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About alexm

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  1. Both films start with a clock that becomes a symbol of mortality: in M, the children are arranged in a circle and one child, as a clock hand, points to each child, suggesting time passing and time ending for each and eventually all. The tone in M. is ambiguous: children can't quite comprehend the grim humor of their game. In Ministry, the clock is counting down to when the protagonist will be liberated, but it also anticipates other time pieces associated with death. I love the beginning of Ministry. The use of chiaroscuro creates strong contrasts, and as one blogger pointed out, there is
  2. A number of bloggers have commented on the detective's cynicism, antiauthoritarianism, or self-interest. I agree with these. He is a precursor, as one of the critics has observed, of the popularity of the anti-hero in film noire. He's the protagonist, thus we follow him, but his traits are not typically heroic. (For the film scholar Robert Ray, the anti-hero represents a pattern in Hollywood films of the period. Today, cable networks seem to have revived and popularized the character.) The lift operator's salacious remark casts doubt on the detective's morality, but so does much of what
  3. The plot begins in medias res, which contributes, along with the restricted pov, to the plot's suspense. The plot structure is quintessential film noire, and anticipates film's like Double Indemnity. Unlike a film like The Maltese Falcon, which begins with an establishing shot of San Francisco, this film does not provide such a technique: the viewer isn't gradually introduced to a setting. We're thrown into the story unaware of what's going on. The pov technique creates something similar to the voiceover narration that will define the film noir genre. I must admit that the sustained use of pov
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