The main purpose of the critical analysis is outlining the key features of the A Raisin in the Sun due to the following areas of the analysis: storytelling, acting, cinematography, editing, sound, style and directing, societal impact, genre, film criticism and analysis.
Storytelling. First of all it is important to play additional attention to the background of this film. Initially, A Raisin in the Sun is a play, which has been written by Lorraine Hansberry. The title of this play is borrowed from poem "Harlem", which is also known as “A Dream Deferred" (written by Langston Hughes). It is dedicated to experience of the black family, which was living in the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood.
Another important aspect of the background of A Raisin in the Sun that there are four films, which have been screened according to the plot of this play: in 1961 - directed by Daniel Petrie, in 1973 there was a musical Raisin – written by Robert Nemiroff and in 1989 it was adapted into a TV movie and directed by Bill Duke and finally in 2008 Kenny Leon has directed the TV film A Raisin in the Sun (Ihejirika 2).
This paper would be dedicated to the analysis of the first version by Daniel Petrie -1961. The plot of the film is based on the family relations within the black family, which is living in the Chicago's South Side. The main problem for solving in this family is allocating 10 thousand USD which were left after the death of Lena's husband (insurance payment). There are different variants of spending and investment this money and some contradictions occur inside of the family.
It is possible to say that the film is dedicated to outlining of such aspect of family life as planning of the family budget and allocating sources in the most effective way. The supervisor was tending to show that every member of this family is tending to apply this money for his own needs, but not for the common good. All the propositions sounded like the variants for the common goal achievement - improving the life level of the family, but in the reality the situation has developed in the opposite way. Another problem, which was inherent to many families of 1960-s and also to the nowadays families is that planning of giving a birth for a child is often based on the income level of the family. In other words, money make a decision instead of humans in this case.
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One more idea, which has been outlined in this film, is that people still believe that in spite of the material problems it is possible to survive and to achieve the main goals of the family life while being optimistic, goal-seeking and while having a strong family values and support.
The problem of black people and the discrimination issues are also represented in the movie. In order to develop the topic, considering the discrimination in A Raisin in the Sun, I would like to rely to the race and gender differences and interrelation between these two notions. It is important to outline the background of each notion. Usually, race is considered as the classification of humans due to the factors of appearance, which are based on heritable phenotypical characteristics or geographic ancestry. In nowadays social science, gender is considered as the social sex - behavior of individual in some social conditions. Also, this notion is applied in the case of the sexual inequality discussion (Burr 46).
It is possible to say that race and gender are interrelated notions and at the same time, additional attention in the social life development has been paid to the gender issuers and in A Raisin in the Sun in particular.
While investigating the problem of gender in the light of discussed movie, it is important to make an emphasis on the fact that there is a significant three-scale difference between women in color and white women: while females are encapsulated in the domestic sphere, economic subordination and also in the class, which they belong to and women of color are not. it is possible to see this three scale difference on the example of the family, should in the movie. From the other hand, there is an integrating movement in the nowadays social life (which has started in the second part of the 20-th century) - feminism, where all these three factors are investigated in the light of both white women and women of color and the main aim of the movement is reaching of female independence, universal rights, applied both for men and women and also the possibility of being the active participant of the social life.
While discussing the problem of racism, it is possible to say that the racial discrimination in many well-developed countries and in US in particular is inherent to all the fields of human life and activities: education, job searching, health care, cultural, lending and even in occupying some positions in governmental structures. It makes a negative impact not only on the social life, but there are also different restrictions for those representatives of minority, who are willing to participate in economical life of the country and to become being the entrepreneurs.
Investigation of the racism problems is carried out and different experiences, concerning that issue are outlined in order to discuss some barriers and obstacles. Racism awareness, in turn, is tending to achieving understanding of the process and operation of racism and finally the antiracism information is investigated in order to achieve the legal compliance, enhance social justice and finally to raisin specific performance levels.
Also, after watching A Raisin in the Sun, I, as the individual, living in the 21-st century, have made a conclusion for myself that the cross-cultural interrelation in the multinational social group should take in consideration all aspects of the human behavior and should remind the experience of the previous generations in the racism, gender issues and other types of discrimination and their outcomes.
