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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 4: The Searchers - Character as manifest destiny

Slide 4: The Searchers - Character as manifest destiny

Perhaps no director helped create and explore the mythology of the American West as fully as John Ford did, often with his laconic hero John Wayne standing in solitary relief against an endless sunset. In earlier Ford films, like Fort Apache and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Wayne remained a man of quiet virtue and independent character, but in The Searchers his heroic persona is turned inside out. An ex-Confederate soldier for whom the war never ended, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) returns to find his family slaughtered and his niece abducted by the Comanche. As Wayne drives deeper into the American west to find her, the film pushes far into the dark recesses of Edwards’ psyche––his near-sociopathic obsession, his irrational violence, a racism attitude toward Native Americans that could easily double for infatuation. Critic Greil Marcus captured Edwards frightening journey when he wrote, “Wayne changes from a man with whom we are comfortable into a walking Judgment Day ready to destroy the world to save it from itself.”