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THE MOVIE CRASH Discussion and Writing Guide By Karima Vargas Bushnell * Cross-World Consulting * karima@.icw99.com “ A Brentwood housewife and her DA husband. A Persian store owner. Two police detectives who are also lovers. An African-American television director and his wife. A Mexican locksmith. Two car-jackers. A rookie cop. A middle-aged Korean couple... They all live in Los Angeles. And during the next 36 hours, they will all collide...” – plot synopsis from the Lions Gate official website Discuss with others character development, intercultural issues and intercultural communication in the culturally complex and emotionally intense 2005 movie Crash. You choose which characters, scenes and situations to focus on. The ideas below are suggestions of ways to focus your discussion. You can concentrate on two or three of them, mix or blend them as you see fit, or do something entirely your own. Try to see beneath the surface with careful analysis, depth and insight. Of course you may watch the movie as many times as you like—many people have reported catching new things in the second or third viewing. 1. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. A number of main characters in Crash undergo radical spiritual and psychological transformations in the course of the story. Discuss the character development of the Iranian store owner, the lead car hijacker, the Brentwood housewife, the TV executive, the young policeman, the older policeman, the police detective or others who change in major ways. 2. OBJECTS. Five objects become instruments of fate in the psychological ―saving‖ or ―damnation‖ of different characters (as well as the physical survival or death of others.) Explain how one or more objects comes into the story, its significance, and its saving or destructive effect on the personality of the character paired with it below. The red ammunition box - the store owner The red ammunition box – the locksmith The two religious statues - the young policeman The invisibility cloak - the store owner The invisibility cloak – the locksmith The burning car - the older policeman The burning car – the TV executive‘s wife The last stolen van with it‘s surprising ‗cargo‘ - the lead car hijacker 3. RELATIONSHIPS. Analyze clusters of relationships that occur in Crash such as those between: The Iranian (Persian) store owner, the Mexican-American locksmith and their daughters. The African-American television executive, his wife, his boss. The older policeman, the older policeman‘s father and the social services worker. The younger and older policemen, their supervisor, the television executive and the car-hijacker side kick. The police detective, his girlfriend, his brother and those who offer him a higher position. The Brentwood housewife, her husband, his ‗friend‘ at work, the locksmith and the housekeeper. The lead car jacker, his sidekick, his distributor/boss, the ―Chinaman‖ and the refugees. How do you analyze a relationship? Some key questions: How do the people know each other and what do they do together? Where does the relationship take place? How do they communicate? Which person or people make the decisions or hold the power? How are they different from each other? Where do they agree and disagree? Are there conflicts, and if so, about what? How does each side try to ‗win‘? Is it a mutually beneficial relationship, or is someone exploiting someone else? Are there major misunderstandings or differences in points of view? Explain. 4. PREJUDICE AND STEREOTYPES. Most of the characters in Crash have their own ideas about the other cultures they interact with. Discuss the role of prejudice and stereotyping in Crash, trying to identify as many instances as possible and analyzing them as appropriate. 5. SCENES. Choose and analyze particular scenes that interest you, describing the setting, the situation, the character interactions and the scene‘s importance for the characters and the plot. Pay special attention to the verbal and nonverbal communications among the characters and how they affect the characters‘ attitudes and actions toward each other. 6. OVERARCHING ISSUES. Pick a theme you see repeated throughout the film and explore it. An example: The police detective, the television director and the young policeman are all asked to do things by their superiors at work that go against their moral and personal values. Explore their dilemmas, the choices they make, and the effects of those choices.
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