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Pantomime
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This paper is about pantomime, about it"s origin, it"s people, how it has evolved, and how wonderful it is. Pantomime is a dramatic performance in which a story is told or a theme developed through expressive bodily or facial movement. The origin of pantomime can be traced back to classical farce and the Italian Commedia Dell"arte. Not all pantomime is silent. The completely silent performance of pantomime was invented in Rome. Pantomime is sometimes used to worship. Mime is a short way of saying pantomime and also means someone who performs pantomime. A mime, if performing on the streets, will...
heart that lights up like a neon sign when he sees a pretty girl, another could drive a really small sportscar, or one may wear a trick costume which enables him to change from an old lady to a midget, and back again. One clown may run away from a stuffed tiger that is attached to him by a thin wire.

As you can probably see, pantomime has changed over the years and there have been ups and downs during the change. There were also some performers who saved, or played a big part in the history of pantomime.

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Thesis: Luc Besson is one of...Thesis: Luc Besson is one of the best French Directors of this century. His works can either be viewed as mere action packed thrillers or the viewer can go in depth and question society and morality. Besson wishes to make the viewer question the importance of individualism, the role of each individual in society and whether the individual should follow the norms of society or follow his heart. Besson's humor, sense of pathos and his reflections on life deserve credit. Besson draws on his own life in some movies. Besson lacks presence of family and religion and in his movies the protagonist has to sacrifice one love so as to attain another, which he feels to be of greater importance to his life. Introduction Luc Besson was born in Paris on March 18, 1959, and spent most of his childhood living in the idyllic settings of various Mediterranean hideaways between Yugoslavia and Greece where his parents worked as diving instructors. A tragic diving accident when seventeen, put an end to his dreams of a career in marine biology and he diverted his interest to films and directing. He dropped out of school and moved to Hollywood at the age of nineteen where he spent three years working on and learning about American films. There was a time when he used to watch a dozen films a week so as to understand filmmaking. Considered the French equivalent of Steven Spielberg, Besson is popular for creating fast"“paced stylish and hugely budgeted films. What are noticeable in Besson's movies are the visual style, humor, pathos, and sense of direction, reflections on life and declination of modern society. Susan Hayward, 1998 The Movies Luc Besson's movies can all be viewed not just as movies but movies with a meaning. One of his major themes in all his movies is social existentialism - the decline of society and morality. The protagonist develops his own sense of morality and what is right and wrong in relation to their decline in society as a whole. What are noticeable in his movies are the absence of family and the demise of the community, which he brings out with great sophistication. His childhood spent near the sea and his passion for it and diving also had a profound effect even on his work as can be seen from his movie "“ The Big Blue. It is also worth noting that religion plays no major or obvious part in the proceeding of the movie with the sole exception being "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" which although religiously oriented in real life, finds Besson concentrating on the action and adventure and the society and morality of those times. The difference between the story of a young girl who claims to have been visited by specific saints and one who is transfixed by thrashing winds, rushing clouds and a wolf pack on the hunt is the difference between the real life Joan of Arc and the fictitious marionette of this film. Ronald F. Maxwell, 1999 Besson's films represent the conflicts and tensions of a post-modern age and are perceived as signs of their time. Besson made his first film in 1980, a short black and white film entitled, "L'avant-dernier". The film won a number of prizes encouraging Besson to remake it as his first long film "“ "Le dernier combat". This too was a huge success. "Subway" starring Christopher Lambert was his next venture. The story is about a thief on the run who becomes involved in the interesting but weird sub "“ culture of Parisians living in the city's underground. The drama is set entirely within the Paris Metro and examines the lives and morality of the punks and fringe "“ dwellers living there. The film received 13 Cesar nominations and became known as a cult classic. Even greater success followed with Besson's next film in 1988, "The Big Blue". Besson's passion for marine life and the sea is evident in this movie and directing this movie gave him a chance to revisit his happy childhood. The film about Jacques Mayol and his personal interaction with the diver influenced the film greatly. The film had astonishing commercial success in Europe but failed miserably in America due to poor last minute editing, changing of the ending and a change in sound track. Besson's biggest hit came with " La Femme Nikita", in 1990, a lightening paced story of a troubled woman who is trained to become a sophisticated, deadly government assassin. Besson"s "La Femme Nikita" spawned a new form of thriller-the neo-noir action film-an influence that still reverberates throughout world cinema. Next, in 1994, came "Léon" also called "The Professional". The film is about a young girl who befriends a professional hitman so as to avenge her family's murder. The movie contained graphic images of carnage and death. Besson's next movie "“ "The