Modern Times

One of the recurring themes in the movie Modern Times is the notion of the perfect home. Around 30 minutes into the movie we are introduced to a type of home, his prison cell. He’s shown as “happy in his comfortable cell”. The first ‘home’ doesn’t appear again later on in the film even though he goes back to prison several times because he meets the gamin and the ideal of a home replaces the comfort of a home.

42 minutes into the film we see this overacted scene of husband and wife that the tramp imitates in jest, but then they take it seriously. They imagine this fantasized scene of the gamin and tramp living the high life in a quaint little house with their own cow and orange trees in the backyard for fresh milk and oranges. This scene is succeeded by the department store fantasy. As they visit the toy section first we are constantly questioning whether they are adults or children. The way they imagine this ideal of a home and reenact it in the department store and in the dilapidated house they find soon after the department store scene is like a child-like act of husband and wife.

The three scenes of the fantasized home, the department store and the dilapidated building are accompanied with dreamy happy music that is repeated at the end of the film when they’re walking away into the distance.

The juxtaposition of the fantasized scene to the house that the gamin finds highlights the difference between reality and dreams and further emphasizes this notion of children acting out

After escaping the police they are shown walking towards the audience on a road before they take a stop by a house. This scene is reminiscent of the last scene, but in the last scene they are shown walking away from us. Living the nomad lifestyle.

{ 11/27/2012    4 Assignment 7   

2 responses to “Modern Times”

  1. Ye Won says:

    I think it is an interesting perspective to relate home into this film. The notion of home works with the moving path of him. Also, it is ironic that he doesn’t have his real home but he has move out from the homes he wanted. I think you can work with how homes are changed and contradict the bright and dark sides of them. For example, in the department scene, it is so fantasized and a perfect home but nothing in there belongs to them. I think dreamy happy music that you mentioned may work as sarcasm of their reality, having nowhere to go.

  2. Tim says:

    The idea of this film as the search for the perfect home is an interesting one, though I disagree slightly. I saw the characters as compensating for not having a home by making the best of situations, however since they were always trying to better themselves (despite failing miraculously) i never believed that they were that comfortable with their lives

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