Crash

Here’s a cogently argued critique of the conservative bias that seems to permeate the film.
Also posted (as a comment) are excerpts from UNH-Manchester students’ quality reflections on the film.

6 thoughts on “Crash”

  1. I feel that the movie Crash explores the racial tensions in Los Angeles. This movie concentrates on Los Angeles but there is racial issues all over the US. Los Angeles is where there is a lot of ethnic groups and the only place that they come together is when their cars collide. In any real city people brush past each other, bump into one another, maybe that we miss this touch so much that we feel that we have to crash into each other. I feel that in this movie their are no heros, only flawed and confused people looking out for their own. Racial slurs are hurled as if everyone has lost even the thinnest veneer of civilty and tact. Some people may cringe as the movie taps into the kind of offensive images that surreptitiously seep into the brains of even the most open-minded. From this the point is simple, no one is immune. We need to take this movie and learn from it for things are changing every year. We need to be respectful to our peers and live life to our fullest and not to someones elses.

  2. Chantel: Crash used an interesting technique and allowed us to see inside the misrepresentations of the misrepresented. (African American, Asian, Prussian, Caucasian, Hispanic, etc)…. Crash did a really great job of derailing the usual representations of certain races and genders, and certain genders of races.
    Adam: a paradox. Of course Saundra Bullocks feelings are racist. She could have just as easily been carjacked by a white person, but due to the fact that her feelings were validated, she later has a racist flipout at the locksmith being hispanic. Also, how can Ludacris complain about being a victim of racism, then go rob a white couple (he later says he doesnt steal from black people)? I guessthats what makes the scene so ironic. So what comes first? Does the reaction trigger the carjacking? Or does the upcoming carjacking trigger the reaction?
    Caitlyn: one review on the movie that said you dont have to think about race until you “crash” into it. its not real til it happens, and this movie represented it in a realistic way.
    Kathryn: Race is discussed blatantly and consistently, almost, (in my opinion), to a narcotizing extent in Crash. It is interesting to observe differences in representations of race from different social classes and ethnicities, however “overdone” they may be. Crash presents an affluent white couple (male and female), upper-class black couple (male and female), working-class Asians and a Middle-Eastern family, as well as male black “ruffians” and black and white police officers. Gender is more subtly addressed, particularly in horrific scenes such as the sexual assault of a female by a police officer. Through essentializing representations of race and gender, power is examined.
    Chris: I am questioning why I started off liking some characters, only to end up disliking them, and vice-versa. I keep reviewing the black director, for instance. He went through an amazing transformation in the 24-hour time period that was the film….Surprised by my reaction, I preferred the meek man we encountered when first pulled over, rather than the militant man the last time. I have to ask myself, “Is that a matter of preferring that personality, or is preferring that personality in a particular race?” Although I lean toward the former, I am affected by the film’s bringing this to question. … what the film was; a chance for the viewer to take a critical look at their own prejudices in race and gender, while pointing out how accepting some may be of their own representations. The film offers the opportunity for the viewer to see that a person isn’t a depiction of the preconceived views of a race and/or gender. Individual traits exist within each race or gender. By glimpsing the similarities we may share (family obligations and love, work and responsibilities, own prejudices even though we may ourselves be a minority), we can see we are not just “skin, bone, and hair,” as Stuart Hall would say. As we are a mixed culture in America, we are constantly “crashing” into each other. We’d do well to examine our preconceived notions so we can soften the collision.
    Rachel – race and gender are represented in a way to make people think.
    Kirk – The general message of the film is that these prejudices do not form truths about the races and genders.
    KV: The movie does a great job on pointing out all the problems that we have with differences. It showed how people are essentialized to the basic make up and how people are targeted because of the differences.
    Amanda: When Ludacris was ranting and raving about how wrong it was for Sandra Bulldock to grab Brenden Frasier’s arm, I somewhat felt ashamed, I asked myself would I ever feel that way? Would even the thought that because someone was of a different color, I would stereotype? You can be robbed by anyone! Not just someone that is black or hispanic! There are a ton of white people in the world that are B-A-D!!! Then the scene progressed to him actually jacking the car which totally threw me off!
    Jen: In Crash, the messages people are sending to each other are very deep rooted, long held biases, that all seem to reflect something in their lives they have experienced to make them feel this way.
    Allison: It is an amazing movie, done very well and is kind of upsetting but it does make you think alot about your own feelings and stereotypes, im happy we watched it.
    Genevieve: the audience is thrown into a dryer set on tumble to try to figure out which way is up: of which characters do we approve of their actions or philosophies and root for them to succeed, which characters are the enemies and do we wish to be smited with Hollywood justice, and how do we feel about the character types and philosophies being presented by the filmmakers&emdash; are they truthful, insulting, relevant? If we try to decide too soon, we end up missing many good points of social commentary offered up by the filmmakers because, in our chosen and closed mindset, we can see only what is relevant to that point and canalizes/reaffirms what we have chosen to believe.

