Eye of the Story

The Evergreen State College

Category: Week 6 Viewing

Whitman: Masculine/Feminine (Death and Sex)

 We are greeted with the close up shot of Paul reading poetry aloud. He is cut off by the bell of the opening door. The next shot has flipped a hundred and eighty degrees to reveal a wide shot view of the café, where Paul sits and Madeline is revealed for the first time, closing the door behind her. She could have appeared as an innocuous costumer in the scene if the camera wasn’t framed around the seat she takes and Paul is nearly pushed out of frame. They strike up a conversation across their respective tables about a friend of a friend and Paul’s search for work.

He mentions his military career but replaces his recollection of any past experiences with a manifesto. There is a medium shot of his head switching back and forth between looking at Madeline and his papers on the table; apparently giving an unprompted recitation. He doesn’t mention violence, death, or horror, the subject of his contempt for the military is submission. He says that modern life mirrors the military where there is no longer freedom.

Shouts are heard and the camera cuts a hundred and eighty degrees around again to witness a couple with a child fighting at another table. The wall of Madeline’s booth obscures her reaction, but Paul’s expression is in clear view in the mid-ground and he turns his head, completely distracted by the outburst. The woman attempts to take the child with her as she leaves, moving past Paul into the foreground, but the man takes the child from her and leads the child out the door.            

“The door!” Paul shouts in a similar way that he had reminded another person to close the door moments earlier. The woman runs back to get her bag at the table and then rushes back out the door, it is visible that she is holding a gun just as Paul shouts again “The door!” and the camera moves to the window to see the woman shoot the man dead.

            This scene is emblematic of a pattern in the film of random acts of violence abruptly and loudly announcing itself, like the snapping gunshot over the title cards, abducting attention and, in this case, literally upstaging the first encounter between our romantic leads.

Moments such as these in the film dramatically highlight the indifference of the characters to such violence. Perhaps death is mundane to them now, Paul states that modern life and war are no different, as if life were a dull battlefront itself. It may be that after the man was shot by his lover, that Paul processed what had just happened, realized that his priorities of keeping the draft out were ridiculous, but the camera never allows us to see that. The scene ends with the woman getting one final hit in on the corpse.

            But the main characters of the film show their indifference to death in less sensational parts of the film as well, such as when in scene nine Paul, Elizabeth, and Madeline meet for lunch and overhear two conversations. The first is between the previously mentioned woman who shot the man; a fact that is recognized by our young trio but they only seem casually interested in the fact that she became a prostitute. When the conversation between the woman and her client turns to the holocaust and who is responsible, the young trio ponders how many clients she services a day. The second conversation we overhear is between Bridget Bardot and a gentleman discussing a scene where a man has just been killed by a car and he explains how Bardot should evoke her disbelief.

            These conversations and others like them, seem preoccupied with reconciling with death, with dealing with the aftermath of death. This is a preoccupation that the main characters do not seem to have whatsoever. It isn’t that death is not a reality for them but their concerns are always set on the future: the future of politics, the outcome of their relationships. The scenes are spread out in such a way that we are never given time to process the effects of their choices through reflective exposition. Whenever there is a death in the film, as if the murder or suicide were punctuation, there is a considerable jump in time and we aren’t allowed to see how the characters process it.

Perhaps their generation’s goal as they come into adulthood is to reject the issues of the past, to move foreword. It gives the characters an air of denial but also presents an inexplicit connection between the way they ignore death and pursue sex. Sex and death are often presented side by side within the progression of a scene. Scene five is a single shot that embodies the extreme dichotomies of sex and death that frame Paul’s hopeless pursuit of Madeline’s love.

Madeline is in a hurry to get to work but Paul asks for just five minutes at a nearby restaurant, during that time the camera and Madeline follow Paul around the restaurant looking for the right place to sit, though he may actually being looking for the right words instead. When they sit down for the second time, the camera drifts to two men reading smutty literature aloud, when the camera follows them to their third seat, the camera again drifts to a man professing how he must move on from a woman’s death. Madeline says she has to go and quickly moves to the door, her music abruptly playing non-diegetically, perhaps in her head, can’t you see that we’re just friends? Paul blurts out that he wanted to propose and she reactively says that they will discuss it later, followed by an awkward handshake.

