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The Grapes of Wrath (1940) portrays a negative way of life. The film focuses on the impact the Great Depression had on families — specifically on the Joad family. There was a constant fear of losing jobs, money and land. The film causes the audience to feel sympathy for the Joad’s; Tom Joad just got out of prison and was on parole, both the grandfather and grandmother passed. There was also always the fear of not having enough money for food; for example when Pa Joad tries to buy a loaf of bread for 10 cents while on the way to California, because that was all he could spend. The actual price of the loaf being 15; the cook being charitable sold it for the 10 they had. The Joad family is a close-knit group, that rely on each other; and even after taking hit after hit, they still bring a feeling of optimism. The low lighting throughout the film allows the audience to convey strong feelings, it sets a certain mood whether it be us feeling like something is about to happen such as Tom getting caught after breaking parole, or even just using the low lighting to focus on one specific character during a monologue. The backgrounds throughout the film really show the poor state of the economy during during that time. The black and white cinematography provides us with a quality that allows us to really feel for the characters in the film, and to get a sense of how they feel. The Depression-era being the time-period portrayed in this film, expresses how much people had to go through. We can see how much the poor suffered. I think this film had a dismissive view of immigrants. They were not respected and were taken advantage of, such as being offered below average wages. Others acted superior and didn’t care if immigrants had enough money for food or not. I think that even today, immigrants are treated this exact way. No one really helps immigrants because they think they’re above them in many ways. I think that the Joad family showed courage and faith that they would get through it, especially with Ma Joad’s last monologue saying “we’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out. They can’t lick us. And we’ll go on forever…” This ends the film on a hopeful note.

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Days of Heaven (1978) also expresses a negative portrayal of life, but there is more of a positive undertone, such as the scenes with characters playing music, laughing and dancing. They all look carefree. As mentioned in the lecture, this film showed the characters focusing on the present rather than the future. They didn’t see themselves having a future because of how unfairly they were treated. Linda narrating the film, says “they don’t need you, they could always get someone else,” meaning workers could be easily replaceable. In the beginning we see Abby, Bill and others working for the Farmer; getting paid such a little amount. Afterward Bill comes up with a scheme to get rich, it shows that the sort of ‘heaven’ is ruined by greed and selfishness. The cinematography created a sense of mystery, having wide-angle shots of nature and crowds of people working. The setting of the film further signifies the agricultural recession; decrease of crop prices and farm incomes.