“Modern Times” is a silent black and white film, performed and directed by Charles Chaplin in 1936.
Movie shows especial effects as speed up in some shots, explosions, and reverse reproduction.
Film use deep backgrounds with moving objects, locations as streets and yards, and other places as restaurants, jail, offices and houses. Mise en scène is impressive when it comes to represent the fabric, you can appreciate tiny details in background like gear, levers and lines of production.
This silent movie show mostly non diegetic sound, background music that coincides with action and movement of the film. It also has a few scenes of Diegetic sound, for example when Chaplin is performing at the café. Here we can clearly hear diners talking, murmuring, laughing and cheering. We hear the music they are actually playing and the voice of Chaplin, who is actually singing.
Comedy and philosophy genders are an unusual combination in a same film. Chaplin’s philosophy is peaceful, he looks for fairness and avoid problems. He doesn’t support the new capitalist ideas, and modern stereotype. As a film director, he shows those qualities in the film “Modern Times”, a realist critic to the capitalism. Personally, I think Chaplin was wise when merging this genres; comedy and political discontent. Audience was captured by the comedy, by the “Charles Chaplin” character. Thanks to comedy, Chaplin gave the message to the audience he wanted. The main message of the film “Modern Time” is an anti-capitalist movement where modernity is shown as the chaos; the worker loses everything while government controls it. We can clearly observe the inequality, the abuse and the impositions established by the rich class in the film, first the business boss, then the police and finally the government.
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At the Beginning of the film, Charlie Chaplin implements one important Metaphor; the comparison between modern human with the domestic animals.
First we see a shot of stacking sheep been guided by something and then next we see a shot of modern human leaving some public transport station. Just like the sheep, humans are now part of a system. Domestic animals obey their masters, while modern human have to obey "The new system". The idea that Chaplin give us of this “modern” human is the loss of freedom, modern human accepts been part of a system in which the majority is abused and controlled by the minority.
This film has a scene that depict great differences between social classes. There's a moment of parallelism between reality and a dream. A moment in which Chaplin and his partner are happily lying on the grass, then they saw a typical modern married couple. The man leaving home and going to work, and the wife staying house. They first joke and parody the situation, but then they dream about it. They imagine them in a real house, with food, comfort and all facilities.
Times were hard, workers were low paid, they work in bad conditions, and were injured several times while working. In one scene Chaplin goes mentally crazy because of his work. In other scene he finds out that his ex-partners have to steal for leaving. Strikes and manifestation are common in this times. Every time a manifestation was started, policemen arrive in order to arrest the leaders. In my opinion, Chaplin represented all the innocent persons that, while expressing in a pacific way, were unfair arrested by the government.
My favorite scene occurs when, after leaving a mental hospital, Chaplin was walking and finds a flag in the street so he follows the owner with the flag in his hands. Chaplin give us the idea of being an innocent civil, but then policeman accused him for leading a manifestation of liberty and freedom.