Fifth Element" was a huge success with the masses and soon acquired a cult following. It is a tongue "“ in "“ cheek science fiction based on a story that Besson wrote as a teenager. "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" is his latest release and did not perform well and marked Besson's first commercial failure. The analyzing of Besson's movies separately, throws light on Besson's ideas and views showing great similarities in all his movies even if the basic theme of the movies are different from each other. The nature of the characters, their relation to each other, their development as a result of the society they live in and the extremity of society are important aspects of all his movies. He attempts to take us below the surface of society in most cases both literally and metaphysically to view society from a whole new angle. The principal characters in most of Besson's movies have at least one thing in common "“ they are all loners and outcasts from society. They do not conform to the norms and regulations of society. At the same time, the societies portrayed are extreme and probably not to be found on earth. They are invariably societies on the decline that has conflicting principles and ideologies with those of the protagonist. The worlds explored are dark and uncertain places where conventional views of right and wrong are challenged. The principal characters are the only ones to show any real "integrity" although they have their own sense of morality, which the viewer may not always be able to accept or agree with. Luc Besson makes interesting but challenging observations on life, morality and personal development. The characters are all results of this extreme society and therefore extreme and intense in their own way. The extremities in his movies actually help in providing greater clarity to Besson's ideas. Susan Hayward, 1998 Subway "Subway takes us into the underground system in Paris. Fred is a small time thief who steals some important documents from a gangster. The gangster, his wife "“ Héléna and some henchmen follow Fred into the metro. Fred finds a new way of life in the underground where there are no laws to conform to and are free to do what they please in an attempt to survive and yet have maintained a sense of integrity. The gangsters on the other hand, conform on the exterior to the norms of society and yet lack all morality. They are shallow and superficial and lacking in character. Their only goal is to make money, however deceitful or unscrupulous the methods may be. Héléna falls for Fred as she finds him a refreshing change from her husband and his friends. Although amoral, Fred has a sense of honesty, sensitivity and understanding. He acts on impulse, doing what he wishes, and yet fully aware of the consequences of his actions. He is an independent entity having a free spirit, just like all the other residents in the Underground "“ refusing to be crushed by society's laws and expectations. His ambition is to form a rock group and the armed robbery and money made is a means to this end. Luc Besson has used quotes at the start of the film: "To be is to do" "“ Socrates "To do is to be" "“ Sartre "Do be do be do" "“ Sinatra. Stuart Fernie, 2002 These quotes are essential in understanding the point that Besson wishes to make through this movie. Man does what he feels he must do and not what is required of him by society. Society may impose laws but his nature and emotions control man more than these laws do. This conflict between civilization and man's nature is one of the key themes of the film. Fred is not the perfect protagonist but is more attractive than his opponents as he is innocent, direct and acts on what is in his heart. It is a modern play on existentialism, in which the nature and very existence of morality is called into question and each character exercises an influence on the lives and fates of the others. The Big Blue Although distinctly different from "Subway", Besson once again takes us below the surface of society in more sense than one. The movie is gentler and different from his other movies because it is based on the true-life story of Jacques Moyal. Yet, it is stranger than his other movies, maybe because the viewer knows it to be a true story. Jacques is a misfit diver who is passionate about the sea and diving. He may be a misfit in society and uncomfortable with humans but when in the sea, he is free and feels one with the dolphins whom he believes are kindred spirits. He dives professionally, primarily because of his passion for diving and secondarily to make a living. Diving, to him, is an end in itself. A fellow diver "“ Enzo Molinari, diving is a way of life but it is also his way of making a living. He is a champion swimmer and wishes to compete against Jacques to prove to himself, above all, that he is the best. He is a sociable character who enjoys his life in society as much as the sea. Jacques does not wish to compete although in his heart he knows that he is better of the two. He is not driven by ambition or desire, solely by love for marine life. Johana, the third character is drawn to Jacques and he to her. Their chemistry is difficult to define and Jacques finds his interactions uncomfortable. Jacques is unable to cope with the commitment and responsibility of a relationship for his spirit belongs to the sea and that is where he feels himself. Johana ends up coming second to Jacques's true love "“ the sea. Once again, Besson deals with a man's place in society. But in this movie, he deals also with the characters and not just society and morality. The main characters have a great influence over each other's lives and Besson has closely examined this relationship in comparison to the characters wishing to follow their own instincts. Stuart Fernie, 2002 Nikita With "Nikita" Besson returns to the familiar territory of questioning society and morality, the place of an individual in society and his reaction to society. Once again, the movie takes the viewers underground, where