The Rise 1917

Steven Lipton

Professor Steven Wexler

English 313

08 October 2013

The Rise of 1917

            The idea of a revolution for social and economic equality is not absent in the American conscience, rather, it is suppressed through many mediums: entertainment, deceiving journalism, over promised leaders, and a sense of doubt in self. But specific actions, like Occupy Wall Street, have risen above these mediums to spread light on the influence of government actions caused by corrupt corporations. My film, “The Rise of 1917,” reminds its audience the success a revolution can have. It retells the story of Russia’s Revolution in 1917 by uniting its citizens to rise against political corruption through the help of an unknown element.

1917 takes on a very important role in world history. Not only does it involve itself during the First World War, but more importantly the Russian Revolution. Russia’s participation in WWI was forced on behalf of Serbia’s actions against Austria. This, coupled with an autocratic Russia subjected many lower class citizens to the horrors of war without the supplies to defend themselves from the enemy or the elements. Russia’s lower class citizens, now on their hands and knees, needed liberation from their leader: Czar Nicholas II. In “The Rise of 1971” a young man, Oliver Haúnt, comes as the voice of optimism and consolation to unite the lower class and help revolutionize Russia into the first communist country. Though, he is a man by nature, he is not recognized by the citizens of his name. Rather, he calls himself The Sushchnost (Russian for entity) for the way he appears: as an apparition to the many important figures (Vladimir Lenin) and citizens during Russia’s revolution.

The film begins in 1866 with Oliver’s father, Adam Haúnt (William Dafoe), and the founder of the periodic table, Dmitri Mendeleev (Daniel Day Lewis) in Moscow, Russia. Adam is arguing with Dmitri in a lab about the addition of the last element to their periodic table. Dmitri urges Adam that 119 (an unlisted element in the periodic table) is too unstable and radicle for the public’s interest. Adam, who is the founder of 119, eagerly tries to convince him by reminding Dmitri of their equal partnership when it comes time for the Russian Chemical Society to view their thesis. Dmitri is set on removing Adam from their project all together. He brings up the notion of power, and the public’s interest in power is not always level minded. He continues by saying “power, while certainly constraining, is also enabling! Cultural studies have shown a specific concern with subordinated groups, at first with class, and later with races, gender, nations even!” (Barker, Cultural Studies 10). This confliction of ideas between them grows with more arguing. Eventually we see Adam exit the lab into a Russian storm.

The film’s introduction examines power and discipline. Where Adam wants to introduce power, Dmitri wants to remove it for he fears it will corrupt something or another. Later in the film we find that Adam’s intention to introduce “119” would take a path of its own. He hopes to succeed Dmitri’s periodic table by introducing the world to its newest element. Thus, allowing him nobility. Dmitri tries to explain to Adam that the world they live in is already corrupt with power and the introduction of anymore, under an autocratic nation, will never serve a humanitarian purpose. “Ideology as power” (Barker 71) explains, through early Marxist and sociological concepts, that power is associated with the dominant class. In this film’s case that would be the aristocrat class.

Three years pass and Adam is sitting in his living room with his tall, broad shouldered wife, Evelyn, (Lucy Lawless) and his son, Oliver (Jake Gyllenhaal). The newspaper that sits on the coffee table has a headline that reads: “6 March, 1969: Russian Chemical Society to Reward Dmitri Mendeleev for the most Conclusive Periodic Table to Date” (“History of the Periodic Table.” RSC. Web 28). Oliver asks his mother when their next mountain climb is. Adam responds, “December 8th, our anniversary.” We see time pass and stop on the date of Adam and Evelyn’s climb. Oliver waves goodbye from the car and heads back home. Many weeks go by without word from his parent’s progress. He later finds that they were buried and presumed dead from an avalanche of snow.

