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Comparison Of "A Clockwork Orange" And "Dog Day Afternoon": Left And Right Cycle Films.

1398 words - 6 pages

I want to explore the concept of "left cycle" films using the article entitled "The Left and Right Cycles" by Robert Ray. To help me explore what makes up a "left cycle" film, I will compare two movies, both "left cycle" according to Ray. Those movies are "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Clockwork Orange". What makes both of these movies "left cycle", and how to they differ within that classification?First, I think it is important to differentiate between the "left" and "right" movies. What Ray says to this is "the three factors that superficially divided them: the response to the frontier's closing, the characteristics of the hero, and willingness to acknowledge self-consciousness."As for the first mentioned of the three factors dividing the "left" and "right" films, the "left" view as Ray puts it "insisted that all frontiers, geographical and metaphorical, had disappeared, and with them, the basis for certain lifestyles, institutions, and values premised on the existence of unlimited space." In Dog Day Afternoon and Clockwork Orange, both films seem to be set in rather urban areas, which in itself gives off that atmospheric feeling of crowded space and limited time. But more importantly, both films show the economic depression within the cities they are set in. This I think goes against the optimism of the open expanse of the frontier and the promising future it represents.The disappearance of "all frontiers" that "left" films showcase gives a feeling of hopelessness within the lives of the characters in these films, and seems to be the catalyst and reason for their behavior. In Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny, a Vietnam vet, is living in New York City while a major economic depression is occurring. He decides to rob a bank, and as we learn especially through the scene where he is speaking to the media, he made this rash decision because of living in these circumstances that did not allow him to provide for the people he loved the way wanted to.Alex, from Clockwork Orange is in the first part of the movie horrifically violent. He beats people up, rapes and kills. When his ability to be violent is taken away though, we see how absolutely violent people are towards Alex. It made me wonder if Alex's violent behavior was a result of the world he grew up in, like it somehow made him the way he was. That world is shown to be the economically depressed England, a country that had been struggling since World War II. Here again we see how the lack of "all frontiers" in an economically depressed setting has a way of creating a character who, in response, would behave the way he does.Speaking of the characters of Sonny and Alex, it brings me to the second factor that separates "left" and "right" films, that being "the characteristics of the hero." Ray explains that the "left" films "used outlaws or outsiders to represent the counterculture's own image of itself as in flight from a repressive society."Sonny is an outlaw because he has decided to break the law by robbing...

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