labelled according to their class.

In this movie, it is shown that men with mental illness are treated badly. Just like Arthur wrote in his joke book: “the worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. Indeed, the main character was treated differetly and unfairly because of his mental issues. People don’t understand that his laughter was not controlled and make fun of him. It is shown that men that don’t fit in the typical image of masculinity are seen as failures and are mistreated: Arthur faces inequality every day such as being looked down upon, not trusted in the work environment and even beaten by strangers, because he is not strong, he is different, not rich and that he does not have a successful job. People expect him to be masculine, manly and all the traditional values because he is a man. It’s as if the main character’s life is worth less than other people because he is different, and he knows it. In his joke book, he also wrote: “I hope my death makes more cents than my life”. It is shown that Arthur knows that his life has little worth or values. The main character’s long life dream was to become a stand-up comedian and works hard towards his goal. But his ambition is discarded and made fun of, by others because people think that being a comedian is a “low level” job. The society make it clear that his dream is worth as much as his life, which is almost nothing. This movie shows that people still have high expectation towards men and expect them to occupy “successful” professions such as in politics or in economics. But it is not possible for every man to fit in the narrow box of traditional masculinity and Arthur is a perfect example of a man that is on the other side of the spectrum of what a man is, facing daily rejection by the society he lives in.

“Joker” also illustrates the danger that a man can become if he is pushed too far. After living all his life in poverty and as the bottom of the social structure, he recieves a gun, a destructive power that is now in his possession. Arthur then shoots the three men that are the perfect representation of why his life is so miserable. The main character finally felt like existing and being noticed for the first time in his whole life, after the incident appeared on the news and attracted all the attention of the city. Arthur would not have to feel invisible and would certainly not kill the three men under the influence of anger, if he has received more help sooner and if he was not oppressed by everyone for so long. The main character also stabs one of his coworker to death, as revenge for being responsible for his whole situation, and even shot the tv host when he was live on the Murray Franklin show. He started his plan of revenge killing, letting his anger (or detachment) take over the best of himself, because he finally felt free from any restrictions that prevents him from avenging himself and his unfair life. I think Arthur did all those killings at the end because he simply gave up on himself and didn’t care about the consequences, after being hurt so much by other people. He became a monster after he was pushed too far by the cruelty of the society. It teaches us a valuable lesson that men should all be treated equally and fairly regardless of their social status, because injustice creates anger and it is often the motive for the powerless to chose to do harm, when they are suddenly in the position of power. This movie not only represents the oppression of men, but also the repression of all the people of lower class. At the end of the movie, Arthur was seen as a symbol of resistance by the citizens because he killed men of the upper class. People of Gotham had enough of the rich having all the power over them and controling their life. Their repressed anger finally escalates and they end up starting a revolution and killing Thomas Wayne. This is an important lesson that everyone should be treated with empathy and respect, because anyone can start a riot or become monsters if they are percecuted for too long.

Finally, I wouldn’t say that I liked “Joker”, but it is certainly a movie worth watching because it brings up many issues the current society still has, such as the difference between the rich and the poor, mental health problem, the importance of empathy and one’s identity. It is certainly a movie that makes us reflect on how we treat people with mental disorders and under what circumstances a villain is created.