Author Topic: The Master - SPOILERS!  (Read 69841 times)

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ono

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #105 on: September 25, 2012, 01:01:18 AM »
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Also, what is with the dragon analogy during his wedding speech? I didn't get that part at all.
I've seen it once, and will be seeing it again tomorrow.  May as well comment a little briefly before I go more in depth with what will probably be a different interpretation than most people here.

First look, there are two key scenes important to understanding The Master.  Doc: When Freddie first joins the Dodds for dinner, Lancaster gives a speech about taming a dragon, doing with it what you will, then getting it to play dead.  That, in essence, is what Dodd does with Freddie.  Incidentally, Freddie at the end of the film was supposed to be covered in tattoos.  He was not.  Now then, the stereotypical tattoo image most people go to first is that of a dragon.  PTA included descriptions here of the tattoos, but did not include the dragon imagery, nor was the dragon monologue included.  So that's mere speculation expanding upon the Freddie as dragon motif.

Finally, Lancaster intimates to Freddie that if he ever finds a way to live life without a Master, do come and tell him.  Lancaster doesn't believe it's possible.  The film is about vice, about the crutches people use to get by after something has happened.  Most people have had this trauma, and so most people are buyers to those who would sell.  Freddie is both.  There's the postulate.  I'll confirm tomorrow night.

Earlier in the thread, someone said the set design was inspired by ACO.  It was nice for that to be confirmed for me because after all that had transpired I couldn't help but think that that was exactly what as going on.  "Freddie was cured alright."  The protagonist having sex with the naked woman on top in profile, the only difference this time real instead of imagined, in private.

DocSportello

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #106 on: September 25, 2012, 01:13:46 AM »
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"Freddie was cured alright."  The protagonist having sex with the naked woman on top in profile, the only difference this time real instead of imagined, in private.

Fuck yes that's totally another one. 


Also, I just wanted to say... "Freddie: Sailor of the seas - You pay no rent, you go where you please". That's the line for me>

It might not be the exact way he said it but that little rhyme was amazing. That whole final exchange is deeply heartbreaking to me. It leaves me hollow. When Freddie has to wipe his eyes when he's singing to him. Holyfuckingshit this movie was worth the wait.

socketlevel

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #107 on: September 25, 2012, 01:29:22 AM »
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Also, what is with the dragon analogy during his wedding speech? I didn't get that part at all.


I think that's kind of the point, as I believe Freddie doesn't fully get it either. I think this scene shows how Dodd is a little wacky and/or kind of a nerdy dude who spent a lot of his life fantasizing. I think a man who comes up with this kind of nonsense doctrine is: one part lord of the rings nerd; one part buck rogers fan; one part substance abuser; one part mentally ill; and four parts charismatic individual.

Freddie is very much as confounded as you were watching it, yet the vigor of the speech is what seduces him. Dodd hints at mystical elements while spending the majority of his time loosely tying it into promoting positive energy. It's a poor metaphor that grounds itself with self help principles. This is classic evangelical rhetoric, yet only differs in the fact that it's cliched science fantasy as opposed to biblical.

This scene also hints at where the religion is headed, after the movie takes place. Dodd is starting to lose his grasp on reality. OT3 for LRH was his massive departure in form, but he probably first started having thoughts about xenu before he released that historical expansion to the religion.

As stated before Freddie is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side he's utterly enamored with Dodd and wants focus in his life, yet on the other he finds a lot of it hard to swallow. A more direct speech by Dodd would lean too far in the hard to swallow category, for not only Freddie but everyone in attendance. Slow indoctrination is the key, and so is kissing issues rather than attacking them head on. This is much like how for many years people in Scientology didn't know about OT3 walking in off the street. They would have clearly turned away as fast as they came in. first you have to help them in their own lives because it always goes down better with a bit of sugar. I'm not even sure Dodd is conscious of doing any of this, he might just have an inherent knack for it rather than control over his charisma.
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samsong

