Portrayals of Conflict Against Authority

The theme of challenging authority is timeless. Its portrayal in film is a testament to human will and moral. Within the theme of conflict with authority- whether that authority is in the form of a person or an abstract concept- there exist many subheadings and expressions. Our exhibit will feature articles analyzing to what ends the theme is conveyed in films made in the early half of the 20th century. We will also put this theme into an historical perspective, considering the events occurring in the world at the time of their filming, and analyzing to what extent these historical events inspired the manner in which the theme of challenging authority is portrayed.

This topic holds significance in the fact that films are a portrayal of humanity and speak to our consciousness. The theme of challenging authority is a representation of human agency. The theme is furthered in films throughout the century, each film giving a different perspective on what it means to “challenge authority” and thus giving individual stances on what it means to be human. The characters in each film are striving for different results, but the ways in which these results are achieved (or not achieved) resound with the same determination. Collectively, these films project an image of human morale.

We hope that visitors to our exhibit will leave with a better grasp of the ways in which challenging authority is presented in films throughout the first half of the century. We also intend for them to realize the significance of this theme in terms of films being an extension and representation of human consciousness. The purpose of this exhibit is to expose viewers to this theme in an historical context as well, with hopes of providing them with a better perspective of the ways in which films are inspired and affected by current events relative to their filming. Ultimately, we hope to give visitors an experience that will bring them closer to the things that motivate us as humans, and how our individuality and humanity is expressed in the things we rebel against and especially the ways in which we do so.

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