  3. I just had to watch the movie Crash again after our brief class discussion on the film. There is just so much going on and an equal amount to consider when applying personal ideals to such a compelling film as this. I found it difficult to remove myself (emotionally) from the very vivid depictions of prejudice and bigotry portrayed within the film; likely an appropriate reflection of the on-going situation in our world today. It was challenging to look at the film from a critical perspective or from the director’s standpoint in order to grasp the entire message or all of the ideas that were intended.
    Do films like this serve a purpose other than generating discomfort and anxiety within the audience? I understand that there is a distinct message here that causes me to think about what really goes on in the world, but is this just a case of narcotizing dysfunction? Indeed, I am disturbed about the present state of affairs within our culture on the level of race and ethnic relations, but will this film cause me to do anything about it? On a micro level, I guess I will start to look at the world a little differently and respond in the promotion of equality and fairness in my own perceptions and actions toward others. I am more aware of the situations that exist in our communities. It is not just a black and white thing. It affects all people from all backgrounds. But on a macro level I doubt that I will be inspired by this film or any other to get involved in community efforts to abolish racism within our society. I feel awkward right now having said that! I DO feel that this type of racially motivated hatred is wrong on so many levels and “someone oughta do something about it!” But the sad truth is I like many others feel there is not much that I can do alone…so why even bother. Though, I would have to venture, in all optimism, that my “little” part, by identifying the need for change in my own thoughts and behaviors is a small step toward real change within our world.
    Alan

  4. I’m wondering about making connections across and between films – through comparison and contrast of content but moreso through discussing our interpretations of respective film’s messsage(s). For instance, taking Alan’s comment about the director’s intended message reminded me of what co-director Cathy Schulman said when accepting the Oscar: the film is “about love and about tolerance, about truth.”
    http://www.zap2it.com/movies/news/zap-oscars-acceptancespeeches,0,1307827.story
    What did they hope to accomplish? What did they want their movie “to do” in the world? What effect(s) did they hope it would have?
    I have similar thoughts and questions about the movie V for Vendetta, the production and release of which seems (to me) very well-timed with current events. How many times have you witnessed a public mass demonstration in which the police and military “STOOD DOWN” and none of the participants (presumable all citizens?) rioted?

  5. I was impressed by the way each character was presented. Paul Haggis, has created a devastating movie about ordinary people-like us (the only difference is that they actually say what they thinking.
    The movie is intricately constructed, going back and forth between the characters and back and forth in time..
    The characters keep surprising themselves and each other, for better and for worse, and they surprise us, too.
    The best part about the movie is that each character is both a symbol and an individual. As a whole, the cast is “neatly aligned along a continuum of prejudice”, and yet each character is complete and complex and real. Just when I thought I knew who they are, they surprise me. I find myself sympathetic to those I thought I hated and disturbed by those I thought I understood.
    “The film also has much more of an appeal to conscientious filmgoers rather than the mass public.”
    Haggis uses the common views of society and he sometimes plays tricks on the viewers perception, “making you realize how twisted some of the media’s propaganda can be (on issues like discrimination)” (US weekly). . It’s a biting commentary on many of our mindsets during everyday encounters, and how much bias there can be due to our instant, often times inaccurate judgment

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