Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin was a kind of man who cannot miss a chance to show how ridiculous and absurd life circumstances can be.  His film Modern Times saw the light of the day in 1936. This work of Charlie Chaplin clearly demonstrates all the obstacles that were faced by the society during the period of Great Depression. Chaplin provides a critical look on productivity in the early 20th century. So let us take a good look and descry what Charlie Chaplin wanted to show us. As far as we know, Charlie Chaplin was the king of comedy. But if you really want to feel the whole secret deepness of the movie, you will be engraved with the bitter tragedy notes. Chaplin shows the reality of the time when a human becomes a little detail of the faceless machine with many levers.  The central idea of Modern Times is the consequences that were brought by industrialization such as crime, progress, and unemployment.

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The burning problem of modernization is in the foreground. It appears that people are not needy anymore. Moreover, the great part of them stays jobless, homeless and hungry. From the very beginning the movie depicts the relationships between man and machine. The movie criticizes these relationships. It can be said that the machine replaces the human, making his job senseless. First of all, it is the story of a little man who tries to oppose the catastrophe of modernization. A little man who is one among others in the society. The criticism of the relationships between the little man and the machine cannot be ignored. The first example of the film criticizing these relations is an outstanding scene in which a factory worker Chaplin takes a break to smoke. In a moment a big screen with his boss on it appears. He says Chaplin should return to his work that same instant. But the factory worker is not a machine at all, he needs a break. Nevertheless, big business does not care. The second example is when the governor of the factory wants to use a special feeding machine. The aim of this machine is to limit the workers’ lunch time. Nevertheless, this attempt was not so successful. Here we see Chaplin who is douched with soup and appears in loony form.

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The scene is as funny as it is harsh. In the world of technological progress there is no room for the human factor. Soon the little factory worker copes with his shock. Now he is on the street, he sees people striking everywhere. Suddenly he is in jail. Police mistakes him for the leader of the strike. Then Chaplin want to return to jail repeatedly. He is ready to go there instead of a homeless girl. He cannot find a place in this world and the jail gives him a warm room and free soup. This is the third example of criticism. Machine makes human labor worthless. The worst thing is that the machine makes human nature  worthless too.

Later the hero of Chaplin meets a homeless girl. Now they face challenges together. It is not a surprise that they are ready to commit a crime. All their chances to live a better life are zero. If you do not have an entrepreneurial streak, you are unemployed. There is nothing for Chaplin and Goddard except having illegal fun in the supermarket where they try on clothes and eat food that does not belongs to them. That is how industrialization inclines people towards crime. In any case, Chaplin gives hope to heroes. It is the hope to be happy, to get married and to have a good and prosperous life. In the end, Chaplin’s heroes are still able to dream, sitting in the house of rotten wood.

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As a director of the scenery Charlie Chaplin did his best to describe the society as it was. The movie deeply criticizes the industrialization. Despite all the good, it suggests that it leads to total ignorance of human nature. In any case, the  society must not forget that a human is the most valuable resource.  Unfortunately, some can adapt to be a part of the mechanism but the majority still cannot cope. The movie relates industrialization to progress and unemployment. I think it is because the movie shows how industrialization forces people to take part in the endless race. This race is focused on bringing goods and prosperity to big bosses. The race for progress makes the little factory worker insignificant. At the same time as technological progress increases production, it leaves the human jobless and hungry. This film is very important even nowadays.  The work of Chaplin did not lose its social sound.  We are still the parts  of a soulless machine. The criticism of Chaplin’s movie is still relevant today, as big business does not want to perceive human nature as something worthy. There are still those who cannot adapt to changes that make them nothing else but a cog in the big and senseless machine of progress.

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