Many years pass. It is the middle of WW1 and we see Oliver hanging out in his father’s lab reading the obituaries with a headline: “1st December, 1915: A night for the Living and a Morning for the Dead.” Oliver reads one of the names under his breath. “Dmitri Mendeleev.” In the background there is a radio. It is on a local talk station and a voice can be heard. The radio host is discussing the poor progression of the war: “What are the citizens of Russia to do when our supposed leader cannot even spend any of his precious wealth on food or supplies for his soldiers?! There needs to be a stand! What does Uncle Marx say in our position!? He says ‘capitalism engenders class conflict and sows the seeds of its own destruction!’ (Barker 193).  That’s right people!” The radio goes off and on due to a winter storm. It comes on again and we hear the host screaming for what we think is a struggle between two men but the static makes his words ambiguous: “We as citizens—revolu!—My office is closed to Nicholas!—what?! People, our freedoms are—suppressed! Our own military—let me go! I’ll leave!” We see Oliver play around in the lab. He eventually stumbles upon a cold, steel test tube marked “119.” He opens it. A gas explodes in his face contorting Oliver’s skin. We see his gruesome transformation which eventually dissolves every particle of his body. He eventually disintegrates into a gas like figure. The radio host comes on again: “We have to change people! To hell with this war—to hell with Nicholas!” Struggling between men can be heard from the radio while we see Oliver, now ghost like—yet figureless appearance, fade through the cracks of the lab’s door. The wind catches what is left of him.

This would be my most important scene. The relationship between “119” and Oliver is symbolic of WW1 and Russia’s struggle during this war. The element represents two things: the foreign invader (Austria/Germany) and the corruption of power as mentioned earlier. When Oliver succumbs to the element’s properties it is symbolic of Russia succumbing to the war—though more importantly, how the citizens succumb to autocracy. The radio host symbolizes the idea of freedom and the corruption they live when he quotes Karl Marx.

Continuing, somewhere in a deserted Moscow we see deformed footprints formed in the snow that has blanketed the city. It is Oliver trying to reconstruct himself but to no avail. He continues to traverse through the snow storm with little effort due to his fog like form. He happens upon a young Vladimir Lenin cursing his father’s name (Ilya Ulyanov) in the storm. As Oliver grows near Lenin he feels his atoms beginning to unite, creating a tall male figure. Unable to control his new properties he chooses not to fight and let himself evolve. Foreign memories race through Oliver. They are Lenin’s memories from when he was a child. Mostly of the time spent with his father and the relentless academic pressure his father placed on him. Oliver’s foreign memories grow stronger in Lenin’s proximity. They eventually conclude with one last memory; the death of Ilya via a brain hemorrhage.

This marks the beginning of Russia’s lower class rising with the help of Oliver and ultimately Lenin. In the next few scenes we see how Oliver provides closure and affirmation to Lenin by utilizing his father’s image.

Oliver, now anthropomorphized as Ily, advances towards Lenin. Lenin screams in anger at the loss of his father. He fights the winds with his words and eventually sees a ghost like figure slowly approach him through the ravage winds and snow that saturate the air. It is Oliver, but what Lenin sees is an apparition of his father. Lenin cautiously engages Oliver: “Father?” Oliver is uncertain what to do with his new abilities. He feels inclined to do something good but does not know the right words: “Hey kid, why all the yelling?” Lenin, angered, answers back: “Because you left me! Mother and son! And with the only intention of progressing me as a scholar! Rather as a son!” Oliver feels this is too much for him, but with all of Lenin’s memories racing inside he feels inclined to say something with wisdom; “Lenin, do not undermine my actions, for you might undermine your own.” Oliver dissolves into the winds and leaves. Lenin looks into the storm, uncertain of what just happened.

Oliver’s first encounter in his new form sets the exigency of the film. He learns that his abilities allow him to take a ghostly shape of people’s idols. The more familiar he becomes with himself the more active he participates in the lives of Russia’s citizens. He applies his abilities to the greater good of his nation by bringing hope and reason to the soldiers and potential leaders. I tried to accurately fallow the timeline between Dmitri Mendeleev up to the Russian Revolution. The man on the radio discussing the unarmed soldiers are accurate occurrences during the war that I found through my sources. And the relationship with Lenin and his farther are also as accurate as the sources I could find. By utilizing a mix of history and fiction I attempted to create a fun perspective about what helped influence Russia’s Revolution. Since everyone sees Oliver as people of their past, rather than what he is, it implies that the citizens of Russia were united and influenced on their own accord. The film fallows Oliver’s journey between 1915 to the day of the Russian Revolution on March 8, 1917. His quest illustrates his attentiveness to the lower class and how he uses his powers to help influence reform. Though the film largely develops around Oliver’s contribution it will still grasp the power of the Russian Revolution. It will demonstrate that citizens of any nation, when united, can overcome any regime or political corruption. By the end of Russia’s Revolution Oliver will continue to traverse the globe to help suppressed citizens with his abilities. The film ends in 1922 when Lenin is Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union. Oliver takes on a disfigured shape of his father while standing on a tall mountain overlooking Moscow. He disintegrates into the winds and travels west, implying his destination will take him to the United States of America. Then the film ends.

