Liberty Heights film and social change

The film Liberty Heights and social change
Liberty Heights is a comedy-drama that was released in 1999. Barry Levinson, an American screenwriter, actor, and filmmaker was the film’s writer and director. Barry was born in the United States in the year 1942 in Baltimore, Maryland, and has worked in the film industry since 1970. In addition to Liberty Heights, Barry has appeared in a host of other comedies and dramas during his career, many of which have earned critical acclaim and won awards. Liberty Heights is a semi-autobiographical account of Barry’s childhood years in Baltimore during the 1950s. As Barry depicts in his movies in 1954, a Jewish family the Kurtzman’s lives in the forest part in the northwest part of Baltimore a suburban neighborhood. As the film begins of the movies, Nate is portrayed as the father of the Jewish family owning a small theater and participated in community numbers racket. On the other hand, the wife Ada was taking of the household. The other members of the family were Ben who was about to finish high school and Van who was at the University of Baltimore. Back at school, Ben met Sylvia and an African American girl who was newly enrolled in the school following the integration of the district. Following a light interaction with Sylvia, Ben develops feelings for Sylvia. Their mutual love for jazz, James Brown a celebrity of the time and little Richard, made their bond and relation even closer. Upon learning of the relationship between Ben and Sylvia, Sylvia’s father an affluent medical doctor forbids them from spending time together and disapproves the relationship.

Later on, as the film progresses, Nate’s theater is faced with some financial problems, and to boost the returns and the additional bonus number was added so as to increase the pay off (Levinson). One of the local drug dealers Melvin makes a huge bet and hits the number because the win was big, Nates was not able to pay off Melvin hence forcing him to give out a share of the business. Nate was giving Melvin a business number; Melvin claimed that Nates was trying to Jew him out his money and as a result, a fight breaks between the bodyguards. The fight between Melvin and Nates goes on to the extent that he abducts Ben and Sylvia as they were leaving a movie concert as payback to Nates for denying him his money following the huge win. In the movies, there is a huge contrast between the various races of people living in the neighborhood with ethnocentrism which is apparent among the Jewish.

In liberty and heights, there are three principal subcultures presented throughout the film. Forest Park was mostly inhabited by the Jewish and the blacks, these re the two primary cultural groups that have unique beliefs and practices. However, there is a group of young people who do not ascribe to the hard lines of their parents regarding association with people from other races. In fact, there was a sharp difference between the Jews and black’s, and it was not appropriate for the two groups to intermarry or have romantic relationships. The teenagers defiled the cultural practices and were able to intermingle together, and they did not pay attention to their parent’s advice that was aimed at identifying them with their race. For instance, despite Bens parents hating the fact that his outfit resembled that of Adolf Hitler, Ben went ahead to use the costume during the Halloween celebrations.

Like in any ideal society, the liberty and heights film, portrays both the primary and secondary relationships. A primary relationship involves close friends, family and loved ones who are deemed important one’s life calling for an investment in time and emotions. On the other hand, a secondary relationship is those that are not so close that might include their members in the community who don not play a much role in one’s life directly. In the film, primary relationships include that of Sylvia and his parents, and that of Ben and his family. In the movies in both families, the parents and their children relate well with a lot of respect with each for the parents taking their rightful role in guiding their children and providing for their families. On the other hand, the secondary relationship includes that of the blacks with the Jews and Nates with his newly found business partner little Melvin. There is minimal respect among the groups with each of the groups isolating itself from the other. Sylvia’s father is an expressive leader since as much as he is advising her daughter out of the relationship that he disapproved, he ensured that he took care of the emotions of his daughter not to be hurt (Van Vugt and De Cremer, 163). On the other hand, Ada was an effective leader who only wants her son to comply with the cultural norms and social expectations of getting a Jewish girlfriend with minimal considerations of her son’s psychological wellbeing.

The main characters Ben and Sylvia developed gradually due to their experience and interactions with people. Just like Mead suggests in his mode, ones personality is a result of numerous interactions with various people which lead to self-awareness and self-image. Sylvia defiled the teachings and advice of their parents not to have a relationship because they had spent time together and like each other. At the same time, the American society was changing at the time with diminishing racial discrimination among teenagers. Hence Sylvia and Ben learned from the community that they interacted with over time. On the other hand in line with Freud’s models. The Id Ego and Superego played a role in the development of Ben and Sylvia. The both had strong desire to satisfy their needs of being together and had to make the decisions themselves.

Nate as a father is supposed to act as the role model to his children by engaging in legal business while providing for the children. To the contrary, he is involved in an illegal business which at the end of the day puts his kids in danger when he is involved with Melvin, a drug dealer. On the other hand, the society expects Nantes to be a role model to his growing children so as to ensure that they copy the right characters and the same time provide for them. However, he is straining to make ends meets for the family hence lead to engaging illegal business. Similar Melvin s also living to the contrary of the societal norms and practices. Due to the hard economic times, he is forced to engage in an illegal business of selling drugs in the community.

According to Karl Max theory of society change, the teenagers were able to confirm the new America which was accommodative of all the races. This was for the fact that people from different races shared different amenity hence leading to their interaction (Bandura, 50). In is impossible for human beings to conform to the natural course or requirements in a rapidly changing society. Instead, they have to change with developments in the community so s to fit in the society. The same case applies to both parents from the Jews and the black American families. They have to accept that their children have an intimate relationship which is against the standard practices in the society over a long time.

The theme of globalization was efficiently delivered in the Liberty Heights. It is evident that unlike the past where various races were confined to a single geographic unit, today people from different races n geographical locations have been concentrated in same places. Interactions between this people are inevitable hence necessitating for the acceptance of the various norms and practices of different cultural backgrounds. Of important to note is that for all the communities to co-exist peacefully, there should be mutual respect among the various groups. Ethnocentrism is a thing of the past, despite t Bens push for him to marry a Jewish lady believing the Jews were superior to Africans he managed to push on with his relationship to Sylvia. Ben viewed Sylvia as an equally important person in the society and even pointing out that she was of the same social and her father was a well-established physician.

Works cited

Bandura, Albert. “Social Cognitive Theory of Personality.” Handbook of Personality coherenceo (1999): 154–196. Print.

Libert Heights. Dir. Barry Levinson. Prods. Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein. 1999

Van Vugt, Mark, and David De Cremer. “Leader Endorsement in Social Dilemmas: Comparing the Instrumental and Relational Perspectives.” European review of social psychology, Vol 13. 2002: 155–184. Web.

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