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Crash Analysis

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Classism and Racism A Narrative Analysis of Paul Haggis’s Film: Crash By: Alexis Couillard

In 2004, Paul Haggis directed the Oscar winning film crash, a drama about race and class and its effects on those residing in Los Angeles, California. This film paints a vivid picture of the harsh reality that classism has and will always exist and it is intertwined with racism in this film and in our realities. This film promotes racial awareness which is a topic not typically seen on the big screen and it demands a close inspection. Haggis wanted us to understand each character and to see them as real flesh bleeding humans that make mistakes and aren’t perfect. We see different races involved in the film such as African American, Persian, Hispanic, white and several Asians. Each scene intertwines with the next and we find out that all the characters are connected in some way or another. This technique of the characters being connected keeps the viewers on their toes. The audience is not stuck on one story or scene for too long. An idea or event is presented from the perspective of one person or family, and then the same event is expanded on by another characters connection to that particular event. Different ethnic stereotypes and racial prejudices are presented within the film such as the so called “gangbanger” who has tattoos and is Hispanic, and the black man who steals cars Anthony aka “Ludacris”. The director delivers and promotes this awareness but also at the same time there is white privilege present that goes unnoticed. Using narrative criticism, I will examine the film, Crash, in an attempt to discover how narrative is used to promote racial awareness and the harsh realities of racism and classism. Our focus is on those dimensions of the narrative—themes and events—that allow Haggis to achieve this objective in the film.

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