Who’s The Real Problem?

Shout out to @dfregia @nisaajay and @ireesdeelia for the discussion a couple of weeks ago; would not have thought of this post without your help! So my group and I discussed the power of the gun in Chiraq (here’s a link to that discussion). In the end, we agreed that firearms represented the crux of the conflict in the film, characterized by Father Corridan during his sermon in the beginning of the film. To highlight this conclusion, I would like to point to some of the cinematography within that sequence that helped bring us to that conclusion. 

During his sermon for Patty, Corridan holds a gun up to the congregation, indicating it as the true source of the modern day warzone that is Chicago. At one point, he holds the gun like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 2.11.42 PM

Notice Corridan’s hand in this shot: he dangles the pistol from the end of his index finger, causing his hand to become shaped like a gun. With sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows of the church, he tells his listeners that Chicago gangs buy the guns for big money, “for their work.” He then tosses the gun down on the podium without altering his “finger-gun” in the process. And who is Corridan pointing his imaginary weapon towards? The congregation itself: the grieving citizens of Chiraq that are seeking consolation and answers for the current state of their war-torn home.

Although this is a small moment in a lengthy and very powerful sermon, it represents Lee’s incredible attention to symbolism and filmic detail as he not only singles out the primary bringer of death in Chicago, but personifies it as the antagonist of the film. It’s small moments like these that lay beneath the sex and “satire” of the film’s aesthetic; hiding in plain sight and begging to be considered — or rather, challenged — by the viewer.

Lee is literally preaching the truth.

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Author: marquezdoee

Amherst Class of 2016. Media Studies Major. Katy Perry Enthusiast.

3 thoughts on “Who’s The Real Problem?”

  1. This is such a fantastic catch! I never thought of that: how Cusack’s character making a figurative gun and ~literally~ pointing it to the congregation points to how anyone from that community could be next. What an excellent example of Lee’s attention to detail. Do consider also the actual gun pointing ~up~ during Corridan’s sermon; mind you, they are in a church that worships God. Where is God? Above. Where is the gun pointing? Above. Is Lee suggesting a lost of faith, peace, or religion with this added layer so symbolism? Is the gun not only killing the physical bodies of this community but the God that they worship as they slowly lose faith? Questions to consider.

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  2. I agree with @imgarcia18 that the shots in this scene are super interesting. I also think it’s cool that so many of the angles of Cusack we see our high angles. I think it makes the words he is saying more powerful because we are put in a POV (point of view) that causes us to look “up” to him for answers.

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  3. after taking sometime to think about the image even a little further, I think the pointing could represent that anyone in the congregation could be next in terms of being a victim of this violence, but also that anyone in the audience of the congregation could also perpetuate that violence, so cusack is both literally and figuratively pointing the finger, going back to that discussion of fault and blame that we had earlier in our group discussions.

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