mandag 24. oktober 2011

"Gran Torino"

DVD Cover 
Today we watched Gran Torino in class, a 2008 American drama film directed by, produced by and starring Clint Eastwood. He has done an incredible job making and starring this movie. He shows us how it was like to be a Hmong immigrant in the United States in the 1980s. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, who fought against the communist Pathet Lao. When Lao took over the Laotian Government in 1975, thousands of Hmong fled westwards. We follow Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski when the Hmong people move in to his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Walt's wife recently died, so he has a hard time letting people in, and it doesn't make it any easier that he lost his friends in the Korean war.

When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. He realizes that Thao is a really nice and polite young man, he just doesn't know what he wants to do with his life yet. So Walt decides to get to know him better and help him out, in his own special way of course. He has a peculiar way of communicating with other people. He uses racial slurs frequently, not always to be rude, but it often appears quite condescending. For example when Thao's friend introduces herself as Youa, Walt repeats: "ooh Yum Yum". Maybe he does this because he is insecure of his own language skills, as you earlier on could see when he fails trying to say the word "Hmong". 

He is not familiar with the Hmong rules. He pats a Hmong child on his head trying to be nice, but instead he resided the child’s soul according to Hmong beliefs.  And it's very rude to look someone in their eyes, which Walt did. I personally think that Walt wants to get to know the Lor family, especially Zue and Thao, but feels vulnerable because the love of his life died, and don't want to lose anyone close to him. I think that he really shows that Thao means a lot to him when Walt lets him drive his prized car.

Walt trying to help Thao get his first job 
Thao has got some problems with a Hmong gang, the same gang who pushed him to steal the car, the same gang who stumped a smoke on his chin and the same gang who shot with machine guns on Thao's house. Thao wants vengeance, but Walt is not sure if that's the right thing to do. A least that's what he tells Thao. On the evening they are going to raid the gangbanger's house, Walt locks Thao into his basement. He doesn't want Thao to join him, because he has his whole life in front of him, and doesn't want him to die. Walt goes to their house with nothing but his cigarettes and lighter. The whole neighborhood is watching as they argue. Suddenly Walt makes a quick move, just to get his lighter from the inner pocket. But the gangbangers thought he was about to pull out a gun, so they shoot him down. But i don't think that this came unexpected on Walt. I think that he put the Lor family before himself, and saw this as the only conflict resolution. 

Walt and the Hmong family in the background 
Walt Kowalski died that evening. He got them all locked up in jail. The last scene shows Thao driving down the road in his brand new car. Walt Kowalski's testament said: "I would like to leave my 1972 Grand Torino to my friend Thao".

5 kommentarer:

  1. This was a very nice reflection around the movie Gran Torino! It is well written and you present some good points. I liked that you explained about the Hmong people in the start, because not many have heard of them. Also I agree with your reflection around the ending when Walt goes to confront the gang, and I think you came up with some good arguments.

    I really enjoyed reading your blogentry! Keep up the good work:)

  2. very touching end when Thao drives the Gran Torino with the dog sitting next to him. At the same time Clint Eastwood is singing! I agree with you Walt probably wanted to get to know the family but was afraid of getting too attached. He did in the end though!

  3. This was a good blogpost, I really enjoyed reading it!! :) :)

    In your blogpost you have many good reflections! I liked how you managed to get so many details from the movie in it, like for instance details about the Hmong traditions and culture!

  4. Good blog post! I agree with you on Walt's behavior in the different situations you mention here, very good reflection! I wish your photos were a little larger, but the text is the important part, and you write really well! :)

  5. That was a very cool blogpost. You have a great vocabulary and use a lot of smart words. It made it easy to read your blog because of this. You summed up the movie very nicely and you covered all the major events. I thought it was funny you called the Hmong gang - gangbanger=)