When Madeline and Paul had surveyed each other in the bathroom, she had asked him what the center of his world was and he replied that love was. Paul’s listlessness in scene five reflects how he is trying to place Madeline at the center of his world and she won’t reciprocate. This same tension between death, sex, and Madeline plays out again in the following scene, again in a single take, at the soda fountain outside the dance club. The stakes however are raised, this time Madeline makes her exit early with Elizabeth and rather than overhearing about sex and death Paul is directly confronted by them. A prostitute takes Paul to a photo booth and he denies her on the excuse that he doesn’t have enough money. He then makes a recording in the neighboring booth professing his feelings and concludes that he is a control tower trying to contact her. As Paul wonders into the arcade, Madeline’s song returns. You know darn well my address, but never a letter did I see. His listless wondering in this scene reflects his turmoil in trying to contact her and be heard.

A man pulls a knife on Paul, as the camera follows them out of the arcade, the man suddenly stabs himself and falls into Paul’s arms. This death goes unaddressed as well. We are privy to the immediate reaction of one death, when Paul and Catherine witness a man set himself on fire. Paul only talks about death in the abstract, stating that killing millions makes you a god. Catherine replies that she doesn’t believe in god and then asks if Paul really loves Madeline and their reflection is over. Even then they don’t seem concerned with this horror and move on as quickly as possible; never lingering in the past.

The final death in the film is, of course, Paul’s. This death is skipped entirely and instead we are left with Catherine relaying how he may have died. Madeline’s concern is once again set on the future. She is pregnant, a fear her friends kept reminding Paul of, and now she is faced with the decision to have an abortion or not. Now, like Paul, Madeline is caught between death and sex but in far more literal manifestation and she is caught within that tension. The last line of the film exhibits as much:

“I don’t know” Madeline says in a close up of her emotionally torn face and the film cuts to the concluding title card.

Close Viewing, Sage M. of Masulin Feminin

Sage McClune—- Close Viewing of Masculin Feminin.

“Little by little during these three months I’ve noticed that all of these questions, far from reflecting a collective mentality, were frequently betraying and distorting it. My own lack of objectivity, often unconscious, most of the time corresponded to an inevitable lack of sincerity on the part of the people I was questioning. So, without knowing it, I was deceiving them and being deceived by them. Why? No doubt polls and samples soon forget their true purpose, which is the observation of behavior, and insidiously substitute value judgements for research. I discovered that all the questions I was asking any Frenchmen conveyed an ideology which didn’t correspond to today’s customs but to those of yesterday, of the past. Thus I had to remain vigilant. A few random observations came to me by chance and served as guidelines.

A philosopher is a man who pits his own consciousness [conscience] against opinion: to be conscious is to be open to the world. To be faithful is to act as if time did not exist. Wisdom would be if one could see life, really see, that would be wisdom.”

In class the other day we were asked on a list of questions, “what do you make of this statement?” I am going to explore my own interpretations of this piece for my essay.

First off I think that the commonly held idea, that Godard projected himself onto Paul, is important to consider when evaluating Paul’s last monologue. Depending on the answer, what can be made of the statement would likely change drastically. I imagine the director definitely does project himself onto the character. Second, If Godard had such a close tie to the film that Paul became a surrogate self for the director, understanding the film means understanding Godard, or at least learning a bit about his motivations and thoughts on the film.

I found an interview in which Godard speaks about the film. He says that for him, it was a search for cinema. Not knowing where he was “from the point of view of cinema” He was “in search of cinema” and “wanted to use cinema to speak of youth, […] or else use youth to speak of cinema.” This statement is confusing. However, as a result of Godard approaching the film in this way, it can be understood that Masculin Feminin is essentially an experiment. For him, the film is an exploration, a search.

I think this helps answer the first question of whether or not Godard projects himself into the film, specifically onto the character Paul. If this film is an experiment, with Paul being the main character of the experiment/ story, it makes sense that Paul would naturally be a character for Godard to use in such a way.

Along with this, Paul is a character of questioning. He is interested in sociology, philosophy and poetry. He is also a pop culture revolutionary, trying to learn about the world around him that he is never content with. He always seeks change while trying to understand the truth. This last statement can be made after considering his engagement with the work in polls he is doing, along with the questions he poses and the things he says throughout the film. This last monologue expresses an important aspect of Paul’s character. “To see life, really see, that would be wisdom.” These last words we hear him speak, along with his observation of the deceptive and tricky process of taking polls, expresses his longing to understand the truth. This makes me think of Godard. Godard was also searching for something, looking for the cinema, something he had somehow lost.

