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A 6 pages term paper on Humor In The Matroni And Me


          While vacationing in Maine, Ph.D. candidate Gilles runs into working-class Guylaine, and the couple hit it off. Returning to his native Quebec, Gilles begins frequenting the bar where Guylaine works, meeting her brother Bob. Bob makes a living working for local mafia boss Matroni. When Bob shows up one night, badly beaten, Gilles offers to help intervene by delivering a letter to Matroni on Bob's behalf. But things with Matroni only get worse when Gilles decides to read the letter before he delivers it. Gilles, a young student who has just completed a thesis on the death of God, falls in love with a barmaid named Guylaine. As a result of Gilles' influence, Guylaine decides to return to school in order to change her life and escape an all-too-predictable future. She neglects, however, to consult with her brother Bob, a minor thug in the employ of Mr. Matroni, a feared and respected Mafioso. Armed solely with his superior ethical morality and ironclad idealism, Gilles attempts to alienate Guylaine from her seedy surroundings. A same time, he takes it upon himself to curb Matroni's powerful criminal organization. He accomplishes all this in one short night.

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The Humor of MATRONI and MOI 

          An absurdity comedy-thriller with a philosophical bent, Matroni et moi takes us into a wild world of colorful characters where car chases and shoot-outs combine merrily with reflections on the death of God. The film was made when the comedy was not much developed and the comedy was dependent on the favor of a large part of the public. There is now nothing innocent about laughter at the whims and inconsistencies of humankind, and radio and television and film producers who have always been wary of offending their audiences with it. (Cyrus Hoy) On radio and television, the laughter is usually self-directed or it is safely contained within the genial confines of a family situation. Much the same attitude has obtained with regard to comedy in the theatre in the United States. Satire has seldom succeeded on Broadway, which instead has offered pleasant plays about the humorous behavior of basically nice people. Such as Matroni and Me the drama on TV made on the lines of the film MATRONI and MOI .The American public has never been quite comfortable in the presence of today’s humor and comedy. The calculated ridicule and the relentless exposure often seem cruel or unfair to a democratic public. There is insecurity in the mass audience that is not compatible with the high self-assurance of comedy as it judges between the wise and the foolish of the world. The humor shown in the TV drama is not much different than this.  The critical spirit of comedy has never been in both fiction and drama, humor, not comedy, has raised the laughter the example of Matroni and Me to some extant has provided the humor but is not of the standard produce in the silent comedy of old days. This last example is remarkable, because comedy in the medium of film, in America, had been conceived as entertainment and not much more. This is not to say that American film comedies lacked style. The best of them always displayed verve and poise and a thoroughly professional knowledge of how to amuse the public without troubling it. Their shortcoming has always been that the amusement they provide lacks resonance. There have been comedies with music, built around the talents of singers and dancers such as Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. There are the classic farces of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and, later, of W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy; and there is a vast, undistinguished field of comedies dealing with the humors of domestic life. The varieties of comedy in Hollywood films have always been replicas of those on the New York stage; as often as not, they were products of the same talents. The MATRONI and Me has at least made another effort to convey the replica of the old humor in MATRONI and ME and has conveyed a moving human drama and a profoundly serious vision of French life. The technical exuberance is controlled by a profoundly serious comic purpose. The principals in both films are seeking through the phantasmagoria of their past and present, of their dreams and their delusions, all of which seem hopelessly mixed with their real aspirations to know themselves. (Lane Cooper) The word comedy seems to be connected by derivation with the Greek verb meaning “to revel,” and comedy arose out of the revels associated with the rites of Dionysus, a god of vegetation the same however is visible in the TV drama after so many of the years in MATRONI and Me. The origins of comedy are thus bound up with vegetation ritual. Aristotle, in his Poetics, states that comedy originated in phallic songs and that, like tragedy, it began in improvisation. (K.M. Lynch) Though tragedy evolved by stages that can be traced, the progress of comedy passed unnoticed because it was not taken seriously. When tragedy and comedy arose, poets wrote one or the other, according to their natural bent. This fact is brought out very success fully in the DRAMA MATRONI and MOI. Those of the graver sort, who might previously have been inclined to celebrate the actions of the great in epic poetry, turned to tragedy; poets of a lower type, who had set forth the doings of the ignoble in invectives, turned to comedy. The distinction is basic to the Aristotelian differentiation between tragedy and comedy: tragedy imitates men who are better than the average, and comedy men who are worse. For centuries, efforts at defining comedy were to be along the lines set down by Aristotle: the view that tragedy deals with personages of high estate, and comedy deals with lowly types; that tragedy treats of matters of great public import, while comedy is concerned with the private affairs of mundane life; and that the characters and events of tragedy are historic and so, in some sense, true, while the humbler materials of comedy are but feigned. Implicit, too, in Aristotle is the distinction in styles deemed appropriate to the treatment of tragic and comic story. (F.M. Cornford,) As long as there was at least a theoretical separation of comic and tragic styles, either genre could, on occasion, appropriate the stylistic manner of the other to a striking effect, which was never possible after the crossing of stylistic lines became commonplace. The ancient Roman poet Horace, who wrote on such stylistic differences, noted the special effects that can be achieved when comedy lifts its voice in pseudo tragic rant and when tragedy adopts the prosaic but affecting language of comedy. Consciously combined, the mixture of styles produces the burlesque, in which the grand manner (epic or tragic) is applied to a trivial subject, or the serious subject is subjected to a vulgar treatment, to ludicrous effect. The English novelist Henry Fielding, in the preface to Joseph Andrews (1742), was careful to distinguish between the comic and the burlesque; the latter centers on the monstrous and unnatural and gives pleasure through the surprising absurdity it exhibits in appropriating the manners of the highest to the lowest, or vice versa. Comedy, on the other hand, confines itself to the imitation of nature, and, according to Fielding, the comic artist is not to be excused for deviating from it. His subject is the ridiculous, not the monstrous, as with the writer of burlesque; and the nature he is to imitate is human nature, as viewed in the ordinary scenes of civilized. (C.L. Barber)

