Casablanca (1942)


Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Genre –
Drama, Romance, War (IMDb)
Michael Curtiz Film History – (172 Films)
Known for –
Casablanca (1942)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
White Christmas (1954)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Actors –
Humphrey Bogart – Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman – Ilsa Lund
Paul Henreid – Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains – Captain Louis Renault
Dooley Wilson – Sam

My View / Critique 

My Dad is a huge fan of this film – he loves it. He say’s “it’s a CLASSIC!” – and he adores Ingrid Bergman. As I watching the film, at the beginning I will admit – I was distracted. The scene when I was shown the cafe area – I really enjoyed it. I loved the camera movement. It’s as if all corners were covered and it allowed me to feel the atmosphere of the place. It had so many angles, from woman and men. It just kept moving around the space to really create a ‘real’ space – to make it feel real and understandable. When I was first introduced to Ilsa, and she asks Sam to play the signature song – there was the mid-close up of her face and I loved it. It was a long extended shot and she did nothing – she wasn’t looking at the camera and she only moved slightly. I thought this was beautiful – I felt as though I knew emotion, and looked at her while she remembered something. I wanted to know what she was remembering – but I think it was such an affective way to show an emotion that an outside person wouldn’t understand, only her. It was also so simply done.

At the time the film was made, I am sure it was unheard of for a woman to admit an affair – or even be having an affair. I honestly, did not expect it… Looking back, it seemed set up – but I have just never seen an affair like that played out. She loved both – yet she thought her husband was dead. Her husband and Rick differed, but found moral compass together through her. Each man had great strength – and I thought Ilsa did as well, as she was compassionately supportive. Although, I am sure people will disagree. But thinking it was a triangle, I was wronged. The captain played a consistent part. I found myself going on a little journey with each character – as they were all in compromised situations and had decisions to make.

The Mise-en-scene and lighting… I loved it. The lighting in particular. The lighting was not subtle – sort of like a stage show. When Ilsa walks in as Rick waits while he drinks, a spotlight comes straight on to her face and just continues to allure to the audience her beauty. Her beauty is talked about constantly – and she is beautiful. The film really makes an effort to highlight this face – the close-ups and lighting. There are such dreamy soft shots of her, where she glitters and just looks beautiful.


I am going to investigate acting (performing). I am going to do acting classes.

The last time I did this what 2008 (maybe) and I quit because I was given a role that was a main and couldn’t learn my lines. I quit. I always tried out for drama plays but I was nervous, and every time I was going to perform I would vomit or faint – so I kept away. I sit here angry at myself that I didn’t overcome this… Can I overcome this? Do I need to overcome this? But since I was a little girl, films have been a huge part of my life.

I have always been inspired by them. Although, I have never really investigated, within myself, why they leave me feeling so eager to create, to do, to analyse and to just imagine. I can’t come to fact as to why films can affect my whole mood and temperament.

I only like going to films with people who are willing to talk about it with me after – to come to the details and to point out how the result happened – how the actors went, how it looked etc. When I go with someone to see a film and I attempt to talk to them about the film and they just don’t react or say “it was good” – I judge the person and get angry they can’t elaborate and say why or they don’t even want to figure out why is was good. I have always done this, even before this course. This course has made me worse (in the way that I want to talk about details and everything that makes up the film I just watched) but I have always done this. Also when people say “well that was unrealistic” – I also get angry because that statement in general frustrates me. If you read that and don’t get why I get angry – then I would probably be angry at you too. So basically, I sound like an angry person. But I’m not, I swear.

Films make me feel like anything is possible (well, not all – some rarely make me feel like talking at all). The people behind in, within it, make me feel like I could do anything?! But I want to investigate why and who, and what and how. The ‘two sides’ of something that is united. The 1s and 2s (as Paul would say). I want to learn more about directors AND performers.

Last week I went to the video store. This video store has recently been made ‘smaller’ (it moved across the street into a little hole in the wall) and so I went in to rent Amelie – and was sadden by the small space. I then went back to return the film today after having a coffee with my Mum. I told mum how I am feeling lost and how I am interested in the director and the performer – and she thought it was great. She doesn’t know how I will go with acting – but she thinks I may as well “give it a crack”. She also laughed, which is a little unsettling. I was going to drop the film (making a conscious effort to call them films rather than movies) into the dropbox and I thought – I may as well go in and say hi. It seems lonely and claustrophobic. I started talking to the guy that works there (will find out his name next time) and I found he studied Media at RMIT years ago. I went in to rent ‘The Thin Red Line’ (Terrence Malick,1998), as Paul suggested, and the guy working there said “For $1 you can get two more”… So this is when he started telling me his favourite films (and I came to realise his huge knowledge of film), and his perspective on what I should watch. So I came out with The Thin Red Line, Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) – his suggestion of the director Mum suggested, and Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) – as my Dad suggested because of Ingrid Bergman (actor/performer). This is what I have started off with – and I told him I would see him next week for more recommendations.