 

 

Work Cited

“Dmitri Mendeleev.” History of the Periodic Table. Royal Society of Chemist , n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <http://www.rsc.org/education/teachers/resources/periodictable/pre16/develop/mendeleev.htm&gt;.

Barker, Chris. Cultural studies: theory and practice. London: SAGE, 2000. Print.

“Vladimir Lenin biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <http://www.biography.com/people/vladimir-lenin-9379007&gt;.

“Dmitri Mendeleev.” History of the Periodic Table. Royal Society of Chemist , n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <http://www.rsc.org/education/teachers/resources/periodictable/pre16/develop/mendeleev.htm&gt;.

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My Super Hero: Klosure

 

 

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This is an accurate depiction of my hero!

 

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This is my…poor representation of my hero.

 

1. My superhero’s name is Klosure. His real name is Oliver Haunt. He was born in Russia and grew up in central Russia. Born December 19th in 1832, he did not have many friends besides his parents, whom he spent most of his time with. He went through the common trial and tribulations of any child until he had a freak accident in his father’s lab. This was when he was trying to find closure with himself after his parents died.

2.  His abilities do not allow him a physical form, instead he appears as an apparition that is sometimes shapeless, until he interacts or encounters a physical person. At which point his ghost like figure will take on a form that resembles a person or thing that is familiar with his subject. His abilities were of a freak accident when he encountered a steel test tube marked “119” (an unlisted element in the periodic table) in his father’s lab. It focused Oliver’s atoms and molecular structure into a ghastly figure.

3. Klosure attempts to provide closure to the unfortunate people of his country that have lost a loved one or belief. His time in history is during a fragile moment for Russia. Their defeat in war and stricken poverty has made everyone giving up hope with moving on or attempting to rebuild themselves. Since Klosure appears as an apparition, people are uncertain if he is of science, faith or both. He has no physical enemy other than the irony of his motives because he has never had closure for his parent’s death. His parents were buried alive in an avalanche. Their bodies were never recovered and Klosure can never seem to find them despite his abilities.

4. Russia’s courage is at its lowest, where the country seems to be at its hands and knees; Klosure attempts to deliver confidence to Russia’s society. He helps form a faithful bond amongst the lower and upper social class in an attempt to rebuild their nation. Furthermore, I attempted to create Oliver as a symbol for his country. In my brief story (below) he represents his nation; first falling against an unknown foreigner, and then his story begins his trials of ascension.

Klosure: A brief history.

Klosure, formally known as Oliver Haunt, was born during a cold Russian winter on a Thursday, December 19th 1832. The hospital that birthed him was called Oblako Shest’, translated as Cloud Six in English. In the city of Ischezat, is where Oliver’s forthcomings are rumored to have converged. Evelyn, his mother, was a tall woman that would intimidate most eyes with her broad shoulders and long legs. She held a career as a psychologist, and was a frequent volunteer at the local ministry. His father, Adam, was a well-regarded scientist for his time. He studied alongside the father of elements: Dmitri Mendeleev who will later take full credit for creating the Periodic Table, despite the heavy contribution on Adam’s end. Oliver’s teen years were more faithfully shared with his mother: attending the ministry and treating the weak was how Oliver gained an appreciation for life and an even greater appreciation for God. Though Adam was not always supportive of his wife’s influence on Oliver, he would always extend Oliver’s curiosity when he invited him into his laboratories. And Oliver, after spending much of his time with his mother, knew the origins of her name, now inquired about his fathers. “Adam, son, at first glance my name may seem to compliment the relationship of your mother and I. But there is more than biblical influence to my name. In fact my name’s origin is quite the contrary.” Oliver sat himself in his father’s leather recliner with his hands stuffed under his legs. “And what might that be?” Oliver asked. “Your grandfather was also a man of science,” said Adam, “and like my own ambitions in this world, he too studied the earth’s elements to a ‘T.’ He named me after the universe, on behalf of what everything is made of; atoms.”

