Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cultural Political Aspects of the Film


Tolkien's fantasy world is dominated by men, because this world suffers from greed, misuse of power and war.

Tolkien' structures and shapes his narratives so well that the transaction during gendered identity his/her is kind of seamless. Tolkien writes beautifully detailed and lovingly developed world so that the reader is drawn in without much room for any other thoughts. Even if you pause reading and think over in your head, the only thoughts that will remain constant is the plot and trying to manage multiple descriptions, and while your mind is busy trying to figure out the plot, the gender roles don't appear problematic.

Laura Mulvey's theories on gender in literature and film, and her powerful conception of the 'male gaze 'must be acknowledged because she is a successful Professor who specializes in film, and media studies. Her best known essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" published in 1975 in the influential British film theory journal 'Screen' included the intersection of film theory, psychoanalysis and feminism.

In her article there was no such research about film, but rather an extensive amount of arguments that are comprised from Freud and Lacan that the classical Hollywood cinema inevitably put the spectator in a masculine subject position, with the figure of the woman on screen as the object of desire. In the era of classical Hollywood cinema, viewers were encouraged to identify with the protagonist of the film, who tended to be a man.

Tolkien strongly includes his opinions about feminism especially in the character of Eowyn. Eowyn decides to join the army of men by disguising herself and placing aside her feminism to march to the 'Battle of the Pelennor Fields'. Aside from this, Eowyn gets into the fight with the Nazgul Lord and defeats it. During this time the reader is suddenly aware of the him/her systems in the book.


In the Tolkien's world there are 6 races, which are: Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs, Wizard, Hobbit, and Humans.

But most common race that accompany with political issues are the Orcs. In many articles and forums, it is argued that Orcs represent Nazis. Orcs are brainwashed, and they don't really think a lot when they have been given an assignment to destroy or kill something or someone. The same can be related once more to Nazis. Orcs also represent Communists.

However J.R.R Tolkien clearly stated that there has been no political related issues involved in the story at least not intentionally.


From the Religious aspect, Lord of the Rings might seem a dull film when compared with Religion. However, upon looking deep into the story you soon start to realize that Religion is a big role in the film. For example, the most common theory is that Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn constitute of the Priest, Prophet and King, the Three offices of Christ.

To elaborate further of this example is that Frodo is the ring-bearer (the ring is of course sin) so he is leading his people away sin, thus he fulfills the duty of a priest.

Gandalf can be seen as a Prophet, because he brings bad news to the villagers and warns them to prepare themselves from the evil.

As for Aragorn, he becomes the King of Gondor

But looking at it from the Religious aspect it reflects a lot with Catholicism.
(this christian thing is doing my head-in....i can't understand...perhaps maybe you could finish it off?...i don't think much is needed to be added.)

"The power to decide what a book means in our own lives is completely up to us, the reader."
Symbolism in Lord of the Rings by Brian Cobb

The Real Middle Earth -- Full Program

Tolkiens experience of war and the remarkable similarity of his works.

The Lord of the Rings is a book which penetrates factions, It depicts the horrors of the twentieth century, it uses the language of myth.
Although he wrote The Lord of the Rings during World War II and it was published in 1954, his imagination was much earlier in the century. The evil and horror unleashed by Sauron was partly prompted by Tolkien’s personal experiences in the Battle of the Somme during World War I, where over a million men died on both sides in a matter of months.
(The Battle of the Somme started in July 1st 1916.  It lasted until November 1916. For many people, the Battle of the Somme was the battle that symbolised the horrors of warfare in World War 1.)

Tolkien’s artistic achievement was part of a wider European tradition going back to the 19th century as his imagination of the story play and the use of words as he was specialised in translating ancient languages.
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

There is a remarkable similarity between Tolkien’s symbolism and the works of Richard Wagner  a German composer. Richard Wagner’s work of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) which is a opera performance thats is often referred to as "The Ring Cycle", "Wagner's Ring", or simply "The Ring".
Some video clips of The Ring of the Nibelung.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tolkiens creative world

Tolkien was born in South Africa, but returned to England with his mother when he was only four years old, retaining very few memories of the South African landscape.

Tolkien love of nature, which it brought the creation of ents, Treebeards, and charactors such as Tom Bombodil and Goldberry. These charactors made a popular role in the play as they had unique characteristic's.