In the same above mentioned interview, Godard expresses his thoughts on young people and why they are so central to the film. He sees the youth in the film as not yet morally conditioned, and as a result there is a spontaneity about them. This spontaneity is what drives the film. It is less a film about the characters in the story, and more about the people who act in it. Masculin Feminin is a story created with the young people, it is not about them.

The spontaneity Godard sees in young people is apparent in the films structure. The story itself is quite spontaneous, created without any plot line, the only things really linking the story together are the characters we see, the environment in which they live- largely influenced by the relationships between them, and a rough idea of time. Instead of using developed plot, Godard takes notes in a spiral bound notebook and often creates script pieces and structure for the story the night before or on the set. The piece unfolds as it is being told. There is no exploration of a predeveloped idea, instead, exploration of reaction and interaction; what is currently happening and what that means and what happens next is central to the film.

This sounds very connected to Paul’s last speech. He says: “I discovered that all the questions I was asking any Frenchmen conveyed an ideology which didn’t correspond to today’s customs but to those of yesterday, of the past.” And in another segment he says: “without knowing it, I was deceiving them and being deceived by them.” His own “Lack of objectivity” the questions posed, created by people living in worlds separate from the ones they sought to explore made it impossible, or at least very difficult to find what they looked for.

If this film was an exploration, a seeking of cinema, as Godard says, maybe it was also an answer to the dilemma regarding wisdom that Paul poses, or rather, Godard poses, at the end. To see things as they really are. Maybe to see things as they really are, one has to observe rather than pose questions that directly influence the answers so hungrily sought. If this is true, this film is a piece, developed in search of an answer to a question that can’t be asked.

Godard worked to create the piece reactive, to make it alive. He even says “There is no difference between what they [the actors] did during the day and what they represented in the film; it was exactly the same.” That is why the film was not made following a predeveloped storyline. As it was being created, the story told itself for Godard. Masculin Feminin is the consolidation of 15 facts, 15 observations of different events in the characters’ lives.

For Godard, the film was a process of exploration, of observation, trying to find cinema. The character Paul, takes note of “seeing, really seeing” as being important for wisdom. This seems to be what Godard was after. Working with young people, he went out of his way to capture the lives of youth. Their lives and worlds presented in the film, represent something larger. They represent the youth, the spontaneous, reactive and morally unconditioned youth the film is all about.

This leaves me with a shaky question. What then is cinema to Godard? He thought he could find it in the lives of young people, by watching, listening and talking with them. For him it cant be something he asks about with questions conveying predeveloped ideologies. Maybe instead, for Godard, cinema is the truth, a certain truth. It is representation of the world as it is. Preconditioned filters distorting reality. That would be why Godard chose to have young people create the film.


What then is cinema? Wisdom? Pure cinema, would be to see, really see.


Godard couldn’t ask the questions he wanted an answer to. So the film served, in another way, as an exploration for that answer without directly asking the questions.

Close Viewing – Masculin/Feminin

Austin Milner
The Eye of the Story
Week Six
Close Viewing

The Roles of Gender:
A Closer look into Masculin/Feminin,
Gently Down the Stream, and The Smell of Burning Ants

