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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays-Week 7-Cabaret!

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EVERYTHING is that.

 

Indeed it is.

 

But back to your post, I still can't buy that. If that's the case ("Life's short, have fun"*) then she should embody that, which I don't think she does. And if she did, I don't think she's that now (There you go. She's changed ;) )

 

She goes through the motions of being a party girl, but all I get from her is sadness. The idea of a cabaret, as defined by the emcee in "Wilkommen:"

 

So life is disappointing, forget it!

In here, life is beautiful

...

And now presenting the cabaret girls!

Each and every one a virgin

 

In other words, "Life is terrible. Why not escape your troubles by immersing yourself in willful fantasy?" If this is what "Cabaret" is, as defined by our omniscient Emcee, then we need to apply that definition to her closing number. In which case she's saying, "I'd rather escape into fantasy than accept reality."

 

*I couldn't really listen to your song. I'm basing its meaning exclusively on the title.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QS1l1mSDSo

 

 

I just watched the song again and I may be wrong, or at least, maybe not entirely right.

 

Just curious, what does everyone else see during this scene? What is it saying? About her. About anything. This is the movie's thesis, after all. What are we taking away from this song?

 

(Without trying to sway people's opinion one way or another, I would note her expression just before she goes on and how quickly she puts on a happy facade.)

 

My revised hypothesis is that we can pretend that life is whatever we want it to be, but that doesn't necessarily make it so. Whether or not Sally is aware of this or not is up for debate. I think she does, but is trying desperately to cling on to that fantasy for as long as she can.

She's absolutely saying that the cabaret is a place where you can ignore the outside world. Come! Have fun! Drink, do drugs, and die happy like Elsie! Ignore what's happening in the world!

 

And of course, this is completely undercut by the growing antisemitism we've seen in the club - especially the gorilla wedding, which was very upsetting to me, to borrow Jun'es word - and makes the final shot of the Nazis infiltrating the club hit harder. The cabaret is supposed to be a safe place for her to retreat, but the world is pushing itself in.

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Re: the last song, Cabaret, I think Liza belts it out too well! I think the message comes through better when it's sung the way Natasha Richardson does. The lyrics are happy (except for the part about the corpse), but her voice breaks a little bit where she can't keep the despair in check.

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Re: the last song, Cabaret, I think Liza belts it out too well! I think the message comes through better when it's sung the way Natasha Richardson does. The lyrics are happy (except for the part about the corpse), but her voice breaks a little bit where she can't keep the despair in check.

 

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Godammit, Cam Bert! I know you're out there. I need to know what you thought of Cabaret and if your mother thought Max and his creepy blond mustache was hot or not!

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Godammit, Cam Bert! I know you're out there. I need to know what you thought of Cabaret and if your mother thought Max and his creepy blond mustache was hot or not!

 

He's about 2.5 stars on the 5 star TN scale.

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He's about 2.5 stars on the 5 star TN scale.

 

That's fine, but I still need to get Mrs. Bert's official ranking.

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That's fine, but I still need to get Mrs. Bert's official ranking.

 

Oh for sure. Making predictions on her official score.

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As far as Brian's sexuality goes, I definitely interpreted him as bisexual, something on the asexual scale, or just generally intimidated/uninterested by sex in his pre-German life. Perhaps this is just my own personal bias, since I have been approached by girls like Sally in the past and my reaction has always been, "errrr, wanna read some John Milton poetry from a safe distance?"

 

The wrong three girls, indeed, Mr. Roberts.

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As far as Brian's sexuality is concerned, I interpreted him as being gay. While everyone is making some great arguments for "bi" or "a" sexuality, what seals it for me is how it plays as a metaphor for Europe during that period of time. Brian represents England (or Europe as a whole) burying it's head in the sand and ignoring what was going on in Germany. If he ignores it, then he doesn't have to confront it (i.e. go to war).

 

Max, on the other hand, represents the harsh reality. Life would be a whole lot easier (or a cabaret, if you will...) for him if he wasn't gay, but he has accepted that this is his reality and he is standing in his truth. This is what makes Brian such a brave character. No matter what the consequences, what the hardships, he is going to face this thing head on and won't allow himself to ignore it or run from it any longer.

