Clint Eastwood – "Gran Torino" (Man up scene)

By: Juan Camilo González

Here is a wonderful scene from Clint Eastwood film “Gran Torino” that comically illustrates an interesting idea in which Thao is being thought how to talk and behave like a “man”. What interests me is how vulgarity can be both synonymous of great understanding for the other, honest friendship and at the same time violent and unreasonable. The level of friendship between Walt and Martin has overpassed a certain superficial level in which their dialog doesn’t have to be straightforward but can be symbolic. Their way of expressing how much they understand each other is sort of packaged or contained within the vulgar conversation. There is no need for the formalities of a conversation with for instance someone that one just met or a highly respected person. In their case, the offensive talk becomes a form of genuine affections. The contradiction is a way of coding the real message that the other is able to decode internally without sacrificing his sense of masculinity (This is true for cultures like mine where machismo is unfortunately still pervasive, man do not express affection towards each other as one would to a loved one). Then when Thao tries to do it by imitating Walt, it becomes clear that this level of understanding for the other is not merely superficial because the words do not suffice the message, a process is required before one can reach that level of communication.

I am interested then on ways to construct that process in the form of an animated film and explore this concept of human levels of communication and understanding as a result of it.

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