I do not like Paul. For every possible redeemable or understandable reason that Masculin/Feminin presents about Paul, the gothic-hero, the anti-hero, the he means well protagonist, I cannot bring it to myself to like any part of Paul for more than about .3 seconds. I don’t like Paul because I know people like Paul and, in more ways than I’d like to admit, I am a little like Paul. In my interpretation of Goddard’s 1965 French cinema masterpiece, Paul represents what it is to be the typical Man and therefore operates to encompass the tropes of the majority of the male population of France, The United States, and the entire, albeit mainly western, world. In this representation of Man we see all of their shortcomings, for which there are many, in our lead actor Paul. We see the control that Paul exudes over the women in his life, and, though to a far lesser extent, the power that he holds over Robert (the less attractive, less successful, less aggressive but still aggressive man). We see the manic addiction to knowledge in Paul, the need for knowledge of the whereabouts of those, whom Paul regards as his property. We see the self-imposed “overseer of the world and of all life that is below him, the one true god” complex that Paul feeds through his interviews (mainly if not entirely, I can’t quite remember, consisting of female interviewees) and through his monologues to the ever-present “viewer”.
I feel as though Paul in real life, without the novelty of a writer acting as his puppet master, would still have these monologues, have this selfish observation that he shrouds his days in. It is the other trope of the man. If they are not a meathead then they are a wallflower, but one must be careful because in that innocent, sad lonely intellectual resides such a viscous judgment of those around him, of the women around him, that all who exist in this world, in his world, become lesser. Feel free to notice the connection that I seem to be making between Him, of what we refer to as a Man, and Him, of what some refer to as a God. We see this connection in Madeline as well, operating as the audiences understanding of the classic Woman. The politeness, the feigned interests in some boy like Paul for (and we cannot be certain of which this is or if it is both) an obligation that is felt, and awkwardness perhaps or for need of pure survival. To not provoke the proverbial beast that is seated next to her, with his cold and creepy/charming-not-sure-which-probably-both-maybe-neither-smile.
These states of being that both Paul and Madeline inhabit appear to work as a blanket, encompassing the mindset of the youth of the 1960’s and the identities of Men and Women in general. Out of everything that I believe can be felt in the social constructs that exist around Man and Woman, around the Masculine and the Feminine, the one thing that I always feel, regardless of the moment, is frustration. Some might call it tension, at times it could be jealousy or envy, or fear but at it’s core I believe that having such a strict definition of “what a man is” and “what a woman is” adds to the human mind such an extreme level of stress that frustration is the only apt comparison of this constant feeling.
We see this with everyone in Masculin/Feminin, in the pauses and nervous laughter or Catherine’s conversation with Robert, in everything. We see this intense feeling of frustration, even leading to what I would categorize as depression or trauma to a massive extent with Oscar, Beli, Yunior and even Lola in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao but where I feel we see the most openly see the damage that can be done by this way of living is in both The Smell of Burning Ants and in Gently Down the Stream, one film focusing on the male-centric view of this issue and one focusing on the female. In my opinion both focus on the freedom that is lost in our current worldview of the “right” type of sexuality though I believe that to be changing rapidly in our immediate culture, hopefully something that will continue to spread in the next coming years. In every instance it seems that neither gender role is afforded with anything genuinely good. I do believe that Men have had the easier, the better, and the more lucrative time with this type of societal structure that has managed to persist for what appears to be all of recorded history (I very much hope that it was different before though I doubt it) but where22 the Male gender has come out ahead on I feel that they have also come out inhumane. Upon watching these films, reading these books, I find it hard to not believe that both men and women begin the journey to destroying both themselves and each other from the second that they enter this world.
This is not a new idea. I do not believe that I am alone in these feelings. That being said I feel like this issue has been gaining, and sufficiently losing, ground since the start of the industrial revolution. There is something about the not needing to worry about survival on a day-to-day, hour to hour pace that makes a human manic in a way. When we don’t live to survive we must replace it with something else. We replace this need with the need to thrive in the world that we have created. The problem is that we never set a definition of what this “Thrival” entails and how we work with others on this journey, to make it something that we do together and not against each other. I think the issue of gender roles and the problem with how we treat people of the opposite, and of the same, sex that don’t fit our expectation, or even if they do, is routed in something deeper than the social game we play. What that is I don’t know, but I think that movies like Masculin/Feminin, movies like The Smell of Burning Ants and Gently Down the Stream, books about people like Oscar and Lola move us in the direction of the answer to whatever question I am trying to pose.

Adderley Dannley-Bearden “Teenage Survey” M/F Close Analysis 2/11/16


Teenage Survey

Jean Luc Godard said something like, “Each time any teenager talks, they’re taking a survey.” I suppose this means that anything teenagers say to each other is up for analysis. Perhaps to compare and contrast each other’s lives, to see if the status quo is being followed. Godard’s characters in Masculine Feminine seem to adhere to his theory because their conversations often follow a question and answer format. Sex, parents, music, and politics are all fair game. Yet oftentimes characters will be speaking one thing, but their body language and physicality will communicate something completely different. The way I see it, Masculine Feminine was a film about the different ways people can communicate with each other, both verbally and nonverbally.  

To speak of verbal communication, one example of a survey occurs in the bathroom near the start of the film. In the scene, the protagonist Paul is prompting his love interest, Madeleine, to go out with him later that night. During this dialogue-heavy scene, the camera remains trained on either Paul or Madeleine’s face for long intervals as they ask questions and then receive responses. This allows the audience to track each character’s personal reactions, feeling their hesitation, their discomfort, and their barely contained thrill as the flirting progresses. However, the underlying purpose of the scene is not just to acquaint the audience with the characters, but to expose from the very root of their relationship the fundamental differences between Paul and Madeleine.

