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Greenberg and Other Character Studies

Posted March 08, 2010 to photo album "Greenberg and Other Character Studies"

Noah Baumbach’s comedy Greenberg probes the psyche of a man in search of himself. We consider other films that study character.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Citizen Kane - Character as perception
Slide 3: Sunset Boulevard - Character as reflection
Slide 4: The Searchers - Character as manifest destiny
Slide 5: Taxi Driver - character as psychosis
Slide 6: The Entertainer - Character as characters
Slide 7: The Motorcycle Diaries - Character as destiny
Slide 8: Le Samouraï - Character as style
Slide 9: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles - Character as surface
Slide 10: The Ice Storm - Character as cultural confusion
Slide 11: All That Jazz - Character study as musical
Slide 12: The Graduate - Character as ambivalence
Slide 13: Sweet Smell of Success - Character as calculation
Slide 14: What is yours?
Slide 12: The Graduate - Character as ambivalence

Slide 12: The Graduate - Character as ambivalence

When Mike Nichols was casting The Graduate, the ultimate 60s anthem to alienated youth, he originally looked at actors like Robert Redford, since the character of Benjamin Braddock, a child of WASP Pasadena parents, would have no doubt been a blond-haired, blue-eyed California youth. His choice of Dustin Hoffman surprised everyone, including the actor who though he was too Jewish. But Braddock, a boy on the cusp of his life with no interest in moving forward, is a character who either can’t, or won’t, see his place in the world. In this way, Hoffman’s own background gave him the perfect experience for understanding the character. Hoffman, who grew up in Los Angeles, always despised it.” He explained, “I lived in anti-Semitic neighborhoods, and I never felt a part of it, and I used to go to the Saturday-matinee movies to see the Dead End Kids jumping into the East River, and I wanted to be one of them.”