Shortly after returning to England, Tolkien's stay in the village of Sarehole which was  industrialized but retained the isolated beauty and simplicity of the pre-industrialized English countryside.

Industrialization, machines, and technological progress in all its forms are seen as destroying forces, which very much come alike as the dark forces in tolkien stories. Living in industrial Birmingham and observing the horrors and destruction of World War I and II, Tolkien had born witness to the many drawbacks of industrial progress.

These industrialization give a great similarity to Saruman who destroys the land around Isengard and cuts down great sections of Fangorn Forest to feed his war machine. Sauron has the great resemblance of war and destruction shown in world war 1. The story play also shows the rise of army in darkness and leadership such as the wicth king and the 9 dark riders called the nazguls also show the effects similar to world war 2.

the way the whole scene which shows as sauron returns to once again bring middle earth to its darkness which is more alike world war 2 which is been born within the ashes of world war 1.
The movie lord of the rings directed by Peter Jackson, the world of tolkien has been brought back to life in a whole new way of bringing life to the environment and experience of the novel.

Tolkien's Hate of the Mechanical world

Tolkien was sent to war when the new age of mechanical weapons were introduced. Machine-guns, tanks and poison gas. He fought in the Battle of The Somme, which is where over a million people were killed. You can see his experiences shine through especially in the fight scenes in the films..

You can also see his anger towards the massive cities that churn out great products in quick succession, and that end up destroying the urban land because of the size of factories. This can be seen in the story when Saruman destroys a wide part of the forest to make way for his new army..


Even though the books are a fantasy to most people, it can be as a way in which Tolkien voiced his philosophical opinions to the world about life

Monday, 22 March 2010

Tolkien's evil orcs, or Hitlers Army?

Lord Of The Rings can be seen as a fantasy story about good and evil by the majority of us... However we are going to take a look into the deeper truths which can be interpreted. One thing i have found is the relationship between the film and World War 2. These are the reasons that i have come to this conclusion:

  • How all of the different races in the film join together to form a united front against the army of Sarumen.
  • Sarumen's position, very similar to Hitler
  • How Sarumen built his army up in Isengard, giving life to new creatures. This is similar to when Hitler brainwashed children because of their innocence, making them the perfect generation in his eyes, obeying his every command
  • The unity between the towns and races is very similar to that of the United Nations which was formed after World War 2

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


At its peak, the enlightenment movement was a philosophical movement of the 18th century which stressed reasoning over blind faith and obedience, thus in contrast with much of the religious and political order of the day, as well as encouraging scientific thinking at the same time. 

In Immanuel Kant's book 'Kant's critique of pure reason' he describes what the meaning of The Enlightenment is... 

'Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity, immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but it in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Supere Aude! (Dare to know). Have courage to use your own understanding!' 

Kant's critique of pure reason
Author:Theodor W. Tiedemann, Adorno 
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Date: 2001 

Monday, 15 February 2010

William Blake

Even though William Blake was a great poet, i am going to study his paintings.. He was pretty unknown during his life, but he now considered as having a leading role during the romantic age.

During this time not only did he pursue poetry and has been described as the greatest artist Britain has ever had,  but he was also a keen artist.. 

In the book 'Neoclassicism and Romanticism 1750 - 1850' there is a quotation from Mona Wilson's book 'The Life of William Blake'. The quotation describes how Blake was influenced before drawing these images.. 

William Blake's (1757-1827) Visionary Portraits

'William Blake, from earliest childhood, possessed the gift of spiritual vision. At the age of four, he saw the face of God pressed against the pane of his window, and after the death of his brother, Robert, he often conversed with his spirit and was instructed by him in a new method of relief etching. Blake's visions, like those of Messerschmidt, ere directly relevant to his art. His imagination presented to him the faces and figures of his ghostly visitors in the sharply contoured, strangely stylized forms in which he drew them. What other artists achieved through a conscious effort of arrangement and design, Blake recieved ready-made.'

Even though Blake rarely ventured away from his home, let alone London itself, it shows his use of imagination and emotion to create images as beautiful as these..  I found that his poems are not as Romantic compared to to other poets, yet he is seen as an influential individual who had a big part to play in the Romanticism movement.

Blake's work has a lot of religious information within it, obviously the image above is showing God creating the world. In Carol Rumens article named, 'The Romantic poets: The Human Image and The Divine Image by William Blake'. 

