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La La Land Single Film Study: Part 2

Darin Caudle | Saturday July 04, 2015

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Directors, Damien Chazelle, Hollywood Films, La La Land

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La La Land Single Film Study: Part 1

Ideology and Themes

Like spectatorship, ideology is one of the named specialist study areas by Eduqas for the A Level study of La La Land. Therefore, this guide has attempted to refer throughout to the film’s ideological and thematic content particularly in Context, Auteur and Critical Debates, and so readers are reminded to carefully consider those sections as well for insights into the topic.

Eduqas recommends that centres study their chosen films for this section in relation to critical approaches to ideology. The specification recommends centres study either a political or feminist critical approach, though centres are free to choose their own. The political implications of the film’s nostalgic celebration of the past have been covered in detail in several of the previous sections of the guide. The guide has also explored how from a feminist prospective, the representation of Mia can be viewed as problematic.

It is also important to consider the film’s wider messages and values and the ways in which they are explored both formally and narratively. Films often convey ideology through the use of Binary Oppositions.

One of those oppositions is dreams (fantasy) versus reality, which the film explores in a mise en scene that delicately balances Technicolor-inspired gloss with the rough edges of everyday life. Good examples of this are the ‘Another Day of Sun’ number where a smog filled, traffic choked freeway serves as a rather incongruous setting for a jubilant dance routine, and the film’s final ballet where fantasy and reality collide in a bittersweet departure for our two protagonists.

Another pair of opposing forces is nostalgia vs. modernity. Seb is a character very much stuck in the past. He drives a 1982 Buick convertible, listens to vinyl records and bemoans the fact that jazz is a dying art form. Mia too is a traditionalist despite the new car she...


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