Mind control is an interesting concept. This terminology most often conjures up notions of intrigue, sci-fi, destructive cults, MK Ultra, and maybe thoughts of Jason Bourne. In describing Patty Hearst at her trial, her defense team highlighted Hearst’s terror and the abuses of her captivity,
suggesting that she may have been drugged into a “disordered and frightened” state. The idea that many believe about her circumstance is that she was brainwashed, “also known as coercive persuasion or manipulative thought reform” (Morabito, 2014, Apr 15), and developed what is known as “Stockholm syndrome,” a mind condition where she unconsciously abandoned her own prior belief systems and took on the mindset of her captors (Jameson, 2010).
Now and then, we must re-visit our history to know what we’ve gained in our progression of movie-watching. When we began our film exploration in January 2010, it was simply that, an exploration. However, even then, we looked at films that revealed important ways in which the movie and the spectator interact to construct their stories and to reveal their biases.
Here we are in 2017, just a short eight years away from the 100-year mark since Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) was released. Credited with revolutionizing the art and craft of filmmaking through its utilization of montage and special effects, this movie also forms an essential foundation for the use of film for propaganda. The film indeed remains influential today, not only for its innovative techniques, but also for its model as a clear example of persuasive methods. In fact, Battleship Potemkin was banned in several countries, including the UK, out of concern that it would motivate potential rebellion.
By the 1890s, the technology of photography had evolved to a point where motion pictures were possible, and it didn’t take long for mankind to realize the enormous potential of the medium for propaganda. Motion pictures were easily understood for all levels of education, in spite of a silent screen, and could reach the masses in minimal time. Within 30 years of the first motion picture ever filmed, Russian movie maker Sergei Eisenstein had directed Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925) with the purpose of creating goodwill for the Bolsheviks and building resentment towards the Tsarists. Continue reading Thoughts on Battleship Potemkin and Propaganda→
Those of us who watched the Golden Globe Awards this week, or heard about the event after the fact, know that in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Meryl Streep gave an impassioned speech. Without naming names, most likely everyone in the world knew the context and the individual about whom she spoke.
With 2016 finally past us, Movies on My Mind is vigorously moving forward with a new list of fascinating movies to research and discuss as well as to enjoy! Mervin LeRoy’s Blossoms in the Dust has the honor of being the first movie of 2017, which is most appropriate. The motto of its subject Edna Gladney was, “Life is good, and it’s going to get better.”
A highly unusual movie for its time, Blossoms in the Dust is about adoption, a cause that Edna Gladney championed with passion throughout her life. Born in 1886, Edna Gladney was a real women who made it her life’s mission to fight for each and every orphan that crossed her path. Indeed, she surely must have bonded with children she helped, yet she never adopted a child herself. Among her accomplishments, the word “illegitimate” was removed from official records when “that Gladney woman,” as Edna became known, lobbied the Texas Legislature long and hard to pass a bill that gave adoptive children the same rights as their biological counterparts. Even so, movies that revolved around social causes were unheard of in the 1940’s; and it took the personal experience of an MGM Studio executive to promote the idea. Continue reading That Gladney Woman→
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