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Comparison Of Humor In The MATRONI And Me, The Video Play

          Comedy is a universal form of expression and a major dramatic genre that is intended to amuse. Comedy is associated with humorous behavior, wordplay, pleasurable feeling, release of tension, and laughter.  The film MATRONI and MOI is imbued with a playful spirit, comic entertainment frequently exposes incongruous, ridiculous, or grotesque aspects of human nature. It generally follows a fixed pattern of theatrical surprises that leads to a sense of exhilaration in the spectator. Of all dramatic genres, comedy is the most widely performed.

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          It is now known that several types of comedy differ from traditional comedy, which must end happily. This fact is seen in the DRAMA MATRONI and ME in which the Farce, for example, seeks to deflate pretension and hypocrisy. It uses broad physical means, such as slapstick humor or clowning, and emphasizes improbable circumstances over character development. Like the Satire, another popular form of humor, primarily utilizes stinging ridicule and exaggeration to criticize or condemn humankind's foibles and faults. While farce and satire often produce laughter, their dramatic outcomes on stage can vary considerably. Comic plays, on the other hand, typically end suddenly with all characters receiving their proper rewards and connected to their appropriate mates or partners. (A.W. Pickard)

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          The elements and techniques of comedy used in the DRAMA are diverse and looks more   of a serious drama, comic entertainment is controlled by social conventions that define the boundaries of acceptable humor and topics that are taboo or off-limits for humor. What is considered funny in one place and time may be forbidden culturally or viewed as infantile or in poor taste in another. Virtually every component of human behavior is subject to comic treatment. This includes bodily functions, manners, fashion, eating, family quarrels, sexual desire, courtship, the procurement of money and social position, exaggerated violence and punishment, religious piety, racial and social differences, vain presentations of self, physical shortcomings, cheating and lying, gender reversal, and abnormal fear of aging and death. All this was part of the FILM MATRONI and MOI is found in the DRAMA also.

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          The array of comic techniques and devices in performance in both the film MATRONI and MOI and the DRAMA are immense. Over-the-top exaggeration and caricature appear at one end of the spectrum, and simple observation and understatement at the other. Typically, the producers have taken advantage of several techniques, both physical and aural. The mainstays of popular comedy are incongruity (mismatched or illogical placement or juxtaposition), mechanization or bestiality of human behavior, witty repartee, mutual misunderstandings, slapstick violence, and methodical exposure of vanity, deception, and victory of the protagonist (often in the role of the trickster or fool) over a social superior. But this is not visible in the Film MATRONII and MOI and the DRAMA both.

