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Reports & Essays: Music & Art - Film

"AND""OR"

Liberators
and The Tramp "Liberators", a documentary film produced by Nina Rosenblum and William Miles illustrates the heroic efforts of African-Americans during the second world war. It is about black soldiers fighting a war on two fronts; in Germany against Nazism, and in America against racism. All this is brought out by archival film footage, narrative voice overs and interviews with black veterans and Jewish victims of World War II. By the same token, Barbara Baynton's short story, "The Tramp" deals with a woman's fight against depression. There are many similarities and differences in the way print and non-print texts confronts the issues. The documentary establishes the mood through emotional recollections and powerful voice overs, and informs with archival footage. An example of this is in the exposition when there is a mid shot of the black soldiers loading ammunition into cannons. This sets out to show that the African-American soldiers are doing the same thing as the white American male soldier; putting their lives at risk for the good of the country. Non-print text is unable unable to use multimedia techniques (i.e. audio-visual), however, the use of characterization and descriptive language can aptly replace it. Baynton creates a setting in which everybody conforms to his/her stereotype; the boundary rider is tough but kind, the woman is easily dominated, and the tramp is a slathering pervert. Through the actions and reactions of the characters, Baynton attacks society's acceptance of female compliance. An example of this is when the narrative voice says "It was hem". Humanity's dominance over nature and males' dominance over females is another example of a dual front conflict, and links "The Tramp" strongly with "Liberators". "Liberators" also tries to expel a stereotype; that of Negroes, and likewise tries to glorify them. This is done indirectly through a Jewish survivor's account of his rescue from a concentration camp by the African-American regiment. The recollection takes place in the concentration camp where he was rescued (Buchenwald) and he talking to no-one in particular. One of the veterans is standing beside him and the cameraman is standing about two meters away from the pair giving a medium torso/head shot. An example of stereotyping in the Tramp is in the quote "She was not one to provoke skirmishes, even with the cow." The word "skirmish" means a little battle and is normally only used in a military context. By exaggerating a scuffle into a battle, it highlights the contrast in aggressiveness between the woman and the man. The woman will call any little tussle a war and try to avoid it at all costs, whereas the man tries to induce them. Also, the word "provoke" confirms the submissiveness of the woman The main advantage that the film text has over the print text is the ability to use juxtaposition. One such example is when there is a scene of archival footage depicting some Ku Klux Klansmen marching down a street at night carrying the American flag, with bonfires burning along the pavement and spectators cramming the sidewalks. The scene that immediately follows it, is a medium close up, low camera shot of a Nazi soldier with the Nazi flag flying in the background over his left shoulder. The connotations of this can be gotten strictly visually. Both the author and the film producer had strong ideas about social stereotypes. They both had two parallel conflicts and used them to their full advantage. Even though the film and the story had different techniques available to them, they each utilized them effectively and forcefully.

 



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