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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 2: Citizen Kane - Character as perception

Slide 2: Citizen Kane - Character as perception

Orson Welles’ masterpiece is a character study fractured up into various genres: detective story, political expose, romance, biography, etc. Central to each strain is the question: who was Charles Foster Kane? The fact that Welles loosely based his towering figure on a real man, William Randolph Hearst, only made the question of character even more perplexing. In the film, after a newsreel reports on the death of Charles Foster Kane, the editor demands his reporter dig deeper: “What we've just seen are the outlines of a career - what's behind the career?  What's the man?  Was he good or bad?  Strong or foolish? Tragic or silly? Why did he do all those things?  What was he after?” The movie ends with as big a question as it begins. For Welles, Kane turns out to be as much a fragment of what we believe him to be as he does a complex and contradictory person.