Oliver’s 30th birthday took a horrible turn. His father and mother were buried alive during an avalanche. They were on their second mountain climb for the year, hoping to accomplish three. Their bodies were never recovered and neither did Oliver’s soul. He abandoned his home and spent many nights in his father’s lab. And when he grew tired of the cold tile floors he migrated to the old ministries of where his mother spent her warmer days. This is where he would pray. Oliver was never stagnant between the two locations, always switching between them. Sometimes he would spend months in the lab or years in the church.

Oliver, during a typical cold, Russian-storm, was fiddling with some books and portfolios in his father’s lab. It was nothing new to him, except that, oddly enough, he happened upon a steel test tube. Maybe it was the intense winds that knocked the bookcase over or faith that tipped its hat to Oliver—but one thing was certain; Oliver had happened upon a mystery. “119” marked the steel lid, and with pure curiosity Oliver opened the bottle. At first; nothing, but suddenly the tube’s weight had significantly increased. Oliver, for reasons beyond him could not seem to let go. He immediately fell, flat chested, on the ground. Soon his whole body felt as if he gained a thousand pounds. His clothes seemed to melt off his skin and every follicle of hair quickly succumbed to its own weight, and eventually it succumbed to gravity as well: each strand began to rip itself off Oliver’s body, leaving him a bare figure on the cold tiles. Oliver was struggling to stand, but not one muscle or one brow yielded to him. The steel tube had long begun to sink through the floor, bending the tiles to the shape of a large funnel. Oliver, on the edge of this limitless hole, fell through, his right hand, still gripping the tube, leading him into an abyss: a black hole.

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My Group Reflection

     Our group’s presentation encompasses the themes and symbolism of our focused text; “The Elephant Man” with a game show approach. Myself and group partner, Sydney, came up with an idea to incorporate the class into our discussion by mimicking the mechanics of the popular game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and calling ours “Who wants to be an Elephant Man.” We discussed that our game show will adopt the basic rules and principles of the original. For example, after dividing the class into four separate groups, we will allocate each group with one “Life Line” of the three “Life Lines” to choose from: the ‘50/50 Divider’ which eliminates 2 of the 4 possible answers to a question, the ‘30 second book peak’ which will allow a group to search their text for 30 seconds to find the answer of a question, and our last one, the freebie–which is essentially a free question pass. This last “Life Line” might be subject to change as it might promote an uneven strategy or advantage to any specific group when the questions become more difficult to answer. To promote an incentive for our classmate’s participation, Nicole presented the idea to award the winning group animal circus cookies (which makes a playful suggestion to John Merrick).  Krizel, I believe, offered to purchase the cookies.

     Furthermore, I and Sydney asked each member in the group to come up with 5 different questions with 4 possible answers to be applied to our game show. Myself and Sydney provided 18 sample questions of our own in an attachment email so that the rest of the group can have something to play off of and to avoid repeat questions. In our email we asked that each question of the 5 range in difficulty from easy to hard. Ultimately there was a healthy donation of sample questions amongst everyone in our group to be applied to our show. Later, as a group, we discussed what questions should make the final draft—everyone contributed a fair amount, concluding a total of 20 questions. Fallowing this debate we then emailed the questions to Jonathan to include in the PowerPoint he was making for our game.

     In addition, I helped emphasize Randi’s motivation to assemble group meetings and ideas that would be held at the Oviatt Library, so as to brainstorm among ourselves about our concerns. Anyone that could not make the meeting was later notified by email in hopes to relay the ideas developed from the members who met in person and, to also inquire any ideas they had of their own. This way there was an attempt to keep everyone in the group involved and up to date with the group’s interest or conflicts.