It is important to make an emphasis on the fact that the 1960-s are the beginning of the managing the discrimination issues in US. The term "affirmative action" has been issued in US for the first time in the Executive Order 10925. This order, in turn, has been signed by John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961. The key task of the order implied the practical implementation of the measures, directed to the non-discrimination achievement.
The main purpose of the affirmative action is the promotion of the equal opportunity (which is widely discussed in the movie). Its practical implementation is presented in the governmental and educational establishments and it is directed to the ensuring of the fact that the minority groups are included into all available social programs and that their rights are protected.
In the light of the justification of the affirmative action, its core purpose is assistance in compensation of the discrimination, exploitation or persecution, which have taken their place in the past by the ruling class of a culture. One more important aim, is addressing the discrimination, which currently exists.
While taking in account quotas, it is possible to say that they have not been legal in US in the early 1960-s , and that issue, in turn, implied the following factors: there was no legal possibility of limiting the number of the representatives of each race in the educational establishments, in the companies or in other entities. It is obvious that the practical implementation of this regulation has not been such strict and the regulation in whole because there were other valuable reasons for not hiring the representatives of the black family or of other minority groups or providing them with an equal rights with other citizens of the country. The stage director has met the needs and views of the current society and has represented the core problems o the minority groups in US in the movie (Das Gupta 67).
While taking in account the fact that the black families are the representatives of the African American race, they are indigenous communities. Martínez Cobo considered as the indigenous communities, (and African Americans in particular) as peoples and nations as those people, who have inhabited in the certain territory before the invasion; have the historical continuity in that place and consider themselves and the separated groups or societies from those, which are currently prevailing in those territories, or parts of them (Cobo 5).
In US, the problem of indigenous peoples has got its historical background and it was caused by multinational social structure of the United States society. Some sociologists call US as the ‘Melting pot’- the country, which has got multinational society from the very beginning of its existence. In A Raisin in the Sun,, the problem of the African Americans in considered in the light of the social life and opportunities for the life level development and improvement.
Additional issue, shown in the movie is the women’s movement issue. The background of this problem may be defined as the social movement, which is directed to implementing the radical changes it the social life. The reform movement may be directed to the global changes in the social life and also it may cover particular areas of human relations. While taking in consideration the women’s movement, it is obvious that the key aim of this reform was protecting the women’s rights. The women’s rights, in turn, may be defined as freedoms, which are claimed by women and girls of different ages and social groups. Such movement has taken its place in the beginning of the 20-st century in US and in other countries. The key purpose of the women’s movement has been the achievement of the women’s rights support by the jurisdiction, by the local customs and by the behavior of the local population.
Acting. In 1961 version of the A Raisin in the Sun Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, John Fiedler were starring. Generally, it is possible to make an emphasis on the negative feature of acting- too much of theatre manner in acting, which is not inherent to the cinema.
Genre. A Raisin in the Sun is a realist drama, which represents the human spirit and shows the real life of the ordinary working class Americans. This genre is a key advantage of this movie in comparison with those ones, which are dedicated to the entertainment of the wealthy people, who own luxurious cars, villas and have an expensive entertainment every day. In this movie the representatives of the working class Americans can see themselves- with their dreams’ and intensions, concerning purchasing a new house, going to medical school or investing some money into a promising business project.
From the theoretical approach, the realist drama is associated with such film genre, which is dependent on the dealing with the emotional themes of the realistic characters. Such dramatic themes which are represented in the A Raisin in the Sun violence against women, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, class divisions, poverty etc out the main heroes in the conflict situation with their own inner world.
Cinematography. Movie A Raisin in the Sun is adapted from the play of the same name and it has not got significant changes in its plot. In other words it is possible to say that the film replicates the stage performance and it is completely impossible to distinguish it from the original play.
Some critics consider that there is a lack of tools, provided by the rich possibilities of the cinema. As an example, the vast majority of the movie (approximately 95% of the total time) takes place in apartments of the family and it is possible to consider such approach towards screening as the stage performance one – that is a weak point of the cinema. There is a minimal adaptation of the play to the cinema.