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #108 on: September 25, 2012, 08:17:55 AM »
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Oh, the gaps and mysteries definitely merit discussion. I didn't mean to discourage that. I just don't think they should be used against the film, to describe those parts as "shoddy storytelling" or "dumb" or "lazy" (samsong's words). I think we should take a moment to figure things out before we jump to those conclusions.

i used those words to describe very specific moments in the film, not as generalized platitudes about the gaps and mysteries that exist throughout the film.  in fact i think i've acknowledged more than once the elusive nature of the film and that it, for the most part, is a good thing.  i still stand by those statements regarding those specific scenes and feel like i backed them up with a decent amount of reason.  they certainly aren't hasty conclusions that came as a lack of thought.

i've seen it a second time and, sure enough, i love the film.  the reservations remain the same but i guess i don't mind them as much, and i felt the emotional impact of the film tenfold and feel like its ideas were more lucid. 

the manuscript scene, i really can't tell you anything about and i really don't think anyone can.  it's certainly... cool?  it honestly wasn't that bothersome when i saw it the first time around but it was brought it by someone and thinking in thinking about it, it did seem quite random.  it's an easier pill to swallow the second time around, especially since it does keep in line with dodd's bizarre persona -- i buy that he would bury his work in a remote area until it was ready to be unveiled.  there was a reading though of it being an act of showmanship/peddling of horseshit, and i find that to be pretty farfetched.  that he would go that far just to try to get into freddie's head is absurd to me.  but also what i found compelling the first time and even more so this second viewing is how vague that aspect of dodd is, in that the film refuses to judge dodd or the cause.  films don't exist in a vacuum and the parallels to scientology are unmistakable but i don't think we're supposed to let that inform our impressions of the characters in the film.  dodd, as he exists in the film, is a charismatic leader of a belief system of his own creation, sure, but it's never made clear in the film that he's knowingly in it for monetary gain.  if he's a snake oil salesman he's one that believes in the oil as well.  i really admire how pta managed to truly use (an analog for) scientology as a texture of the period instead of resorting to an indictment of an easy target.  kent jones spends a lot of time detailing the history of schools of thought, religions and cults that mark america's past and the way its infiltrated its culture.  to view dodd, as the film does, as part of that lineage and as a man trying to make sense of the world he lives in instead of a con man/creator of a cult is as herculean a humanist effort as oliver stone achieved with nixon.  that alone makes this movie more than worthwhile.

also dodd's affection for freddie and their bond is something i became more acutely attune with this time around.  while it's interesting to view their relationship as master and dog, the thing is, they're both men.  there's a moment during that first processing scene, where freddie starts to recall and sing the song that doris sang to him, when dodd's face emits such compassion and love that it really does capture and convey that feeling of when we make those kinds of connections in our own lives.  it's entirely ineffable and intoxicating, and the film does a lovely job of evading any easy answers regarding that.  it just feels true.  thought it a little on the nose when dodd would say things like "good boy" and "you're an animal" but i think that's more in keeping with dodd's character and the way he talks versus pta saying anything overt about that relationship.  to me it isn't analogous to anything except that inexplicable sensation of when you make a real connection to another human being.

the motorcycle scene does still strike me as random.  as far as i can, tell its intentions are to allow for homages to melvin and howard and lawrence of arabia (70mm!!!) and make for a picturesque way of having freddie run away.  perhaps the randomness is the point, though.  the outing doesn't seem to be an exercise but rather really just a reprieve for the family -- father takes the kids out to play.  and as inexplicable as frankie and dodd's connection is, so is their parting.  i do love that moment when elizabeth cheers for freddie and clark shoots her a look. 