As the survey evolves, the questions grow more intimate. “What is the center of the world to you?” Madeleine asks and the camera switches back to Paul’s face as he mulls over his answer. After a moment’s pause he responds quite seriously in clear opposition to Madeleine’s more playful demeanor: “Love,” Paul offers, looking at Madeleine. The camera is still studying his face, but Madeleine answers off-camera with a smile in her voice: “Funny. I’d have said ‘Me.’” Paul casts his eyes down as if in thought. “Does that sound strange?” Madeleine asks, but Paul does not answer. Madeleine continues as if she’s uncertain of the answer she’s given him, “Don’t you think you’re the center of the world?” There is some silence before Paul finally admits, “In a way, sure.”

In terms of nonverbal communication, Godard has his characters perform habits such as Paul’s cigarette flipping and Madeleine’s hair touching. These quirks are used by Godard as physical evidence of how each character is faring throughout the story. For example, Madeleine plays with her hair almost incessantly throughout the film, but it is very prominent when she’s angry or uncomfortable. When Paul reads her profile from a magazine in an outlandish voice, the camera looks up at her tensely tugging a piece of hair around her fingers until she says, “Don’t make fun of me.” The same anxious hair pulling occurs at the end of the film when she’s in the police office giving a testimony of Paul’s death. And while listening in the studio to the song she’s just recorded, Madeleine toys with her hair, unhappy with her performance, and also unhappy with Paul, evident when he tries to hold her hand and she pulls out of his grasp.

Madeleine’s hair is also used as a prop for other characters to establish a kind of claim on her. In the movie theater, Elizabeth intimately brushes Madeleine’s hair aside in order to whisper into her ear. Paul watches this occurrence with thinly veiled jealousy, and when he walks past the two girls’ seats, he carefully, purposely smoothes down the hair Elizabeth had touched. It is almost like a claim to Madeleine herself that the two are fighting over. Like dogs who piss in order to mark their territory.

On the other hand, Paul habitually flips cigarettes up into his mouth in the film, a kind of dorky trick to establish his character as a French youth with a blaise sort of attitude. The first couple of times we see him do it (in the cafe, in the bathroom) he gets it on the first try. However, the only times he fumbles the toss is when Madeleine is with Elizabeth. The first time he messes up the flip is when Madeleine and Elizabeth are walking out of the dance club to the bar where they get sodas. The second time is in the bedroom scene where Madeleine invites Paul to sleep with her and Elizabeth. Paul cannot get the cigarette into his mouth on the first attempt when in Elizabeth’s company, perhaps because he feels threatened by her presence.  

At the tailend of the film, Paul resolves in a voiceover how all the surveys he has been conducting have been failures. The questions he was asking people reflected a deformed collective mentality. “My lack of objectivity, even when unconscious,” he says, “tended to provoke a predictable lack of sincerity in those I was polling. Unawares, I was deceiving them and being deceived by them.” I would argue that the same lack of sincerity occurs between Paul and Madeleine in the bathroom scene. They ask each other questions as part of a “teenage survey”, to follow Godard’s theory, and they are deceived by one another. As Paul experiences with the polls he’s conducting, people search for the answer they believe is expected or desired of them. I suspect the same might have been true for both Paul and Madeleine when they questioned each other.

If all teenage interactions are surveys, then the bathroom scene which serves as a foundation for the rest of Paul and Madeleine’s relationship is built on faulty ground. How could their answers not be value judgements, the same as the people Paul was polling? Was there any truth to their interactions? These are questions I am still asking myself even after watching the film multiple times, and I doubt that I will come to any definite conclusions until watching it several more times. But it is clear to me that Godard’s use of both verbal communication as well as nonverbal communication is very important and that sometimes a character may be saying one thing, yet their physicality will speak to a different feeling entirely.

Marilee G. Hyde Movie Review: Nine Muses 2/11/2016

Marilee G. Hyde
Eye of the Story
Movie Review February 5, 2016

The Nine Muses

Calliope was the muse of epic poetry Clio was the muse of history.

Erato was the muse of love poetry. Euterpe was the muse of music.

Melpomene was the muse of tragedy. Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.

Terpsichore was the muse of dance. Thalia was the muse of comedy.

Urania was the muse of astronomy.

