The reading of the Romans in Films by Roland Barthes and translated by Annette Lavers was interesting to say the least. In this article Director Mankiewicz’s Julius Cesar is picked apart. Throughout this piece of writing Barthes elaborates on major aspects on the film. He goes from mens hair draped neatly on their foreheads to women with curled hair to the most extreme of men sweating. He signifies each characteristic as an attribute to the deeper feeling of this ancient time and how in a way the western worlds perspective and acting is a poor representation of the time. Barthes does not believe that an actor such as Marlon Brando with a native root can portray a character such as Julius Cesar because of how he has been depicted in countless movies and shorts before. What Barthes has tried to explain throughout his essay is that there is no common ground for actors to fully drift into the role they wish to portray without understanding the significance of every single piece of make up, hairstyle or added effect.

During film it is important for the audience to be immersed in what they view. The very idea of the film is to captivate the audience in a new world especially with a portrayal based on historical context. In order for this to happen the mindset and the very structure of the story itself must be understood by the actors otherwise we view a film that is two- dimensional and does not speak to the audience and make them think of a deeper meaning to each action. What Barthes has done is quite unique, though others have picked apart film none have done so eloquently in my readings. He intrigues you to look at a film with eyes of observance, to catch the smallest of details such as vaselined sweat. The simple fact that a person sweats could mean more than they are just hot; it could mean they are contemplating their own next move or they are worried of an unknown.

From reading Barthes article, The Romans in Films I now analyze films with a deeper understanding. After reading this i cannot help but agree with his every statement and that in fact each action has a three dimensional meaning. Viewing films in such a light helps understand what is really trying to be said, the subliminal topic which is masked through pretty faces and strung words.

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One Response to “Roland Barthes, The Romans in Films”

  1.   Fender Says:


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