Art and Entertainment, Utopia
The movie, Funny Face, is an enjoyable, entertaining and certainly a classic in cinema. Amidst the theatrical surface, it makes as fine material for criticism. Richard Dyer highlights this very well using the concept of ‘utopia’ in entertainment. It left a mark in the way I looked—and observed—the film from the general and critical merits. The central figures play a part in this. On one side you have Joe Stockton, an admirer of philosophy and book worm and the other in Dick Avery, who is a photographer and represents the side of entertainment. Watching the movie reinforced the notion through the numbers—the little escapades of the theatre. From the wonderful dancing, catchy songs and overall tug of war, the numbers performed by Joe, Avery and the rest of the cast were in what Dyer would point out to be contradictions—between entertainment and art. In the case of the movie, these contradictions are seen and most notably in many forms—some appear direct and some indirect. The number, “Clap Yo Hands” played during the infiltration of the ‘emphaticalist’ lecture house was one such form that resonate a direct sense of opposing—perhaps persuading--an atmosphere to change tone. From the dim, gray, contemplative mood to the upbeat and entertaining force that enters the room itself, art became a stage where entertainment could escape and simply enter into the frame—all in the process of a dance number. A notice of these numbers and one can see an implied tug of war between the subtlety of artistic pursuits (the purpose of Joe) and entertainment overtones (the purpose of Dick and his cohorts). The numbers become signs in themselves, seemingly because of the theatrical non-representative elements in the dance form—in the beat, rhythm and music selection. These little details construct a ‘meaning’ for the audience and influence it as well—a happier finds its value in entertainment, which overrides the feeling of the dreary. It was certainly...
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