Jim Jarmusch directed Ghost Dog (1999) and played around with different genres, which relates to our discussions of genre theory. He created this hybrid of the two genres, Italian American Gangster and African American Gangster, that are talked about in Chapter 2 of Understanding Film Theory.
Italian American Gangster
Semantics- mafia/mob, violence, Italian accents, gold chains/watches, white tanks, smoking cigars, guns, family ties
African American Gangster
Semantics- inner-city, rap, chains, violence, low-income, racism, guns, gangs
I am curious, what were the other genres (if any) that were also included in the film?
The two different types of gangsters in this film are meant to mirror each other. I believe this shows the changing of time. The Italian mob men, like Louis, represent the old, classic gangsters who are very old-fashioned. The African American gangsters represent the new image or identity of gangsters in the 90s. The changing of time was brought up many times throughout the film. Ghost Dog says to Louis, “Everything is changing around us”. Also, one of the Italian mob men mentioned that Ghost Dog killed like “the old way- like real fucking gangsters”. I just noticed a constant mention of the “old way” and “change”. I’m not sure what the exact message is of this, but Ghost Dog said towards the end of the movie that people should “stick with the ancient ways”.
Racism, Equality, Animals (birds, bears, dogs), Asian culture, Literature
One thing I never really understood the meaning of throughout the film was Louise watching cartoons. I understood towards the end that the cartoons mirrored what was going on in the movie, but I was wondering if there was another deeper meaning for this? Thoughts?