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Visual communications I
We are shaped by the world around us, all we experience in life determines our way of thinking and ultimately defines who we are. This essay will show how the film "southern comfort" demonstrates this and how perception is affected by our surrounding and our experiences.
The commanding officer of team Bravo because of his service and Discharge in the Vietnam war gave him the leadership qualities the would have been a great help later in the film,. He , while he was alive, displayed some bitterness at the fact that he was in the national guard and not fighting in the war, that he cast aside to and now had to lead a bunch of misfits in routine training exercises he believed would never put to good use. The fact that he Allowed his men to steal canoes from locals displays his weariness of the service because no normal commanding officer would allow such acts within the US
Reese was decidedly the proverbial rebel without a cause. He displayed an apathetic attitude since he was a new addition to the national guard in the state of Louisiana. His unpleasant past experiences in the Texas national guard lead him to believe it would be no different in this unit and so became the stereotypical rebel without a cause.Interacting with the others "troops" when spoken to and never in a receptive fashion. So it is not surprising that when faced in that combat situation he did not volunteer his opinion of impose his will on the other troops unless the situation was critical to their survival.
Stuckie, otherwise know as the village idiot in any other environment, did not present any maturity to any one, the fact that he pointed an armed weapon and fired it at a fellow officer despite using blanks demonstrated that fact quite clearly. He viewed everthing as a joke and took nothing seriously especially Firearms and by his actions, shooting on the Cajuns with blanks, put Bravo team in jeopardy. If it were not for his immaturity and shear stupidity, bravo may have been spared however there wouldn't be much of a movie either.
Cultural differences also contribute a a persons personality. The black officer was a reminder of that in addition to be a token black character so that African Americans who viewed this movie could identify with it.
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Now their hunters, the Cajuns, are an interesting group as far as how the director chose to have them perceived. It is interesting to see how the director played around with the notion of innocence. At first it was the Cajuns whom the director wished the audience to sympathize with because of their are being victimized by Bravo team. And then, he turns the tables on the audience as Bravo is being attacked by the Cajuns and lose their CO (commanding Officer).In addition the team is relentlessly pursued by a group of violent Cajuns that are looking to kill them all.Are they an innocent group brutally attacked by the Louisiana national guard or are they a bunch of brutal savages from a culture that is stuck a hundred years in the past?
It is only a matter of perception and perception is subjective by nature. It is defined by what an individual perceives and not by what it is. Guild and innocence are only differentiated by perception. So much of the news media is now based on perception from one source whether it be from citizens, a company, a government. Innocence can be perceived o a whole sale basis or in a situation experienced first hand like the characters in this film.
The lifestyle of Cajuns has an indelible affect on what takes place during the film. Most are outdoors men, living in the Bayou on their own, shut off from society by their own choosing because perhaps of historical persecution by the British. They chose to live in the Bayou and thus possess a unique familiarity with the terrain which gives them an advantage to the guardsmen of team Bravo who are not in tune with their environment and would never set foot in the Bayou if not under orders. That is why they were able to track the movements of the team and systematically kill most of the squad. It is also why Bravo was not able to catch them, they know how to blend in with their surrounding and therefore are out in the open.
So you see, what is real is what you think and how you interpret what your eyes tell you. Interpretation is a product of the person you are shaped by what you see. It's like a vicious circle revoling around itself and with us in the middle.