On the Margins

Zodiac: On the Margins

How does this film show how some individuals and groups can be both centered and also marginalized socially and culturally? In particular, how do the law enforcement and media figures in the film demonstrate how wielding significant social power may or may not mean that someone is centered in other contexts? Is there a character or characters who are particularly shown to be caught in this tension?

On the other side of the story, how does the film show how marginalization (of people, of places) creates space for someone like "the Zodiac" to practice their violent compulsions and exercise power over others from those margins?


First three films

What are your thoughts on our first three films (The Perez Family, Children of Men and Goodfellas)? Had you seen any of these films before? Which did you enjoy watching the most? Which do you think was the most interesting in terms of critical discussion of mise-en-scène? What about in regards to the theme of "On The Margins"?


Goodfellas: On the Margins

How do you see the central characters in Goodfellas as being marginalized in ways that may be both similar to and different than the main characters in The Perez Family and Children of Men? How do these characters demonstrate the central idea that "marginality" may always be a question of perspective (how someone sees themself and their place in the world) and context (who you and where you are)? For example, is it possible for someone to be centered in the world of organized crime, but marginalized in "normal" society? Are there particular scenes from Goodfellas that demonstrate these kinds of differences?


Topics for M 10/21

Here are some topics for our discussion of Goodfellas on M. Feel free to start the conversation in comments or to suggest additional points for discussion.

  • The characters as demonstrations of marginality and marginalization as contingent and relative depending on context and the kinds of relationships someone has with other people.
  • The use of sound in the movie and how it affects our interpretation of m-e-s, especially the voiceovers and music choices.
  • The use of freeze frames.
  • The camera as a "character" in the film.
  • Violence as part of m-e-s.
  • M-e-s and "the life."