as for the movie theater dream, the phone call was far more effective as i was no longer caught up in the strangeness of it and really paid attention to what was being communicated.  if the first line of that conversation "i miss you" only damn near broke my heart, the way freddie reacts to that utterance, the gentle, desperate hope in his voice when he asks "how did you find me?" absolutely decimated it.  dodd's words in that dreamed phone call is the loving beckoning of the prodigal son's father (more on this later) and such a beautiful visualization of freddie's dire need for companionship, that his subconscious has resorted to wish fulfillment.  i'll say now that it's a brilliant scene.  to a certain extent.

i still wish there was something to show us that freddie knew they were in england before the dream so that his knowledge of their whereabouts doesn't just come to him out of nowhere, something to show us that his subconscious is being informed by reliable information.  nothing about that kind of prescience rings true to me, nothing before this suggests that freddie is prone to premonitions, and i don't think it's something you can tie into dodd's comment to freddie earlier in the film when he says something about how familiar freddie is.  that's a line/moment that does have truth to it.  how many times have we heard/felt that in our actual lives?  then tell me how often you've gone on to dream about that person after they've become estranged and you learn about their exact location, and it happens to be correct.  that scene certainly says a lot about their bond but it's a moment that's entirely freddie's.  it's not like dodd was simultaneously having a dream where he was saying those lines to freddie.  it's purely a fabrication of freddie's subconscious.  that being the case, that he learns that they're in england in the dream and that he suddenly ends up there and that there is in fact a school in the name of the cause is still a lazy narrative device.  THERE IS NOTHING IN THE FILM TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE.  any interpretation of it is speculative.  maybe that's the point, for people to make of it what they will, and i don't see it as anything but a convenience.  i will say the emotional weight of that scene does carry it through the second time around but i still consider it a rather glaring flaw.

another one of the many things that struck me as odd about freddie arrival in england is val's appearance.  i didn't really know what to make of it the first time around but seeing it again rendered it as one of the saddest details in the third act.  he approaches in a long shot with soft focus, and as he nears, freddie's hopes dissolve as quickly as he comes into focus.  the prodigal son has already returned.  there isn't room for freddie.  it cements the irreconcilability of dodd and freddie's relationship before they even see each other.  when they do speak, it's as sad and as painful as the end of a relationship gets.  they seem to anticipate each other's words, making futile attempts to convince one another that there's more for them.  dodd's song then becomes a death knell/tribute to their relationship that very deliberately recalls doris's song to freddie earlier in the film.

it never occurred to me that the shot of freddie and the english girl fucking was reminiscent of the last shot of a clockwork orange, and i think that's fucking awesome so thanks to whoever pointed that out.  the ending, i always thought was great but it was so much more powerful this second viewing. 

one question about a minor detail.  when freddie asks peggy about elizabeth, she says, "dfc."  (dcf?)  what the shit does that mean?

md

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #109 on: September 25, 2012, 09:29:23 AM »
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Somewhere in the world Jeremy Renner is facepalming his rich ass. 
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malkovich

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #110 on: September 25, 2012, 10:18:25 AM »
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It's hard for me to even fathom this movie without Joaquin, much less with Jeremy Renner as Freddie.

Also, i love and agree with the idea that the gaps suggest that the characters live outside of the film. The deleted scenes from the trailers/teasers suggest this too. A complaint I've heard/read often is that the film was basically two good actors trying to make the most of a weak script. That bothers me. Do you think it's just because people aren't as "in the know" (i guess?) as others and know that the structure of the film was largely, if not entirely constructed in the editing room? With the amount of footage scrapped, PTA could've added more of a plot if he wanted to. It's weird to me that people aren't seeing this as a conscious decision and more of a "this is all we got *shrug*, sorry" type thing instead. I dunno. Honestly, the amount of criticism being leveled at the film by moviegoers confuses me. None of it seems particularly valid. For people that disliked or even hated it, the reasons given were always that either

A) they expected it to be more about Scientology
B) it was "boring" or "pointless"

or

C) (everyone's favorite) "pretentious garbage"

At least I can sort of understand the idea of someone disliking certain scenes because it didn't really make sense to them (the manuscripts, the motorcycles, the movie theater) but the rest just seems to be people resisting the film through and through, y'know?
 
