Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Times of Harvey Milk (Documentary Mini Project)


  1. I think Gabriella did an excellent job explaining the main premise of the movie, which was a brief biography of Harvey Milk. Up until today I had no idea or have never heard of Harvey Milk! Gabriella provided clear background of his life up unto his death. Gabriella was extremely prepared and confident with her film, even though I have never heard of Harvey Milk before, I felt like I knew his whole life story after watching her analysis of the film. There was never a moment of doubt with her thoughts about the film. The only weakness I would have to say after watching her youtube video was the sound quality which I completely understand because I was having a hard time with my own sound quality due to the tablets not being the best state of the art equipment. I felt very moved though with the information she provided, that an openly homosexual man, during a time of controversy, was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. That even though homosexuals were depicted as outcast he stuck up for his beliefs until he was shot and killed. Despite his short career in politics Milk became an icon to the people in San Francisco. I learned that Harvey Milk made the most of his local position on the Board of Supervisors serving the citizens and trying to effect change, which obviously isn’t a very easy thing to accomplish. Gabriella also related this back to class talking about Milk being a liberal by putting equality before order, which is a main theme described in our textbook. She also related it back to our textbook by describing the effects of local politics compared to state or national politics. The film sounded very interesting to me and I would gladly watch it, I love watching biography’s and finding out more about a person’s history. Gabriella did thoroughly explain the strengths and weaknesses of the film. That the director of the film tended to portray a bias toward Harvey Milk. I find this true in a lot of biography’s that directors tend to side with one person over another. I believe it is very challenging to do to provide an interesting documentary without showing any biases. It is probably what made The Times of Harvey Milk to be such a moving good movie was that the director portrayed it in that light on purpose to keep the audience engaged. I even felt a little bit moved after watching Gabriella’s youtube video, not going lie, that a local man fought for change despite controversy against him. Gabriella also stated ways onto which to make the Times of Harvey Milk an even better movie, by depicting other citizens during this time who did not support Harvey Milk and the lack of describing the Mayor Moscone’s murder. Without even seeing The Times of Harvey Milk I felt like I received a well enough grasp on the whole concept of the movie as I have stated earlier.

  2. I think that this review did a fantastic job of explaining the main point of the film. The film followed Harvey Milk's life, from an early age until his untimely death. It also delved into the idea of whether certain social orders, specifically heterosexuality, by public policy. I think that the reviewer did a really good job of focusing on all aspects of the information on Harvey Milk presented in the film. She did not just talk about his work with equal rights regardless of sexuality, she also talked about the other kinds of equal rights that Harvey Milk worked for, which I think is really important. I also like how she related the themes discussed in the film to what we've learned in our class, calling Milk an "ideological liberal" which is a great connection to our class and makes the film seem more connected to what we've learned. She also mentions Milk's part in the "home rule" idea of government, relating the film to our discussion of federalism, which is an interesting perspective that I have not really associated with Milk before.
    The reviewer was clearly very prepared. She did five minutes of the review in a single take, which I think is quite a feat. This means that she was able to talk for that long without tripping up over her words or making any serious mistakes. I think that this shows that she either put a lot of time into preparing and getting it right before she filmed, or she spent a lot of time making the video and was willing to retape several times if she made mistakes. Either way, I think that it shows how much work she put into the video. She did make one mistake almost exactly at the five minute mark, but she made the clarification in text on the video, which shows that she went back to watch the video over and realized her mistake. She then fixed it rather than just leaving it in, which would have been much easier. This further shows that she put a lot of time and effort in her video review.
    Based on all of the information that was given by Gabriella at the beginning of her review, I was really surprised that the film was made in 1984. The 1980s were the height of the AIDs epidemic, and I know that public opinion of the homosexual community at the time because of this was very low. Due to the lack of understanding of the virus, many people blamed the gays for the outbreak. I think that the fact that this film was able to be made during such a time makes it extremely important, and its respect for Milk and his movement during such a time is a huge strength. Gabriella says that the film was overly biased towards Milk, but I would argue that if the film had spent doo much time focusing on his flaws, because of the period the film was released, many people would only focus on those things, so the main point of the film would be missed. I think that another huge strength of the film and the review is the respectful nature of the discussion of equal rights for homosexual people. Our culture tends to show less respect for homosexual people than people of other minority groups, and I think that it is really great that this was so respectful.