I originally decided to do this movie review because I really liked the title. I subsequently looked it up to read some reviews, just so I would have an idea of what we were going to see. I was a bit disappointed in that the reviewers didn’t seem to think much of it. Of course it was only two different analyses, when I looked again later I found some other appraisals of the film that were more enthusiastic. I must say I don’t agree with the original reviews I read. I enjoyed it very much. I will discuss a couple of areas that I appreciated the most. Disclaimer: when I watch films I am ruled by emotions. I see and feel more than I see and analyze. I often enjoy a film for itself, not how close it is to the book or how accurate it is historically. I consider films an entity unto themselves not in contrast to others. As Jonah pointed out, and it is my thought as well; sometimes a bird flying is just a bird flying.
The Nine Muses are the daughters of Zeus and the maiden Μnemosyne. I liked the use of each the nine muses to represent a different aspect in the film. A caption with one of the Goddesses names and then the music, images and quotes that mirrored that particular muse’s specialty would follow. I started noticing a pattern after Polyhymnia the muse of sacred poetry. The music was indeed on the sacred side with “let my people go” and Leotyne price singing in her timeless and inimitable voice “sometimes I feel like a motherless child.” I thought the use of relevant quotes, music and images to emphasize the nine muses made the film cohesive in a way that was intriguing. I believe it made the quotes chosen to have a bit more significance, rather than looking at the quotes as being random choices. Sometimes I didn’t see the significance of the images and what they were supposed to represent, but as a whole it conveyed to me the same meaning, foreign people in an even more foreign land.
I knew in advance that the film was about immigrants from different British Commonwealths making their way to Britain, but it was almost about immigration itself not just about a given group of people. The traveling motifs made that journey obvious. I started writing down all the modes of travel I noticed such as cars, boats, airplanes trains and of course walking.
The images of the people doing different jobs was very interesting because it showed mostly factory, assembly line type jobs which were often the only kind of jobs immigrants could get until they could save up to start their own business or settle enough to learn a different trade.
Intertwined between the found footage were the vistas of Alaskan landscapes. I personally enjoyed looking at the mountains and the snow covered trees. When I re-watched the movie for some reason it was only in black and white, I don’t know if it was the machine I was using or what, but I wondered if I had imagined the color the first time. I understood the bleak white snowy views were probably supposed to represent the cold of the environment, and the U.K in general, but also the frosty reception that immigrants often receive when moving into an unfamiliar place. Many immigrants are hoping for a better life but often find that it does not live up to their imagination.
Somewhere in the middle of the film I noted a clip of horses running. It was shown three times, fairly close together with the manes floating in the motion of their movement. I thought this might represent freedom in general, but also could be considered another mode of transportation.
The last element I wanted to talk about is the interesting use of the people in the colored parkas. We have speculated in class about what they could be representing. I was reminded of the little girl in the red coat in the film Schindlers list. Whenever you saw the little girl she was the only spot of color in the whole scene, very much like the parka people. It was especially poignant in that when they showed a field of bodies in the film you could see the corner of the red coat amidst the corpses. This was I thought, a very heart-rending means of getting the point across. The people in parkas were doing something similar in my opinion. They were a direct contrast to the whiteness of the landscape, but they were also mostly looking out at the vastness of the scenery. Occasionally they were walking but when they were in front of you the faces and hands were obscured to look blank. This could represent any race of people, nonspecific. People who leave the only home they have ever known for whatever reason, and are between homes. They can’t really go back, they are no longer in familiar territory, but they don’t yet belong in the new place of their choosing. The old adage that you can never go back is true more times than not.
Sometimes the blue, yellow and black coats were walking as though on a journey but as they looked out toward the hills I rather fancifully thought of the musical Finnian’s Rainbow. Throughout the film they sang about “How are things in Glocca Morra?” in the end Woody turns to Sharon and asks her “Where is Glocca Morra?” and she responds “well you see, it’s always somewhere….over there” That is what I see. The people in the colored parkas are looking at home. Their old home, a new home, it doesn’t matter. When you have left the place of familiarity, often your birth place, for some other land; you don’t really belong anywhere anymore. Some who immigrate never feel at home where they settle. Home is always somewhere over there. An elusive concept that some never actually realize.
In conclusion, the director is from Ghana and this is probably some of his feelings and impressions of when he himself immigrated, although he was only four at the time. We can speculate and attach meanings to our hearts content, but unless you have experienced leaving your home for a new place it is just that, speculation. I, however, having moved no less than seven times in the last six years, can relate a little better than most, to the struggle of fitting in and finding a place to call home.

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