Editing. While taking in consideration the quality of actors’ work, it is possible to say the following: the style of acting is a theatre one - when the actors need to seem bigger than in a real life, because they are located closely to their audience. That issue was taken as a basic rule while screening this play, but in the cinema production, another sort of requirements exist: actors need to show the lifelike picture and the main difference of the cinema from the theatre for actors is that they have to restrain themselves in their movements and actions - only in such case it is possible to create lifelike picture. In A Raisin In the Sun movie it is possible to consider Poitier's work as the most extreme one- he seems to act like in theatre in while starring in this picture (Rich 7).
There are two variants of A Raisin in the Sun – in the theatrical aspect ratio 1.85:1 and also in full screen version. This review considers only widescreen edition. It is possible to say that there are some flaws in A Raisin in the Sun, but generally its quality is acceptable for a 50-years film. The sharpness is also acceptable.
Talking about the quality of the print -from time to time it is possible to see some mild grain and also some minor speckling. The shadow details and the black levels are acceptable during the whole picture. Generally, the quality image of the A Raisin in the Sun is its strong point, while taking in consideration the age of this movie (Jacobson 58).
Sound. The film sound is a monaural audio. Its quality is relatively strong – it is clear and crisp and it meets all the requirements of its time and nature. All the dialogues seem to be natural and warm and their quality is even better than in other films of such vintage. Talking about music and effects, applied in this movie, it is possible to say that they sound not in the forefront of the mix, but at the same time they seem to be adequate for the material. Generally the sound of the film meets all requirements of its time and nature.
Film Criticism and Analysis. Generally, it is possible to say that A Raisin in the Sun is dedicated to the everyday problems of a black family in 1960-s. From the other hand, the needs and values of the family may be also applied for the working class white American family. This picture is topical nowadays because the core needs of people are still the same- willing to live in comfortable apartments, tending to get the education and the financial aspect in the family creation and planning- that all is still on the agenda for many families all over the world.
It is possible to conclude that the social impact of the film is high because of the main theme, outlined in the picture. To the strongest points of the film it is possible to consider the main theme, which is the burning issue for many families. Also it is important to make an emphasis that the working class people were included into the picture plot as the main heroes and this aspect has differed the film form another nowadays movies, which collect the glamour approaches to the life and forget about the traditional family values of humanity.
After watching this film, person realises that his or her problems are the traditional ones for hundreds and thousands of other families and after watching the movies about the high class social life, people understand that they do not belong to such class and that they won’t have an opportunity to live such way as the main hero does. That, in turn, leads to the depression and misunderstanding with own inner world.
The weak point of the A Raisin in the Sun is its theatrical roots. Some critics even consider this film as the photographed play.
To my personal opinion, A Raisin in the Sun may be considered as the classic of the US movie, related to the issues of the racial discrimination, gender inequality family relations, inherent to the 1960-s.
Such movie may be considered as the visual instruction for the future generations and its topicality is still inherent to the current social problems.
After watching such movie, my personal; attitude towards family problems and values changed radically. For instance, the problem of the family planning in many cases still depends on the welfare of the couple, when giving a birth for a child is the problematic issue due to the fact of the material sources lack. To my opinion, it is not acceptable issue but it still exists in our society and it even does not depend on the race issues.
I have chosen this movie to be discussed because it represents the core problems of the social and family life, but not the dull-witted relations between young people, the plastic smiles and the artificial values.
Finally, while taking in account all the theories and the core values of the basic philosophical theories (relativism, egoism, natural law, virtue ethics, deontological, utilitarianism and social contract theory), related to the ethics of human relations, it is obvious that all of them imply the friendly collaboration between the representatives of different social groups and at the same time, there are different aspects of such collaboration - some of them are directed for the common goal achievement, because they are oriented on the individual approach towards the goal achievement and finally, there is a theory which implies achievement of the total happiness for all the representatives of the group. At the same time, the integrative feature, common for all the theories implies the collaboration, but not the discrimination of the minority groups (Glenn 55).
The film has shown such approach and integrated all the theories of the human relations and collaboration and that is why is the masterpiece of the psychological approach towards man relations, represented in the form of the movie. Even while taking in account some technical disadvantages, the core idea has been represented on the high level.
To conclude I would like to say that such notions as race and gender and their investigation is an urgent question for the current society because there are still many cases when people are not provided with an opportunity to achieve the desired aims because of their sex or race and such issue causes cross-cultural conflicts and leads to the social instability