Preface

Scratch Cinema was established in May of 2019 by university students who share a love for films and want to gain experience towards professionally writing about them. I have been an editor for Scratch Cinema since July of 2019.

Some of my responsibilities as an editor include correcting any grammatical or spelling errors, reducing any redundant word choice, creating more sentence variety, and general fact-checking.

The following posts are a few of the film analyses that I’ve personally edited for the website. While they do not necessarily reflect my own opinions, they remain in compliance with Scratch Cinema’s administrative rules.

Truth to the Lie: The Children’s Hour

This film analysis was written by Nicole Sanacore for Scratch Cinema. Sanacore can be contacted at nicolesanacore@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

Maybe I love you the way they said I love you!” Martha Dobie, played by Shirley MacLaine, exclaims at the climax of The Children’s Hour. Released in 1961 and based on a 1934 play of the same name, The Children’s Hour follows Martha Dobie and Karen Wright (Audrey Hepburn) as their livelihoods and reputations are destroyed by a lie—that the two women, who run a small boarding school for girls, are actually lesbian lovers.

Martha and Karen have been friends since college, and while Karen is engaged to a doctor named Joe (James Garner), Martha has never had a serious romantic relationship. In fact, Martha seems resentful of Joe but tries to tolerate him for Karen’s sake. Her attitude toward him is not lost on Karen nor to her aunt Lily (Miriam Hopkins), who also teaches at the school. Martha fears Karen will abandon the school, thus abandoning her, if she marries Joe. 

The conversations between the two women about Joe and the school and the root of Martha’s fears of abandonment are, unbeknownst to them, being eavesdropped on by a troublemaking young student named Mary. Martha and Karen prohibit Mary (Karen Balkin) from attending a boat race with her classmates so Mary decides to pursue revenge for their supposedly unfair actions. She tells her grandmother only in a whisper, leaving the audience only to infer that Karen and Martha are in love with each other. Mary backs up her claim with the conversations she had overheard as well by blackmailing another student, Rosalie (Veronica Cartwright), into corroborating the story.

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The Everlasting Irony of Jurassic Park’s Legacy

This film analysis was written by Solomon Asher for Scratch Cinema. Asher can be contacted at solomonrasher@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

Jurassic Park is undeniably one of the biggest and most iconic franchises from the past thirty years. After earning billions of dollars worldwide, it becomes ironic that the film that started the franchise in 1993 contains an anti-capitalist message. Jurassic Park criticizes how capitalism views life—particularly through the lives of prehistoric creatures. Michael Crichton’s novel adaptation looks at the ways in which investors will cut corners to increase their paybacks, and how science is only seen as a means to gain more profit rather than as a complex and true explanation for the natural world.

Image result for jurassic park 1993 stills

In the world of Jurassic Park, dinosaurs are cloned using DNA from mosquitoes filled with their blood that was originally preserved in fossilised sap. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) hired scientists to use this DNA to clone dinosaurs, using frog DNA to fill in the gaps, so that he could create what is essentially a zoo with dinosaurs. The only people who seem to view the dinosaur clones as real and living creatures are the scientists—Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum)—whom Hammond has hired to receive an outside opinion and appease his lawyers. When they first see a dinosaur while arriving to the reservation, the three of them can’t believe their eyes. But Hammond’s lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero), instead thinks about how they are going to make a fortune off this scientific breakthrough instead. 

Later in the movie, Sattler, who works as a paleobotanist, observes that some of the plants on the island are poisonous to the dinosaurs, but they were picked because they looked aesthetically pleasing. She foreshadows that the dinosaurs will fight back violently because these plants create an unsafe environment for the dinosaurs. The unsafe environment could be seen as an allegory for the unsafe work environments of the proletariat. The dinosaurs defending themselves acts as a metaphor for the violent but necessary revolution which has to happen if workers want to lose their chains.

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The Love Witch: Turning Intimacy and Romance into Feminist Horror

This film analysis was written by Nicole Sanacore for Scratch Cinema. Sanacore can be contacted at nicolesanacore@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

In The Love Witch’s campy, technicolor universe, there’s little more to live for than love. At least, that’s what protagonist Elaine Parks claims in her many voice-overs to the audience throughout the course of the film. After being emotionally abused and taken for granted by her ex-husband, Jerry, Elaine sets out to find the love she believes she deserves⁠⁠—by any means necessary. Her dangerous obsession with love and equating sex to power leads her down a potion-soaked path of destruction. Once the audience looks past the dreamy aesthetic that director Anna Biller cultivated so well, the evil lurking beneath the surface of Elaine’s quest for love appears through the fog of bright pink tea rooms and glowing red burlesque clubs. The origins of this evil, however, are not as clear.

