競賽影片：The Great Gatsby (大亨小傳)
推薦作品：臺北市立第一女中 翁靖瑄 同學
Based on the classic, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the movie The Great Gatsby presents a mysterious story of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan through the eyes of our narrator, Nick Carraway.
It is in the Jazz Age, or the Roaring 20s in Long Island, New York that the story takes place. It is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. Rapid growth of economy is unprecedented, and so do the extremes. The absolute wealth and hope, and the absolute poverty and hopelessness are respectively represented by the eggs, and the valley of ashes. As the saying goes, money does not always bring happiness. The easy money and the extreme prosperity have made people crazy. How gorgeous and how chaotic is the world of the Roaring 20s!
The book itself is a masterpiece without a doubt. But there are several differences between the original book and the movie, which is the only yet overwhelming fly in the ointment. Gatsby is so violent and mad in the movie, yet in the book, he is a much more decent, deep and intimate gentleman. Parts of this film trample on Fitzgerald's obscure prose, turning the suggestively symbolic into the secular and flatly real. Other than that, the film does an excellent job pointing out the instrumental themes such as the green light, the valley of ashes, the eyes of T. J. Eckleburg, and the fundamental ideas of American dreams and its corruption. It also impresses the audience by addressing the rhetorical devices, for instance, the symbolism and the foreshadowing.
Nick’s attitude towards Gatsby is ambivalent and contradictory. At times he seems to disapprove of Gatsby’s excesses of manners and ethics, but he also romanticizes and admires Gatsby, describing his story in a nostalgic and melancholy tone. It demonstrates the sophistication of the characters, the story itself and the meanings behind.
Another significant motif of The Great Gatsby is The American Dream, which is originally about the discovery of happiness, but has somehow transferred into pursuing wealth by the 1920s; mistaken that money will bring happiness.
The relationship between Gatsby and Daisy is complicated. What kind of love is that of Gatsby’s to Daisy? “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.” I always find this passage the fundamental explanation of the story.
It all ends in the summer and all starts in the summer. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The Great Gatsby has been one of my favorite pieces of art of all time!