“You’re handed this precious gift, right? Each one of you granted redemption from the Creator – murderers, rapists, and molesters – all of you, you just have to repent, and God takes you into His bosom. In all the worlds in all the universe, no other creature can make such a boast, save man. It’s not fair. If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love.”
Dear Professor Ugoretz,
I love art. It is something that has always attracted me, that has always interested me. When I was younger, I used to dance, practice piano and play the clarinet. I was also actively part of my church’s choir as well as my elementary school’s extracurricular festivities filled with plays that would break out into song and dancing lessons from various cultures. I was for sure convinced that when I grew up I would be a famous singer or musician. After awhile, my interest in the arts manifested in new and exciting ways. It went from singing and dancing, to writing short stories and playing piano, to writing poems and drawing. Art has always seemed to be a big part of my life whether I realized it or not. This class and this project afforded me the opportunity to explore this interest further and it is for this reason that I loved this assignment.
When I was told that we had to connect a theme from one of the arts discussed in class to an outside art, I immediately knew I wanted to use movies. Movies have always been a huge aspect of my life, mostly because of my father and his obsession with them. I personally liked having to sit down and really think about how to connect a film I had seen and knew well enough to something we discussed in class. My idea for this project was inspired by a simple train ride home. I was sitting down and thinking about one of my favorite movies, Constantine. It suddenly hit me how everything could connect together. As I formed the connection, ideas for how to represent that connection in an artwork sprung to life. I instantly ripped my sketchbook from out of my bag and began forming drafts.
Constantine is a movie released in 2005 that revolves around two characters: John Constantine and Angela Dodson. In the film, John is a man who is blessed with the gift of sight, meaning that he can see things that are “otherworldly” including angels and demons. As a result of this gift, he becomes an exorcist of sorts, repelling and sending demons back to hell. Angela is a female police officer who also has the gift of sight that becomes awakened through her interaction with John. The two end up meeting and working together to stop Mammon, the son of Satan, from rising and gaining control of the Earth.
As the movie continues, the audience realizes that Mammon requires “divine” help in order to rise. We discover later on that Gabriel, one of God’s angels, had been secretly helping Mammon all along. When Constantine finally realizes this, he confronts Gabriel and demands to know why he decided to assist Mammon. He tells Constantine, “You’re handed this precious gift, right? Each one of you granted redemption from the Creator – murderers, rapists, and molesters – all of you, you just have to repent, and God takes you into His bosom. In all the worlds in all the universe, no other creature can make such a boast, save man. It’s not fair. If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love.” Gabriel is an essential angel. He is referred to consistently throughout the bible and has become a holy figure in some religions. In the film, the idea that it was this very Gabriel that tried to bring hell on Earth is a very powerful notion. Gabriel is supposed to be God’s faithful and humble servant. He is to be pure, decent and holy. In the end, however, we realize that he forsakes these ideals and gives in to his own cruelty and anger. He turns his back on everything simply because he believes “it’s not fair”. This is where I was able to make the connection between this film, the opera Tosca and the play Henry IV.
Each of these performances dealt with complex relationships and ideals. More importantly, each of these performances played with the idea of betrayal and how those who are in power, those who are supposed to represent what is good, right and fair are sometimes the most evil. Sometimes they are the ones who betray the very code they were responsible for up keeping. In Tosca, we see this with the character Scarpia. He, as the chief of police, is responsible for protecting the law. Instead, he abuses his power and tries to manipulate Tosca into sleeping with him.
The theme of betrayal is also evident in the play Henry IV. Specifically, it is seen in the character of the King Henry. In the play, the king was dealing with a political uprising. This uprising, however, was only caused because of the king’s failure to fulfill his promise and look out for the people who helped him to gain power in the first place. The king is not the only character in the play who represents the concept of betrayal however. By the end of the story, the audience witnesses Prince Harry make the same mistake his father made. He comes into power and decides to desert his friends who were there with him during the political uprising. He casts them aside and embraces his newfound power. A king is supposed to stand up for his people and do what is best for them. They are supposed to be representative of justice and what is right. We see, however, that both King Henry and Prince Harry forget these duties and responsibilities once they are in power.
I enjoyed this project very much. I was granted the opportunity to not only use one of my favorite movies, but also to put my art skills to the test and create something unique. It was a lot of work, but in the end, I was able to have fun with it. Thank you Professor Ugoretz, not only for a wonderful and fun project, but for an amazing semester.