Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

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Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:48 pm



What genre is this movie? What characteristics and genre conventions have you found during the screening? Please post pictures or clips to support your comments, if available.

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Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936)

Post by ClellAllen on Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:13 am

Chaplin's films are most commonly within the Comedy spectrum, a sort of staple of Chaplin's filmmaking generation, the the emergence of the talkies and the dissolution of silent cinema. Whether this be through visual elements within the mise en scene, or through the performances of himself and his actors, one can gather that judging by the imagery and the way the humour is delivered, that this is a sort of satire. It almost makes a lighthearted mockery of the how progressive modern western society appears to have become, and how the working man is treated. For example, the way the business owner appears in a projection on the wall behind Chaplin as he cheekily smokes in the bathroom, and orders Chaplin back to work, in an incredibly high-speed and rather physical activity. The work that he is doing already rings of Chaplin's comedy. Often speed and movement of people is conventional in the films of Chaplin, especially in his silent films, with slap-stick and the simplicity of absurdity used frequently, as this was what Chaplin understood appealed most to his audience. 
For example, immediately after the first credits we see a shot of a herd of sheep commuting downwards in the shot. The camera is positioned above the subjects in order for us to see a greater number of sheep. But here is where Chaplin is clever with his filmmaking. Something that is obviously inspired by Soviet montage is how the shot of the sheep transitions into almost exactly the same shot, though this time the sheep have been replaced by the commuting proletariat. Already this is humorous, as Chaplin is basically comparing the life of the modern worker as being herded. Like a number; similarly to how livestock are treated. Though this is not implied, Chaplin does this to instantly provoke the thoughts of the audience.
There is also an element of science-fiction, in Chaplin's use of set. For example, at that time, CCTV had not been invented. However, Chaplin uses this sort of observational shot that survey's the working men, with the bourgeois looking down on his workers. For me, this is almost a suggestive implication of what is to come in 'Modern Times'. Though this does not refer to the film's title necessarily. Instead it refers to the times in which the film was conceived. Another example of this science fiction can be seen in the rather formalist setting of the first few scenes is of a completely clean and clear factory space. Though, in reality this at the time was probably a false representation of what was the true state of working conditions in Western society for the working man/woman.
Even the way the 'automatic feeding machine' is featured in a semi-political/futurist expression. Politically, it is that thing that the bourgeois wish did not exist, as it interrupts 'productivity' of both their business and their workers. On the other hand, the mere idea of the machine is rather blatantly a joke, but it still provides a sense of what could be, a constant theme throughout Chaplin's film.


Last edited by ClellAllen on Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:27 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added more text)

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Re: Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

Post by ClellAllen on Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:15 am

In the last paragraph, I'm just commenting on the lunch break that is mentioned in the film. This is just an elaboration.

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Re: Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1936)

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