Francis Copolla Case
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The Godfather, directed by Francis Copolla is a 1970s movie based on the life of the Corleone family, whom are a part of the Sicilian-American crime families of New York. Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather is the leader of his family and is highly respected amongst his community. Michael Corleone, Vitos youngest son is the only member of the family whom doesnt want to be involved in the family business. Due to the fact that his brothers and father are his blood, Michael does technically belong to the family business of crime, although he doesnt want to, branching out of this league to be a soldier as shown at the start of the movie.
Later throughout the movie Michael begins to take interest in the family business. He was originally the protagonist in the film, although his antagonist features begin to shine through. As he becomes further involved, Michael begins to get praised for his work he has put in by his older brothers, hence gaining a sense of belonging to the family and building a further connection to them, gaining acceptance, support and respect. As Michaels character grows, his sense of belonging increases. He now has a higher level of belonging within the community, as he takes of over his fathers role of being Don of the family, the leader. While expanding his depth of belonging to his family business, Michael starts to lose his sense of belonging to his wife and children, as his business takes over his personal life and changes his characteristics. Belonging to the crime business, Michael becomes arrogant, rude, hot-headed and abusive towards his wife. This shows how ones sense of belonging can change over time and how belonging to one group could restrict you from belonging to another. Also how belonging can change ones personality and who they are. In this film audiences see the benefits of belonging: support, acceptance, stability etc. We also see the costs of belonging: danger, risks and violence (when belonging to this specific kind of group being a gang)
One may be able to achieve belonging to many groups at once. They have the qualities and characteristics suited to each group. These groups may be extremely different, hence showing the extent of ones ability to belong to 2 completely different groups, being two different people at the same time. This concept is portrayed in the character of Michael by the use of montage during the famous baptism scene. As Connie and Carlos son is baptized, the film cuts to images showing the murders of the heads of the five Mafia families, murders that Michael has ordered.
The use of montage implies that the murders and the baptism occur simultaneously, and the juxtaposition of the calm, peaceful, and religious church ceremony and the frantic, violent murders gives each unexpected new meaning. Michael is a key person in both events. He is becoming godfather to his nephew and he was the one who organized the murders that are occurring at the same time.
Therefore he is simultaneously belongs to 2 completely different groups and events. One being the holly ceremony of his nephews baptism with his family and the other being the evil murder of his enemies by his gang members. Michaels duplicity, his ability to lie, and his ruthlessness are all highlighted by this dramatic sequence of images. Reinforcing that belonging to two groups can reveal a double personality in a person.
This is evident when the priest is asking Michael if he renounce Satan and all his works and Michael answers I do, as the scene switches between the murders and the church scene, building irony.
The duality highlighted by this particular montage captures the nature of Michaels new life. Hence demonstrating the effects belonging can have on a person, changing their life, personality and who they are as a person.
Belonging has its costs. When belonging to a group one could be in danger and their life may be at risk. This idea is presented in the scene were a member from an enemy family attempt to murder Michael. The scene is set in his bedroom where he and wife Kay are preparing to go to sleep. It is a quiet night and the window is open, curtain flowing against the wind.
A shot of a fluttering curtain, a sign of the outer world invading the private space of the home, often anticipates an eruption of violence. The wind blowing through the window symbolizes that an event bout to occur, as the background music starts to emerge and get louder in volume, the tension in the dramatic tension in the scene. This immediately leads to a barrage of bullets raining down upon Michael and Kay
Through the use of sound effects and the symbolism of a window, this scene conveys that there are many consequences to belonging. Belonging to a well known gang and being the leader can put ones life at greater risk.
In some groups only one gender can belong ie. A group for only men or women. In The Godfather audiences are introduced to group who doesnt belong: the women. All of the family members who are involved in the business are men. Its the men who deal, murder and have control over everything. The women are excluded form all business matters although are forced to deal with consequences, like the danger involved, as read in the scene mentioned above where Kays life is also at risk because of her husband Michaels status in society.
In the Godfather this symbol is used via the symbol of a door. Doors separate one room from another, and they divide the home between the male domain of business and the female realm of family. Whenever men have business to discuss, they close the door to the study and shut the women out. This concept is evident in the final scene of the first Godfather film. In this scene after Michael has lied to his wife Kay about murdering his own sisters husband, Carlo, Kay leaves the rooming seeming convinced of her husbands innocence.
As soon as she leaves, other elders and associates of the Corleone family enter the room and greet Michael as Don Corleone, kissing his hand. The scenes end with Kay staring at Michael with the other men and one of them walking towards the door and closing it, so she cant see or hear what is to be discussed. Hence the door in this scene symbolizes the separation of women form men and the exclusion of women from having knowledge of anything related to the family business.
Therefore reinforcing that their may be a gender exclusion when belonging to a specific group, in this case the women dont belong.
The novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is based on the life of two afghan women, Mariam and Laila. Both were born and raised in Afghanistan, except