Quote
dodd's words in that dreamed phone call is the loving beckoning of the prodigal son's father (more on this later) and such a beautiful visualization of freddie's dire need for companionship, that his subconscious has resorted to wish fulfillment.

That's what I'm saying, man! Ugh. Heartbreaking.


Quote
one question about a minor detail.  when freddie asks peggy about elizabeth, she says, "dfc."  (dcf?)  what the shit does that mean?

Does she? Doris' mother says something similar about Doris when Freddie visits her following the motorcycle scene. I tried to look it up when I got home but nothing came up that would connect, really.

I'm seeing it again tomorrow. I'm excited, having all of this subtext in the back of my mind now.

edit: posting from my phone fucked things up a bit. fixed now.

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #111 on: September 25, 2012, 10:19:09 AM »
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Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Cloudy

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #112 on: September 25, 2012, 11:08:55 AM »
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A great pick-up from the film:

"Some films have subtle overtones; 'The Master' is a cacophony of slight glimpses and echoes that requires time to process. At every turn, you’re first forced to question and reconsider how the surface action links to the broader strokes. The more I worked over the story, the more I recognized the elements of a tragedy. By the end of the film, we realize that Freddie is a man drowning in regret. When he hops on the motorcycle, and is given the keys to his freedom, he finally follows Peggy’s advice and imagines something in front of him -- a goal with which he can move forward. But by the time he arrives at the house of his old sweetheart, in hopes of forging that reunion he has long thought about, Freddie realizes that he’s far too late. It took too long. She’s gone." -Time

Reelist

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #113 on: September 25, 2012, 11:10:40 AM »
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one question about a minor detail.  when freddie asks peggy about elizabeth, she says, "dfc."  (dcf?)  what the shit does that mean?

you misheard it. She actually said 'DTF'
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matt35mm

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #114 on: September 25, 2012, 12:13:55 PM »
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Regarding the dragon speech, it's led into this way:

"Marriage, previous to The Cause, was awful. (laughter from the crowd) Let me put it like this: there's a dragon, I have a lasso, I whip it up and drag it to the ground. I wrestle with it. Now it's on a leash. It stays on command. Next we're going to teach it to roll over and play dead."

At first I thought it had meant that The Cause allows us to tame the dark emotions and animal nature within ourselves, and we can control it. But on second viewing, he seems to be trying to describe marriage. I can't say I really understand it, if that is the case. The way he leads into it suggests that marriage previous to The Cause is like a dragon, and that The Cause has been able to tame and shape something about marriage. Though nothing in the movie really indicates that marriage in The Cause is so different from marriage outside of The Cause.

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #115 on: September 25, 2012, 12:47:55 PM »
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For me it was the naked sing along that reminded me most of Kubrick. It brought back feelings from EWS for obvious reasons but I could also see Alex from Clockwork imagining those girls frolicking about. So cool.

best use of an old naked lady since 'The Shining'
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Neil

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #116 on: September 25, 2012, 01:04:06 PM »
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So after a second viewing and reading this thread here are a couple thoughts that may pepper into what some of the rest of you have been saying.

*Verbal Vomit Begins*

I'll start with the dragon speech.  Here's my best guess with regards to the film. We're programmed against monogamy with relation to our animal instincts.  We claim that reason can dig us out of that hole, REASON IS THE LASSO THAT WRANGLES THAT BEAST IN AND ALLOWS ONE TO NOT ACT ON YOUR URGES AND INSTINCTS.

 I don't think the fully explains the speech, but i think there's a lot to be said with regards to that, because dodd obviously struggles with this too, this is may have something to do with the questionable jerking off in the sink business and also that maybe his marriage was terrible before he made enough money to control his surroundings and thus problems. Once you harbor those you can focus on being civilized, it's tougher with strife and naysayers.  Success has given Dodd the opportunity to stay fucked up, away from criticism and surrounded by people who look to him as a messiah of sorts. 