Nikita is trained by the government to be an assassin who protects the interests of the state. Morality has little place in this world and yet the people involved have firm belief that what they do is in the interest of the nation. For this purpose, they need people like Nikita whose conscience s unlikely to trouble her after she commits her actions. Nikita, an orphan who grows up with a bunch of drug addicts and under the influence of drugs kills a policeman is trained by the government and the government gives her a direction in life and is responsible for her development. Once again, Besson reveals the farce of society as Nikita learns how to behave in society and be accepted and at the same time continues her work of assassin which in no way conforms to society's laws. Slowly Nikita develops a sense of independence and self "“ respect and exhibits greater morality than her masters. She is indebted to the government and so continues to perform their tasks but on her own terms and with little violence. Eventually Nikita gains her freedom but pays the price of losing her fiancé Marco and has to leave Bob, her immediate superior for whom she ahs deep feelings. The question of morality is raised where the assassin in the end has more sense of right and wrong than the government and people of society. Leon Leon is about an assassin who takes in a 12 "“ year "“ old girl whose family is killed by the federal police who are acting beyond the law. Besson mocks present age society in the movie by showing Leon's best friend to be a plant "because it never lies and it's always happy". Leon's world is black and yet he turns out to be the hero. The police that are considered to be protectors of society are shown as manipulative, cynical and criminal in nature! Leon trains his young charge to be an assassin just like him and the movie ends with Leon and the girl on a rooftop as she takes aim at a Bill Clinton "“ like figure jogging in Central Park. Stuart Fernie, 2002 This again has a touch of love, which is again strange, unusual and tragic for the relationship between Leon, and the girl can never be fully understood and is complicated. Besson used New York in the movie as the scene of action as it is a large town where people can easily be anonymous. In Leon's words "“ "So, at the beginning, it"s very large and very big Besson"s camera sweeps across New York like a comet careening out of control. Then you come in, in, in, to tell the little teeny story. This is a small, small story in this big town." It is worthy of note that just as the principal characters appear to develop and grow the societies in which they evolve appears to deteriorate and decay. In "Subway" society is seen as a gray area, in "Nikita" it becomes considerably darker while in "Leon" the police itself is bad and the assassin, Leon, is the protector of the innocent. The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Although this movie directed by Besson presents itself as a celebration of a martyr's faith, it shows more interest in the violence and hatred that surrounded her life and how society ill-treated her and finally betrayed her. It is a thoughtful exploration into the life of a courageous French teenager whose "voices" made her lead an army, defeat the English invaders and finally perish at the stake then renounce the justness of her cause and deny existence of the divine guidance. True to form, Besson reveals his agenda in an early scene where Joan watches helplessly as her sister is murdered and raped in that order by an English soldier. In the movie, there is no significance given to Joan's encounters with the saints Catherine and Margaret. There is also no mention of Saint Michael whom she claims to have seen and heard. Ronald F. Maxwell, 1999 This is because Besson was not interested in the historical aspect as much as he wished to portray a woman's morality and faith in contrast to the weakness of her nation and her society and the lack of morality in a society that finally betrayed it's very savior! Conclusion Besson's movies are all based on social existentialism. They are set in extreme conditions and have extreme characters in order to accentuate the point Besson wishes to make. His films present interesting and thought provoking observations on life, society and man's nature. There is a progression in the development of these themes in all his movies, with society and morality depicted as being in slow decline and decay. At the same time the character evolves living in the very same society but refuses to bend down to society's laws and has his own set of rules, morality and follows his heart. Family and religion are non existent in Besson's movies and it is only love that makes an appearance in all his movies, always to give a touch of tragedy to his movies. Fred lost his life as a result of pursuing his nature and love for Héléna in "Subway". Jacques abandoned his love for Johana to pursue his nature in "The Big Blue". Nikita learns to contain her feelings and pursue her future as an independent woman taking control of her life while recognizing her sentiments but refusing to give in to them in "Nikita". Joan renounces love and marriage for her only goal is to attain freedom for her nation in "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc". Susan Hayward, 1998 Luc Besson is one of the most thoughtful directors of our times and his movies though at times excessively violent, portray the declining society of today and man's place in society. Art is not what it looks but what it does to us and Besson's movies are works of art for they make the viewer think about his society and raises question on morality.   

Thesis: Luc Besson is one of the best French Directors of this century. His works can either be viewed as mere action packed thrillers or the viewer can go in depth and question society and morality. Besson wishes to make the viewer question the importance of individualism, the role of...

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