Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin
Modern Times is a film directed and produced by Charlie Chaplin, in this film Chaplin stars as a tramp struggling to survive in a modern industrial society, he created with Modern Times, one of the most elaborate cinematic critiques of the effects of mass production on 20th century life. With his usual charm and bad luck, Charlie Chaplin’s most famous character, The Tramp, executes some of his most famous slapstick routines around glorified machines, accidentally ends up in the middle of a communist rally and falls in love with a woman from the street, played by Chaplin’s then real-life partner Paulette Goddard.
I think this is an interesting way of showing of showing industrialisation and the industrial society as rather than it being a documentary or a book explaining industrialisation it’s shown through comedy and with it being shown in a comedic way it grabs the viewers in a different way than a documentary or book would. With the use of comedy the viewers would find the film funny and laugh at it whilst gaining a knowledge and understanding of what life is like in a modern industrial society, whereas watching it in a documentary or reading it in a book the attention is more facts and true stories, which to some people may be quite boring.
I like the way this film is directed as it shows the similarities between various things, for example the start of the film, the pigs being crowded together and sent through the machines and the workers rushing into the factory in a crowd. As well as this it also shows the differences between the staff in the factory, showing how whilst the workers will be rushing around and doing tough jobs the manager, or in this case ‘president’ would be in his office doing a puzzle and reading the newspaper whilst everyone is working. Also, the president would be brought tea and a cigarette and wouldn’t say thank you, he would just give the worker a slight glance as she walks away, this shows how tough the modern industrial society can be as it shows how whilst everyone in the factory is working their best, the manager or head of the company doesn’t pay enough attention to the workers and how hard they work.
The use of comedy in the film, with Chaplin messing up the job and causing other workmen to be interrupted and annoyed with what they’re doing adds laughter to the film but also shows how if a worker does something wrong a lot of the other works could become annoyed and complain a lot, which gives an idea of what it’s like to work in an industrial society.
Also, with Charlie Chaplin always messing up the job and being told off by the president whereas other workers are doing a good job and being praised by the president, the film shows the different ranks of workers in an industrial society. I think it also shows how serious the industrial society is as at some parts of the film Chaplin is playing around and doing something other than his job and the other workers then looking very serious about their job and wondering what he’s doing, then rushing to carry on their work after he distracts them. By the way Chaplin’s character acts the film it’s almost like he’s the clown of the workplace and I think that could also be a reference to the industrial society as in the modern industrial society there could always be that one worker that doesn’t quite know what he’s doing and therefore slows down the rest of the workers.
With the people coming into the presidents office with an invention of theirs and the president being confused and now knowing what is going on it shows how even if you are the head of the place you’re working at there’s also someone of a higher position than you, which references to the industrial society as it again shows the rank of workers and shows how there could always be someone better than you in the work place. The invention then proving to work well before then messing up also proves how not everything can is perfect first time and may have to be made many more times before it is it’s best, which shows how hard you have to work in the industrial society in order to get things right, proving how tough industrialisation can be. Also with the comedy side of the food being forced into his mouth and the facial expressions he makes it adds laughter to the misfortune that people would of otherwise took rather seriously and would see as being dangerous. However if you see post the comedy of it, it could explain the dangers of working in the industrial society.
I didn’t watch all of the film but from what I did watch I’d say that Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin explains industrialisation very well as shows what life is like in the industrial society and goes into detail of what it’s like working in the industrial society, the rush and stress of it all and the facts of the rank of workers in the workplaces, how tough working in industrialisation.