With regards to Freddie beating up people for The Cause, and what this means;  Well I tend to draw a parallel to the fact that he killed a bunch of "Japs" for the United states.  I really don't see a difference in the two.  This is showing what Freddy knows and tells a lot about his character.  That he is a simple man or a, "silly animal," which is the line spoken after Freddy lets one rip in what is supposed to be a serious situation.

I'm not sure I find a need to discern what kind of animal Freddy can be interpreted as.  There are plenty of species in the Animal Kingdom that can come to have the traits of a dog, my point is we've "civilized" many different species and built relationships based on loyalty, camaraderie etc all the same.  Freddy simply put, is not a civilized human being. Through Dodd's perspective this means that, he's not maximizing his potential as such, and this is part of Dodd's why Dodd values Freddie as a subject or experiment.  More importantly, Freddy is a psychologically damaged man, and Dodd is certainly aware of the post war, nuclear age, that he describes to John Moore. I mentioned this in my first post in this thread, I believe this is an important part of the film, although you're not constantly reminded of it, we need to embrace that he is psychologically unstable and this guides him through his journey, which can be shown when he goes and brags to the master about beating up john Moore, He's looking for confirmation about doing the right things in life, for the community that's taken him in,  Again, he probably would've celebrated for his action in a militaristic context, that's why he's confused.  Oh, and the master refers to him as an animal then too.  I don't think this is too on the nose, or hitting you on the head.  It's a statement of fact.  We are animals, and sometimes we don't like to be reminded of it.

I do like what samsong brought to the table with this idea of Dodd being genuine.  I don't see much sleaze or authenticity in Dodd and that's one facet of the film I find outstanding in its execution, yet PTA presents it so effortlessly.  The honest and objective(ish) portrayal of a cult leader.  Sure he's four parts charismatic etc, but Dodd has an understanding about the human condition and what we're prone to do, for better or for worse.

I believe that with Dodd's speech at the end saying, "when you've found out how to live without a master; any master, be sure to let US know, for you would be the first person in history to achieve this..." or something along those lines;  This is the point of the film to me in a lot of ways, because Dodd is actually right about The Cause to an extent. The longest lasting religions adhere to Darwin's theory of evolution when it comes time to parish or prosper. Specifically in the cases such as Calvinism and Catholicism we see that over time they adapted their teachings to wider (poorer) audiences even if there were some contradictory changes made.

Dodd at least has figured out that people latch on to things, and this does include colonial attitudes, or civilized modes of being.  We're all at the mercy of some kind of approach that was impinged upon us. The Cause is just like anything, with enough faith (or ignorance), you can let something rule you, and if it promotes positive living, then geez, it very well may be a good thing despite it being based on nothing sensible.  We do this, all the time.  What are our Masters?  What is our Cause. Literally and metaphorically with regards to the film.  The use of "cause" here is just brilliant.

The things that rule Freddy's are so simple that Dodd actually has a special project on his hands.  Almost like he gets to start out with a man still in the state of nature.  Freddy's obsesses over sexual desires and the film is spent balancing his masculine actions with tears linked to moments of self actualization and times where he is actually opening himself up to be vulnerable (from what i understand the 50's was a time when people were more reserved in their actions).  Earlier while being interrogated by an officer about a crying fit, he tries to defend his actions, justify what had happened, rather than opening up to the authority figure, but in the processing sequences we catch glimpses of a different character.

I find the film to be very hetero-centric, and when the back drop is the 1950's, you contrast the normative behaviors of that time and how shunning Freddy's behaviors would be under the spotlight of that era and then you really start to see the dilemma of man; that the Hopelessly inquisitive is primal at it's core and this rage can surface due to the hopelessness sometimes ("PIG FUCK," PSH yelling at Dern-ski).