 

The reason Sally and he split is because you can't ignore a problem and face a problem at the same time.

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Let's Talk Fritz: I find him yet another fascinating allegory for Weimar society at the time. His whole life is a lie, his whole agenda is being, in the film's language, a gigolo and duping women out of money so he can live days full of food, sex, and song. Through this duplicity, he is held up as the modicum of success by his bohemian brethren, yet it is clear he is especially unhappy, a state of being only revealed when he actually finds a woman whom he cares about, one whom he cannot be with because she shares a common background with him: their identity as Jews. However, because he has been keeping his jewishness a secret, he must first reveal that hidden part of himself in order to be with her, that part he has been keeping hidden in order to appear happy must be revealed so he can actually be happy. Germany had been keeping the underlying antisemitism of its society, the Jewish population itself, out of sight out of mind. It was under the delusion that Hitler and the Nazis would "calm down" once the riotous chaos that led up to the Nazis taking power and settled, but nobody calmed down. The Jewish population, which was kept out of sight and out of mind by Germany until antisemitic forces chose to exploit them as scapegoats for Germany's ills, would pay the price for these shared delusions.

 

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ALSO, this movie OPENS with a visual reference to a painting by Otto Dix, my favorite Degenerate Artist (as the Nazis called them). I prefer his WWI-inspired work which is almost apocalyptic in its bleakness, but just the fact that the film as a blatent visual tribute to his work gets my nerdy mojo working.

 

Portrait of Sylvia Von Harden

Otto_Dix_Sy_von_Harden.jpg

 

From the film:

cabaret-opening-scene-detail.jpg

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I apologize for my tardiness. March is end of the school year/start of the school year here so not so much down time and wastefully I used my free time tonight to get caught up on HDTGM movies (when your time comes, I will destroy you Lake House!)

 

My Mom's review will have to wait a few days until I talk to her next. Considering my father was bearded as was Ted Neeley I don't think she'll have a problem with the mustache but the blondness is a wild card.

 

I'm trying to think if I have anything new to add that hasn't already been said. I will say I did greatly enjoy the movie but I do have issues with it. The thing that annoyed me most is a pet peeve I have with a kind of trope movies set in the past and that is when characters speak from a modern perspective. Classic example is in The Patriot when Heath Ledger sits down with the black slave and gives a speech about how one day he dreams black people and white people will live in harmony and their children will play together. Not saying that a person in that time couldn't think that, but it does seem more coming from a modern perceptive than being true to the people of the time. In this movie Brian more than a few times expresses his distrust and doomsaying when it comes to the Nazi party. Now again I'm sure there were people in Germany at the time that had similar feelings and did voice them, however every time he said something it was too direct or took away from the indirect nature of it. For example, the scene with the young boy singing. You slowly get hints of him being part of the Hitler Youth and all the people except the one old man join in. It is a fantastic scene and really subtly sells the message. Then you have Brian come in and say "You think you can still control them?" to Hans but you don't need that. It just feels forced on to the end to be like "Did you get the message?" As CakeBug mentioned before there are so many little scenes through out that show events and the rise of the Nazi party so effectively that you don't need the voice of reason from the future saying "Nazi are bad" or "They could have been stopped." Ultimately did any of Brian's protest to the rise of the Nazis lead anywhere? No. He doesn't leave because of it. He's not driven from the country. Rather, as Cameron said the whole movie is about characters in denial about their true nature and it is the realization of this that causes him to leave. If anything you could argue that the country as a character is in denial about the rise and ways of the Nazi Party but nothing Brian says adds anything more to that message than what the film was doing already.

