All posts by Samantha Pastron

The Candidate (1972)

Michael Ritchie’s film The Candidate (1972), stars Robert Redford as lawyer unwillingly running for the Democratic seat in the Senate for California. He is not nearly as suave or stable in front of large crowds nor is he as cool and calm under pressure as his opposing candidate. He is giving a speech in a local mall when the microphone begins to whine. The low subtle whine gradually turns into a high pitched squeal. The tension created by this sound is almost palpable. I thought it was interesting that the role sound plays in this film is so strong and adds a lot to the moments.

Ritchie took shots of Redford’s character, McKay giving campaign speeches and doing interviews, giving the film the same vibe and characteristics as a political documentary. This combined with the dramatic portrayal of  how electoral campaigns pander to the media was a shockingly realistic portrayal on the realities of electoral campaigns.

Not much has changed today since the ’70s. Candidates keep their speeches vague and broad to appeal to a larger span of voters and tailor their campaign to what the media wants.

I found this film interesting because it is not a documentary yet the style is similar to that of a political documentary and it has very realistic qualities and reflects realistic events in politics from the past and present.


Laura Poitras’s documentary, Citizenfour, had such a strong effect on me. It made me anxious and really nervous. The story was so compelling and I really enjoyed watching this significant event unfold as Poitras continued with the film. I thought it was very interesting how the film maker was never shown in the film. It almost seemed as though Glenn Greenwald was running the documentary (which he was not). Poitras captured the story of Edward Snowden and the story of the reporter and how he unfolded this story and shared it with the public.

Los Angeles Film Festival

The Los Angeles Film Festival just announced the 2015 line up.

I thought it was interesting to see what films are being showed and the variety of types of films being showed.


Media and Learning

Media is a valuable resource that allows people to access information on a topic in an instant. It has created an entire new genre of research that I have been taught to use since I began elementary school.

With this new technology comes a lot of negative sideeffects including lack of activity amongst young children, loss of connection during in person interactions, rude behavior and many more social issues.

While media and the internet have many pros and cons, it is necessary that we continue to evolve with technology and learned how to use it to its full advantages whilst being aware of the negative social effects it has on people.

The Hunting Groung

0ne thing that really stood out to me was the victims interviewed were all well educated girls decorated with many honors and rewards for their academic success. For some reason this stood out to me. Any thoughts on why this was?

Tribeca Film Festival: Leah Wolchok

This is an article of the New York Times about the Tribeca Film Festival. I thought it would be a good article for our class to read because not only is it a very interesting film (about the cartoon artists of the New York Times and the creation process) but it was created by a female film maker, Leah Wolchok

Charles Ferguson

Unlike many documentaries we have seen, the director was not learning about an event or crisis but proving the dirty realities of an event. Ferguson is so knowledgeable about the 2008 financial crisis that in is film, “Inside Job” he was able to show the CEOs as the villains they really are and not take any of their bullshit answers. I found it very interesting how the camera would zoom on the face of a personal being interviewed whenever Ferguson asked a hard question. It seemed it was in anticipation of the person getting flustered and surprised by Ferguson’s hard questions and in depth knowledge on the subjects which he discussed.

Inside Job

Charles Ferguson’s documentary, “Inside Job” has several distinctions from the other documentaries we have seen in class. There was a Hollywood feel to the film, especially when the credits rolled by with popular music playing and moving clips of the New York City skyline fade in and out. Ferguson also had Matt Damon, a wildly famous actor, to narrate this film. For the first half of the film whenever Matt Damon would talk I was racking my brain trying to figure out why his voice sounded so familiar.

I also found it very interesting how strongly the class responded to this film. The discussion got very heated and a number of people I have never heard speak before were raising their hands multiple times. There was a wide  range of opinions on the film and people took some aspects very personally.

It was important for people to keep in mind that this film was not about Wall Street it was about the financial crisis of 2008 that occurred on Wall Street. Why would Ferguson interview businesses and CEOs that do not have any part in  the corruption that led to the crisis. People got very heated on the point that they felt the film was criticizing all of Wall Street when in fact it was not. It was bringing to light the reality of the corruption that lead to  the 2008 financial crisis.

Super Bowl Doritos Commercial

above is the Super Bowl Doritos commercial discussed in class early today. This was a low budget commercial ($20) which greatly contrasts the 3+ million dollar commercials the Super Bowl is known for previewing. It also comments on our discussion about youtube and advertisements. If you watch the video you’ll see advertisements popping up all over the page.

Cinematography “The House I Live In”

A distinction between Jarecki’s numerous interviews is the location at which they were filmed. Obviously the inmates were interviewed in the prisons but even the security guard, inmate family members, and other non professional speakers on the topic were interviewed in public places familiar to that person. Perhaps Jarecki interviewed them in their ‘natural habitats’ to make them more comfortable speaking to him about personal experiences and political topics.

Those who were the professionals in the study of the war on drugs were all interviewed with a white backdrop behind them, with nose room, and specialized lighting. This gave them a more reformed and official feel.