Elaine serves as a caricature of both patriarchal society’s “ideal woman” and the warped sex positive feminist. While she possesses all of the positive traits⁠—conventionally attractive, “knows her place,” shows enough vulnerability but is still confident⁠—she also possesses all of the negative traits⁠⁠—self-interested, manipulative, deceptive. This ideal woman is essentially an inauthentic and apathetic social chameleon, constantly changing herself to fit the needs and wants of the men around her while claiming that she’s empowered. She only keeps relationships if they can benefit her and ultimately help her reach her goal for finding idealized, over-romanticized “love.”

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Teen Spirit: A Muddled yet Pleasant Debut that Celebrates Escapism through Music

This film analysis was written by Kaiya Shunyata for Scratch Cinema. Shunyata can be contacted at kaiyashunyata@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

It’s almost impossible not to love a film that begins with its titular character listening to “Genesis” by Grimes.

Music is an important part of every teenager’s life, whether it be to drown out their surroundings or to act as an escape to a different world. Writer/director Max Minghella (whose acting credits include The Handmaid’s Tale and The Social Network) displays this with Teen Spirit: a coming of age film about a young girl who dreams of becoming a famous singer.  The film’s main character – Violet (Elle Fanning) – is a lonely highschooler who works as a waitress and uses music as an escape from her dismal surroundings and her strained relationship with her mother. What her mother doesn’t know is that after work, Violet frequently sneaks out to sing at a local pub. There – among a crowd of dismal elders – Violet meets Vladimir Brajkovic (Zlatko Burić) who believes her to have a real chance at becoming a singer. When an American Idol-esque singing competition rolls into town, Violet enlists Vlad to pretend to be her guardian while acting as her “manager.”

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Blinded by the Light: A Celebration of Dreams and What Inspires Us to Follow Them

Everyone needs a form of escapism, whether that involves music, film, art, or just about anything that gives us a break from reality. In Blinded by the Light, that relief comes from the music of Bruce Springsteen, which transforms the life of British-Pakistani teen Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) against the background of Thatcherite Britain.

Inspired by the memoir of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, the film sees Javed torn between his family and his ambition to become a writer after developing a deep connection with Springsteen’s music. Although the life of a world-famous American singer may seem far removed from Javed’s quiet life in Luton, the teenager deeply relates to Springsteen’s sentiments on wanting to break free from small-town claustrophobia and insularity. Between the rise of the xenophobic National Front, ever-increasing unemployment rates, and the high expectations his father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) has of him, Javed feels suffocated and dreams of a better life. The lyrics of Springsteen’s songs inspire him to work towards his writing career, but this creates a rift between him and his family who are struggling financially.

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Fast Color: A Poignant Superhero-Drama That Demands to be Seen

This film analysis was written by Kaiya Shunyata for Scratch Cinema. Shunyata can be contacted at kaiyashunyata@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

Some may argue a directors biggest feat is getting a strong performance out of their actors, and Julia Hart is no stranger to overcoming that obstacle. Hart’s directorial debut, Miss Stevens (2016) came and went without much notice, but there is no doubt that while portraying the protagonist – Lily Rabe delivered the performance of her career. You may not have seen or even heard of Julia Hart’s sophomore feature, Fast Color – as the film fell victim to faulty distribution and got swallowed up by the presence of late spring blockbusters. Co-written alongside her partner Jordan Horowitz, Hart developed a small-scale superhero origin story that nevertheless, demands to be seen.

The film takes place in the not-so-distant future, in the American Midwest, where a prolonged drought has turned society fraught. With water now being used as a kind of currency, all that seems to be left in this dystopia is dust, roadside bars, and the wide openness of the Midwest. We are first introduced to our protagonist – Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – as she escapes an abandoned warehouse and flees into the night. Later it is revealed that Ruth is a recovering addict, who happens to have debilitating sieziures that are so powerful she can create devastating destruction. She walks along the dirt roads -alone – sometimes stopping for a meal here or there. In one of the sparsely populated diners, she meets a man who offers to drive her to her destination, and in a brilliant scene radiating with tension, it is revealed that government workers are tracking her – hoping to understand her powers and use them to put the world back together again. This sets off a series of events which leads Ruth to seek out her estranged mother – Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) – and daughter – Lila (Saniyya Sidney).

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