 

As for the issue of Brian and his sexuality it's a tricky issue because I feel that sexuality is more of a fluid thing than a definable thing. I don't think people should have to choose a label for their sexuality. That said, I think that the character is gay or would identify that way upon his return to England (though he wouldn't be allowed to at the time) but that doesn't nullify his feelings for Sally. I think the Max thing explains this as it is a metaphor for him accepting his sexuality. You have Max tempting Brian with the cigarette case and then the sweaters. Brian refuses these gifts, however we eventually see him give in an accept. We can assume this also around the time that they too started sleeping together. His refusal of the gifts was him denying his feelings. We see he wants to accept these gifts, embrace his sexuality, the way Sally so freely has.

 

Like mentioned before I too believe this film is all about denying the truth of who and what we are, that's why I think I side on the side of Sally's finale song being a sad embrace of her denial. I think this is clearly stated by the MC who after he song basically says "See, haven't you forgotten your problems. I knew you would." Which sells the message that the cabaret is a place where people go and hide from their true selves. It's only when the people realize who they are that they leave. Brian accepts his sexuality and goes back to England. Max accepts his Jewish heritage and gets married and moves on. However, Sally while aware of who she is, would rather try to forget it and go back to living in denial and thus goes back to singing in the cabaret.

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Speaking of Max,

 

That's very well noted! Well done indeed! Although, slight correction, I think his name is Fritz. Max is the baron.

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That's very well noted! Well done indeed! Although, slight correction, I think his name is Fritz. Max is the baron.

Duurrrr. You are right. Thank you for the correction. I got my wires crossed.

 

giphy.gif

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Some WWI and WWI-veteran Otto Dix work...

I think this is a fascinating topic of how an artist's work changes pre and post war. Numerous artists whether it be film makers, painters, authors, etc. who went to war definitely brought back some of that pain and trauma with them and it's fascinating to be to see the changes it has on their work.

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Liza%2BMinnelli%2BOscar%2Bwinner%2Bin%2BCabaret%2B1972.gif

 

Did anyone else like Sally's nail polish color? Wiki says:

 

Sally Bowles is based on Jean Ross, a woman Isherwood knew during the years he lived in Berlin between the World Wars (1929—1933). Isherwood took the last name "Bowles" from Paul Bowles, whom he had met in Berlin in 1931. Explaining his choice, he wrote, " liked the sound of it and also the looks of its owner".[1] He describes Sally by writing:

I noticed that her finger-nails were painted emerald green, a colour unfortunately chosen, for it called attention to her hands, which were much stained by cigarette smoking and as dirty as a little girl's. She was dark....Her face was long and thin, powdered dead white. She had very large brown eyes which should have been darker, to match her hair and the pencil she used for her eyebrows.

 

It appears the stage actresses also wear green polish.

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Duurrrr. You are right. Thank you for the correction. I got my wires crossed.

 

giphy.gif

 

It's ok, I knew what you meant.

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I think this is a fascinating topic of how an artist's work changes pre and post war. Numerous artists whether it be film makers, painters, authors, etc. who went to war definitely brought back some of that pain and trauma with them and it's fascinating to be to see the changes it has on their work.

Just to clarify, Dix did all of his work after WWI. His art is a reflection on his experiences during the war, which he saw as a monstrous waste on resources and lives (as you can tell from his art). So it was all the more striking that his art of veterans and the wounded depicted men so deformed because of such a wasteful, despicable war. Germany at the time, LIKE THE CHARACTERS IN THE MOVIE (layers, man), was under the delusion that WWI was this heroic expedition. Hell, the conservatives and Nazis even called WWI veterans the "Heroes of 1914" and considered Germany's defeat the result of Jewish and Communist traitors. No wonder Dix was called degenerate by the likes of the Nazis.

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Duurrrr. You are right. Thank you for the correction. I got my wires crossed.

 

giphy.gif

 

I honestly wasn't trying to be pedantic. It was obvious who you were talking about. I'm sorry if it came off that way.

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I honestly wasn't trying to be pedantic. It was obvious who you were talking about. I'm sorry if it came off that way.

No, no, you did not come off that way at all! I am a stickler for FACTS so I appreciate you looking out for me :D

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No, no, you did not come off that way at all! I am a stickler for FACTS so I appreciate you looking out for me :D/>

 

FACT: You're awesome. :)

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