     Lastly, I made attempts to keep everyone’s contribution primarily focused on the groups’s agreed task—to emphasize our text in an entertaining way that incorporates the class while avoiding a lecture based approach—so as to keep our intentions linear rather than fragmented. Overall I believe every member of our group was allocated a fair amount of requests and, in return, provided a fair amount of work.

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Are we aware of what we just said?

On the topic of pop culture expectations advertisements, and ideals; here is a song that I feel describes a lot of the irony and superficiality that is rooted in the tween-trendy-tree. Listen to the lyrics.

As we all know, advertisement plays a huge role in American culture (specifically Los Angeles). The amount of thought, sophistication and cultural study that goes into an ad is quite commendable. Though, ads are not without their ulterior motive and sometimes that can be a bad thing.

Take, for instance, the Recent VMA awards featuring Miley Cyrus’s outrageous performance. At first I did not recognize any level of advertising during her number, or on her behalf (if she even intended to). It was the pursuing performance, by Lady Gaga, that made me yell “Now that’s how you do sexy!” and at the same time made realize how much I have absorbed from pop culture. I revisited Miley’s perverted performance on YouTube and could not help but ask myself; “why is this wrong?”

It is wrong because society has taught me to perceive that provocative can only be done a certain way—with advertisement at least. There is a certain expectation that comes with advertising the human body in a sexual way. It has to be flawless, thin, manicured, bold and attractive. I would like to think we all know how subjective the word attractive is while also acknowledging what social media defines as attractive. In my case, Miley does not come off as social-media-attractive and although her frame is thin it is not enough to save her the humiliation.

So what does all this mean to me, you and the rest of our culture? Well to anyone that feels absorbed by pop-culture, in any means, can agree that a preconceived idea has been carefully layered into our perception. Thereby eluding us to what we think we should like rather than what we should accept and love.

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My Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. My name is Steven Lipton and I am a transfer student from LAVC and a new resident to Northridge. Glendale is where I recently moved from and Van Nuys before that. Suffice to say; I would probably move back to Glendale after college due to its central location to everything. I am majoring in Business and English with an emphasis on Creative Writing. I find that some of the best ways to represent myself in a business setting is by utilizing a creative conscience and applying it to my communication skills. I work at UPS, and my job often requires me to not only represent my responsibilities but also my company. I hope to further my career in management through traditional and inventive means.

My college career has many gaps with attendance in my past and I feel I have returned to school with a stronger footing. At first I thought myself to be a nurse. And to get my feet wet I underwent the preliminaries to become an EMT back in 2006. This decision of mine was not motivated by heart and was more as a means to an end. After receiving my credentials finding a job was not difficult, though, the pay was difficult to accept. Furthermore, I did not expect myself to be so depressed with life at the end of each shift. Witnessing severe trauma patients had such a negative effect on me. Seeing as I am the type of person that often flirts with danger and more than often experiences the repercussions made me feel ironic to my reaction. I did not occupy myself as an EMT for very long (one week) and decided to focus primarily on my GED. That plan lasted for about 2 semesters after getting a second job alongside the military-esque environment of what is UPS. It was a small customer service gig that turned into a large three year vacation from school. In the summer of 2010 i took a few classes with little motivation to pass. I fell back into the gateway drug of small jobs and even smaller paychecks. Luckily, at UPS, my manager offered me a promotion and a chance for some new inspiration.

Over the course of about a year I learned a few things about myself; I like to read, I enjoy writing and I love riding motorcycles. I also saw success in where I could be at UPS and decided to take school more sternly. The Spring Semester of 2012 saw 15 units while the summer endured 9 and that Fall Semester another 15. I made a goal to further my career at UPS, or at least utilize what I have gained, and encourage my reading and writing skills. Although, me and reading have a complicated affair. Often my motivations to read a book will come when I have exhausted every other hobby I have: cycling, wood-work or working on my motorbike. In short; I’m attempting to re-arrange what I feel can help me as a better thinker, speaker and writer. I would like to think classes like this and others can help me achieve this.

Now here is where I am; a junior at CSUN, and I feel very welcomed to be accepted amongst the wonderful staff and students. Cheers!

 

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