Think about how frowned upon our introduction to freddy would be to those rich women that Dodd is looking to get funding from. First, He talks about lighting on fire and stabbing his balls with an ice pick (THIS IS OUR INTRODUCTION TO THIS MAN (ROFL) to get rid of crabs and then he fucks a sand woman, masturbates then passes out next to her.  SO much to be said about this, yet it really speaks for itself a great deal.


AS FOR THE MOTORCYCLE SCENE - Dodd says, "we're playing a game, it's called pick a point."  Freddy Picks his point.  He listens to Dodd. Freddy's point is Doris.  It is pretty bizarre, and stylistically/aesthetically gorgeous, but is it really any more random than making Freddy pick two points and have him go to it and describe it? Freddy wants to get the maters approval, so maybe he's taking the "game" much more serious that The Master intended.

Geographically speaking, Where is Freddie cutting the cabbage, because isn't it some place in china?  this may explain the, "gone to china," section and also why Dodd sings it.  If I'm not mistaken, there is an outfit difference between when Freddy runs away from the oriental men because the alleged poisoning, and when he gets on Dodd's boat.    I'd like this confirmed, but I payed close attention to his clothing on my second viewing and there's a lot to be questioned especially with regards to Naval sequences, and just the linear progression of the film by watching his outfits.  There are these spaces and gaps along with references to Freddy traveling all over, not to mention he's a seaman etc.  DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.


That's all my nonsense for today folks.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 10:44:04 PM by Neil »
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Tictacbk

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #117 on: September 25, 2012, 02:11:37 PM »
+1
Geographically speaking, Where is Freddie cutting the cabbage, because isn't it some place in china?  this may explain the, "gone to china," section and also why Dodd sings it. 

I'm pretty sure this took place somewhere in central/northern California and the other workers were just immigrants from various other places.   I think the time gap between when he runs away from the farm and when he gets on Dodd's yacht is relatively small.   Part of the reason he hops on the boat is to escape (physically and mentally) that he may have killed that old farmer.

md

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #118 on: September 25, 2012, 02:51:59 PM »
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A really strange parallel just occurred to me: Dodd serenading Freddie with "I'd Like to Get You on a Slow Boat to China" & Freddie's "Gone to China" message from one of the trailers.

On the surface it seems like Freddie should be writing that message on some bulletin board in the Master's school as he leaves at the end. But that's not the case — he's dressed in a sailor suit and is obviously younger. Which on its own makes absolutely no sense. It only makes sense as a figurative (and almost Lynchian) connection to Dodd's serenade. Sort of an answer to it... like he's gone to China by himself, not on a slow boat, and not with Dodd.



The 'Gone to China' scene happens in the beginning of the movie, according to the original scrip that was leaked years ago.  He sneaks out of the infirmary, writes the notes, and we cut to a scene of him as a photographer in a department store. 

Also,



Clearly PTA was inspired by this intriguing character for the Master.  :yabbse-grin:
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Neil

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Re: IF YOU'VE SEEN THE MASTER TALK ABOUT IT HERE - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
« Reply #119 on: September 25, 2012, 03:28:16 PM »
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Geographically speaking, Where is Freddie cutting the cabbage, because isn't it some place in china?  this may explain the, "gone to china," section and also why Dodd sings it. 

I'm pretty sure this took place somewhere in central/northern California and the other workers were just immigrants from various other places.   I think the time gap between when he runs away from the farm and when he gets on Dodd's yacht is relatively small.   Part of the reason he hops on the boat is to escape (physically and mentally) that he may have killed that old farmer.

He does mention the geographic location during the first processing scene, but JP's delivery is too quick for me to pick up on it, i'll have to look for it when I go again.  Either way, he does not run away with that jacket on, which he has on when he gets on the boat.  Obviously he could have stolen it.  Hmm.
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