Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Watch: Video Analysis Of ‘The Master'



A week or so ago we linked to a video essay by Darren Foley who linked "Punch-Drunk Love," "There Will Be Blood" and "The Master" together as a thematic 'trilogy.' You may also recognize his video essay from a few years back that compared Barry Egan to Superman and his latest is a detailed dissection of "The Master" which you can watch above. While some of the influences may be strictly coincidental, the video definitely raises some interesting connections which should give those that were perplexed by the film plenty more to ponder. Thoughts?

"The Master" is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.    
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14 comments:

  1. I disagree with his ending analysis. I don't think Freddie's grown much at all. He always had the ability to get with women, from beginning to end, but always ends up alone, back with the sand woman, or longing for what he'll never obtain; Dorris. In fact, I can't even imagine Freddie actually being able to maintain a relationship with Dorris if he had the chance.

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    1. I agree with your interpretation. The Master is a film about two men, two sick men (one also corporally consumed by life), apparently at the extreme ends of the human spectrum, in practice both pervaded by the same instincts. Their casual meeting won` t change anything of their own deep nature: the woman at the end of the film is not the symbol of Freddies´s desirable redemption, but rather the incarnation of the sand woman he fingers in the intro of the film. For the rest of his life all woman will be like the sand one for this incurable, compassionate man.

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  2. The Master is about Freddie searching for a master, and becoming his own master. He's finally in control of his urges and interpersonal skills in the end, having left Lancaster Dodd's cult and The Cause behind him and moving on with his life.

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  3. Agree with the previous opinion. By the end of the film, Freddie has become his own master and it's clear that in some way shape of form, The Cause or at least the relationship he developed with Dodd has helped improve his interpersonal skills. Rather than fingering the sand woman as he does at the start of the film, his lying down next to her with his arm wrapped over her shows a more intimate, less impulsive form of behavior.

    This can also be demonstrated by the way he asks the girl at the bar, "Would you like to have a drink with me?" instead of flat-out asking, "Do you want to fuck?" as he does when he first joins the Cause.

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    1. I absolutely love this interpretation. This film DOES IN FACT have a story to tell and things to think about. Thanks.

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    2. And when he's in bed with her, she's on top of him and it's very gentle, as opposed to his violent male-superior sex with the sand woman. He can joke with her and there is definitely some progress in this able-bodied seaman (semen) who is now able to return, at least partway, to the womb, also symbolized by the shots of the ocean at those aforementioned significant points in the development of his character.

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  4. Darren Foley is a fan and that's nice. His observations seem very shallow, just listing the most obvious clues and then failing to add them up into a whole idea.

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  5. I love that Winn Manchester so perfectly echoes Lynn, Massachusetts, where Freddie knew Doris.

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    1. Thanks for this insight. This is an additional meaning to what I got from this.

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    2. I saw Winne Manchester as a grown up Doris. Freddie now has some measure of peace.

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  6. I think this guys analysis is spot on. Spot on. The Punch Drunk Love analysis was particularly flawless. The stories Paul chooses to tell are lavish in depth of story, hidden meanings, symbolism etc. Plus, until recently, Paul has at times taken years to release a new film therefore I have no doubt he has plenty of time on his hands to think of all these unique ways to let his stories play out.

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  7. One more theme that fascinates me: 'Blood' opens with a shot of the land; of huge mounds of earth and rock. The whole film is steeped in the element of the ground, and throughout it are shots of Land with a capital L. 'The Master' opens on an image of the sea which, as Foley points out, is a central element of the film. Finally, although 'Love' doesn't open on a shot of it, the sky is, in a very real sense, Barry's destination and goal, and ties in very well with the Superman theme.

    Plainview's business is with the land throughout his story, and is first seen toiling in darkness under the earth. Quell is, as we well know, an able-bodied sea-man and Egan, by the end of his story, is at last ready to join his woman in taking frequently to the heavens.

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