All posts by Samuel Abramsky

The Hunting Ground.

Astounding. I really thought the documentary intrigued the audience (in an odd way) in the beginning. It was a compelling topic that needs to be addressed in this country. For me, the worst thing I saw was the statistic: 20% of undergraduate females are sexually assaulted. That’s not okay. And the fact that institutions refuse to collect and report these incidences in their annual reports to ensure a positive reputation is disgusting. What’s worse is these women go to counselors that refute their claims, change the subject, and figure out what SHE did wrong. I heard things like, “Maybe he was stressed” and “What did you do to provoke it? What were you wearing?” How can these institutions allow this to happen?! The narrative structure of the documentary was pretty basic; but was great in filling up time with personal interviews that all connected to the horrible instances of sexual assault and rape on campus. I just hope something is done about this, and soon.

The House I Live In: Drugs and Escape

In this documentary, I loved the layout. I loved how the documentary talked about the drugs and the impacts it has on so many families first. Then, the documentary discussed the survival aspect of selling drugs. The idea that it isn’t for moral pleasure but for pure survival in a world that doesn’t hire ex criminals. The documentary continues to talk about the youth and how they are constantly being sucked into the whole drug dealing world at such a young age that they don’t know anything else. The interviews with affected victims were very powerful towards the end in that they carried the effect of drugs on their facial expressions. I could feel their pain through the screen. Lastly, I enjoyed the ending. The whole topic of the man who was sentenced to life in jail on probation for smuggling small amounts of drugs. I think it’s ridiculous that his mom had to go through everything she went through with her son and dead daughter. The ending really paved the way for the possible future of drugs and laws against drugs.

Miss Representation Documentary

After watching the documentary, I didn’t want to immediately write a blog. I wanted the message of the documentary to sit with me as I searched for evidence of such things in my every day life at Lafayette. As I do agree with the majority of what the documentary says, I have to question some of the statistics. I cannot quite remember them but there were a few that seemed to be over exaggerated. There was a stat about like 1 in 4 women are physically abused in a relationship. I don’t see that as a real representation. Since I’m in a statistics class, there’s something called Response Bias (where someone responds falsely to prove the point of the survey) and I think that’s what happened there. Overall, though, I liked the courage of the women in the documentary and how it was filmed. The only thing I wish the documentary talked more about was how women impact the economy. They stimulate advertisements and how Americans spend their money. They play such big roles in films and attract (some) men to watch their movies. They really impact the flow of money in this country and I think that’s sold short (see what I did there?).

Persepolis: Character Progression

After watching this film, I managed to grasp onto the simplest form of character progression in a movie. Although the movie was animated, I felt that after watching the simplest of parts, character progression is hard yet easy to notice at the same time. When you can visibly see a difference in the character’s appearance or tone of voice, it is evident that they have aged. When you hear character’s change of opinion due to maturity, it’s easy to notice how they’ve grown through experience and learning. If you take those two elements out of the equation, it is harder to notice. I think it is important to look for ways the character has changed (not physically or through narration) but through dialogue and interactions with other characters. It isn’t direct but it could be important to look for. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something else in your search.


One thing that caught my attention was the dimensionality of the movie. The movie started off with multiple relationships. There were the familial relationships between the sisters and their parents, the more intimately designed relationships, and basic friendships between people. Also, there were multiple main “sites” that were involved in the movie. I just enjoyed tracking the different relationships being formed as if they were all their own separate movie. The twists and turns between all the different relationships gave the movie a sense of “dimensionality” that isn’t found too often. In addition, I was always intrigued to hear all the opinions about these relationships as every character seemed to want to state their stance on “who loved who” or “who would marry who” and why or why not it was right to them.

Clothing and Hairstyles in JFK

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “What kind of kid writes about the clothing and hairstyles within a movie?” Well, I’m about to. I thought the movie, in its whole, was a fantastic movie. It was slow at times but remained captivating and mysterious. After every turn, things got either clearer or more confusing. There was one thing throughout the film that really caught my attention: the way the actors presented themselves. I thought the articles of clothing were specifically picked to match the styles of clothing worn in 1963. The styles are so old fashioned and are extremely different than the clothing worn in 1991, the year of the film’s release. In addition to the clothing, the hairstyles used were very intricate in order to match those from 1963. The mixture of the clothing and hairstyles almost gave the film a realistic edge. The production crew could have easily slacked off and lazily put together a poor wardrobe and a provided a nonchalant attitude towards the hairstyles. Instead, they made the movie, to me, significantly more realistic and really inserted it into the actual time period of the assassinations.

Color and Music in The Battle of Algiers

This post is mainly concerned with the color and music in the movie the Battle of Algiers. First off, I want to pose a question: What effect does the black and white have on the movie in general? Does it add to the emotional experience? Does it add drama? I believe that the two colors (black and white) do something very interesting: it doesn’t cause distraction. In some movies, the mix of colors can be distracting to the scenes. I think the fact that this movie is only black and white makes the audience really focus in on what is happening. Second, I want to comment on the music in the movie. I think the music was my favorite aspect throughout the entire movie. There were several scenes where the music added an element, like suspense. In a movie where there are limited things occurring, suspense really gave the movie a “kick” it needed.

Spike Lee’s Film

I have to admit, I got tired of the film about 10 minutes in. I thought it was going to be just like any other movie: the plot continues for 30 minutes then the big climax happens and the rest of the film is directed towards treating the wound created at that climax. As I waited for the big moment, I realized this movie was more concerned with the daily lives of the neighborhood. The film wasn’t only concerned with the lives of these people, but the peace that they lived in. There was no significant violence, just a little bit of verbal arguing. I loved the presence of Sal’s pizzeria because, at least for the majority of the film, whites and blacks could live together. Anyway, back to my point. About an hour or so into the movie, that’s when the climax occurred. I was shocked to realize that the film concluded pretty abruptly. There was no healing or revenge. It was life. I think the movie was a “day in the life.” There was no time to get revenge or bereave over the death of a member of the community. Spike Lee depicted the life of blacks in the neighborhood and left the audience with questions: “What do we do? How do we fix this? Is this somewhat my fault for being so naive? Ignorant? Passive?” Nicely done, Spike.

Camera Work within Children Of Men

Before the movie began, I decided to take detailed notes on the cinematography and camera work done within the movie. I wanted to compare the camera work in different scenes. This is what I came away with. Between the action scenes, dialogue, and traveling scenes, the camera work was different. In the dialogue scenes, the camera work was mostly comprised of cuts because they are the easiest and fastest way to transition. In the traveling scenes, the camera work mainly comprised of pans and tilts to demonstrate distance traveled. In addition, pans and tilts show the environments in which the characters travel. On the other hand, in the action-filled scenes, the director decided to use both techniques. He used pans specifically in the rebel vs. military battle to show the horrific views of the battlefield. The cuts were used to demonstrate the personal struggles of both sides. To conclude, I want to add my two favorite shots throughout the film. My first favorite occurred in the abandoned school where Theo and the old lady were talking. The camera angle revealed the pregnant woman through a small hole in the glass window demonstrating the fact that even in the background, she’s the glimmer of hope for humanity. My other favorite shot was the last in the film. It was the shot that included Theo’s dead body and the arriving ship. My note: “In this frame, where there is life, there is death.”