This is a part of how I am going to investigate further into the director and the performer – now I guess this includes it’s audience. Originally, I had the ‘two sides’ – but by the method of investigation I am taking, it includes the third side – the audience. Maybe I will ask people questions and let them tell me why they like/dislike the film – as just a part of working out why, which isn’t just from my point of view. Although, seeing how this goes I might want to base this on my views – and gain clarity for me for what I want to do in the future so I can work towards something. This might be me getting my groundings…

Also I am not just going to watch the films – I am going to write a post about each one. I might even delve into TV series as well. Whatever makes me feel like writing after. It might be a random film on TV that I watch and feel like talking about. The director may not be highly esteemed, and the vilm might have a ‘bad-rep’ overall (reviews etc) – but maybe this can help figure out why. I may even like it…

In each post I  write –

Film Name, Director and Year Made
Actors (selective choice)
Directors Film History 
My view / critique 
and maybe some GOOGLE facts about the Film or director if I feel like furthering my knowledge. 

I don’t know what I am doing – but to get anywhere, this is how I am going to start.


Yesterday’s class (for me) was very productive.

I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately – regarding what I want to do and what I see myself as being in the future. I have been so confused lately and have been putting the pressure on… for no reason. It’s what I do. I am a stress-head and me stressing being confused comes across in class. I know that. I can’t even get a solid sentence out – even idea. I am constantly doubting myself and my knowledge. Because at the moment – I am feeling somewhat lost. I have been asking a lot of questions and not finding an answer this equally to more questions. I don’t know what is wrong or right – and I don’t even know if I have a direction.

Yesterdays class forced me to write down these question and say a loud what I have been thinking. But I didn’t really say it out loud – because I doubted myself as soon as I started talking and Paul’s unreadable face intimidated me and so I wanted to get out what I was saying in a better way. Yet, I couldn’t form words. I can’t find clarity at all at the moment.

The way I am living is ‘stable’ (so to speak, in comparison to what I am use too) – and this fact has given me a lot of time to think about myself… I haven’t had this much time to think in a long time. I am usually filled with exterior problems, issues (whateverrrr) that spins through my head. I am also use to moving around A LOT and never living in the one place. I have found myself living in the one place… which is also strange, because I have never lived in one place. So I don’t have a bag constantly packed, I don’t have to plan everywhere I go meticulously and I have time to myself. Although, now I have hit a dilemma of myself and what to do. I don’t even know. This relates to my investigation somehow – I swear.

So back to yesterdays class, this is what I wrote –


“I have been trying to gain perspectives of films on different angles. I have tried to look at it in different roles – such as director and the actor. I have realised that there are two sides – yet they should come together as a unity.

 My cinema teacher said today that a film is 3/4 the way the actors perform. So ¼ is everything else – the mise en scene, the way it’s ‘covered’. He then continued to say that casting would almost be the most important part. This makes me think – actors (performers) have a lot of responsibility. I then thought back to who did the casting. That’s where this big decision comes from. Then I think where did the requirements for the casting come from – again that’s another role, another person/team. At first I completely disagreed with what he had to say – because, come on. Then I started to create the circle, how its formed and who decided what. It also, strangely, makes me want to be a performer or know what it feels like. Do they have as much power as he said they do? Do they really make the film what it is – and do they control the quality by 3/4ths? Why does this make me want to be an actor – is it because I use to dream of it when I was a little girl OR is it because I want more control?

 This makes me think – the people who direct and act in the same film? Surely this is a lot of control. Now you are taking the full responsibility of everything PLUS the performance? Could I do this – am I capable? I guess it’s the best of both worlds. But maybe I can’t act – maybe I am terrible. Maybe I can’t direct but can perform yet take on both roles? But what if I feel so passionate about something I have created and I can find no one to play the role that I have put my heart and soul into thinking up? Does this mean I am capable of doing it? How can I have a non-bias view that I am actually good at acting OR directing.

 I don’t know if I want to act or even direct – I really don’t. But I want to know both sides, or to even see if there is two sides?

 Director and performer – to direct do you need to understand what it’s like to perform?”


What? So many damn questions. This is what happens when I write – anything I think, just goes straight onto what I have written. Good think or bad thing? I need reassurance all the time. Does it even matter? Oh well – moving on.

So this is what I want to do –

Originally – yes, I wanted to create a scene. But now, I am not so sure… This right now, is what interest me. This is what I want to investigate and delve further into. I am not a fan of writing essays – but at this point,  I think I might have to. But it leaves me annoyed – because I really want to create something. I think by doing this though, I will create clarity within my mind. Tomorrow this might change (I am obviously temperamental and my mind is not staying in one place, even though physically I am).