As a thinker, Blake was influenced by Emmanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish scientist, inventor, philosopher and theologian who was, perhaps, the supreme genius of contraries. Coincidentally (no doubt) 1757, the poet's birth-year, was the very year predicted by Swedenborg for Christ's Second Coming. He was another visionary, who claimed to have visited Heaven where he had met the souls of Jews, Muslims and pagans as well as Christians. Fundamental to his religious teaching was the belief that the love of God and one's neighbour mattered more than creed. He also claimed that everything in the natural world had a spiritual counterpart.


Neoclassicism and Romanticism 1750 - 1850 
Lorenz Eitner - Stanford University 
Prentice - Hall International, INC., London 

The Romantic poets: The human image, and the divine image by William Blake
Carol Rumens
The Guardian

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Auguste Rodin

Rodin was the most celebrated sculptor of the 19th century, he was the creator of a new form of sculpture. The work would be completed, but he used a variant Michaelangelo's unfinished figures.. Giving some pieces a waxy finish on parts and leaving other parts in its original state, or keeping some of the figure in the block it was made from.. 

His influence was through his expression of emotion and movement, how he used symbolism and distortion and how he took great care when modeling.  He was a product of the Romanticism movement and a forerunner for modern art.. 

The Thinker 

The Kiss

I feel that he is an important figure in the movement of Romanticism because he created new techniques for sculpting, also he used his imagination to create a world that exceeded reality and everyday existence. Thinking out side the box led to his work influencing and opening new doors for upcoming sculptors, instead of producing these mundane statues and sculptors seen before Rodin, they could now use their imaginations and emotions to let loose and realize their potential.. 


One of my most favourite artiest of all time is Turner. now understanding more about the Romanticism movement, i have noticed how Romantic turners painting were

The Shipwreck, William Turner, 1805 oil canvus

this is one of the many examples how Turner had put his emotions into his painting, in most of his painting Turner uses the sea, i believe the reason why is because sea itself can be connected with emotion from calm waves to a storm.

Rain, Steam, and Speed — The Great Western Railway
here is a great example of the strong brush strokes that turner uses to express his emotion, he uses bold colours stand out,

The Junction of the Thames and the Medway

this painting creates a dramatic effect to the viewer, the dark tones and shades used in this painting bring out a sense of mystery or the storm in coming or leaving

Turner shows his emotion in his paintings by the strong brush techniques and movement of the paint that can be seen in the painting, he also creates a sense of depth and tonality to capture his views into his paintings



Romanticism began really in the 1770's in both Germany and England, and by 1820's it had reached much of Europe..

Romanticism brought the end to the more classical forms, and influenced more emotional themes, it was a revolt against the Neoclassicism which brought such things as balance, order and idealization.. Before Romanticism all art forms were set in their ways in similar fashion..

Romanticism brought a new lease of life to artists, it gave them imagination, freedom and spontaneity... There were now no rules in how they produced their art.. It was a movement that encouraged people to be individuals, not like robots that the governments could control.. Nature, Individualism and emotions were the three key things that were encouraged..

Artists now were free to do things they had never done before.. Many romantic techniques were formed to give the viewer feelings towards work...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lecture 1: Getting started

So after todays lecture and a little group work, im still slightly fuzzy on what we are supposed to be doing... I know we have split the nine points up and given ourselves jobs to do... I hope tonight some research will give me a greater idea about whats going on


What is Romanticism?

Romanticism was a movement that started in the 1770's in German, France and England by a group called the Romantics, early Romantics had the intention of changing the world and society. Romanticism was one of the many branches that was born from the Age of Enlightenment period which has been said to have started by a small group that slowly grow in size an spread around the world but the Romanticism movement didn't have the same views of the Age of Enlightenment. when Enlightenment was at its full swing people had a strong belief in the law of science and logic of maths and everything was based on reason. The Romantics started rejecting the idea of the the Enlightenment and started focusing on colour, emotion, individuality and nature but the movement did not only inspire those with artistic skills but those with musical ,mainly opera, theatre and literature skills, as well they would show their emotion and imagination through their creative writing and skills. around this time. Romanticism was the voice of freedom, fears, hopes and tragedies in the 1770 onwards, and also inspired many others movements such as Nationalism, which inspired tragic events such as the French revolution, it also inspired leaders and political movements to throw away there cold logic of 'reason ofscience' to more of a focus improving every thing.