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          If we have a look on the history we will find that Ben Johnson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, provided a practical theory of comedy, derived from his understanding of human physiology and psychology. According to medical beliefs of his time, four internal liquids, called humors—blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm—determined the health and mental stability of every individual. When these secretions are in balance, the human body and mind perform in perfect harmony. But when there is an imbalance in the body, the dominant humor creates an overload of temperament, which was seen the root cause of abnormal behavior and which served, for Jonson, as the origin of comic character. This explanation was known as the theory of the four humors. This type of comedy was however felt very clearly in the DRAMA.

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          We can compare the DRAMA and the Film with The 11 surviving plays of Aristophanes represent the earliest extant body of comic drama; what is known of Greek Old Comedy is derived from these plays, the earliest of which, The action of New Comedy is usually about plotting; a clever servant, for example, devises ingenious intrigues in order that his young master may win the girl of his choice. There is satire in New Comedy: on a miser who loses his gold from being over careful of it; on a father who tries so hard to win the girl from his son that he falls into a trap set for him by his wife; and on an over stern father whose son turns out worse than the product of an indulgent parent. But the satiric quality of these plays is bland by comparison with the trenchant ridicule of Old Comedy. The emphasis in New Comic plotting is on the conduct of a love intrigue; the love element per se is often of the slightest, the girl whom the hero wishes to possess sometimes being no more than an offstage presence or, if onstage, a mute. New Comedy provided the model for European comedy through the 18th century. Classical comedy was brought up to date in the play MATRONI and ME. They added a contemporary flavor to the life portrayed and displayed a somewhat less indulgent attitude to youthful indiscretions. New Comedy in MATRONI and ME has provided the basic conventions of plot and characterization for the comedy. The humor in MATRONI and ME reminds the early part of the 17th century in England saw the rise of a realistic mode of comedy based on a satiric observation of contemporary manners and mores. (J.W. Krutch)

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          In the greatest of these comedies the premium is on the energy and the grace with which the game is played, and the highest dramatic approval is reserved for those who take the game seriously enough to play it with style but who have the good sense to know when it is played out. These actions of humor can be found both in the FILM MATRONI and MOI and the DRAMA. The satiric import of Restoration comedy resides in the dramatist's awareness of a familiar incongruity: that between the image of man in his primitive nature and the image of man amid the artificial restraints that society would impose upon him. The satirist in these plays is chiefly concerned with detailing the artful dodges that ladies and gentlemen employ to satisfy nature and to remain within the pale of social decorum. Inevitably, then, hypocrisy is the chief satiric target. The animal nature of man is taken for granted, and so is his social responsibility to keep up appearances; some hypocrisy must follow, and, within limits, society will wink at indiscretions so long as they are discreetly managed. The paradox is typical of those in which the Restoration comic dramatists delight; and the strongly rational and un idealistic ethos of this comedy has its affinities with the naturalistic and skeptical cast of late-19th-century philosophical thought.

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          Modern art has abstracted elements of comedy to aid it in the representation of a reality in which the mechanical is threatening to win out over the human. The contention that the essence of comedy consists of something mechanical encrusted on the living may be said to have achieved a grotesque apotheosis in the French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp's painting “Bride” (1912), in which the female figure has been reduced to an elaborate piece of plumbing. The highly individual Swiss Expressionist Paul Klee's pen-and-ink drawing tinted with watercolor and titled “Twittering Machine” (1922) represents an ingenious device for imitating the sound of birds. The delicacy of the drawing contrasts with the sinister implications of the mechanism, which, innocent though it may appear at first glance, is almost certainly a trap. All that is true but the humor of the drama MATRONI and MOI will be remembered for long in spite of its weaknesses in effects and presentations.

Works Cited

C.L. Barber, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom (1959),

Lane Cooper, An Aristotelian Theory of Comedy, with an Adaptation of the Poetics and a Translation of the Tractatus Coislinianus (1922),

F.M. Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy (1914; ed. by T.H. Gaster, 1961)

Cyrus Hoy, The Hyacinth Room: An Investigation into the Nature of Comedy, Tragedy, and Tragicomedy (1964),

J.W. Krutch, Comedy and Conscience After the Restoration (1924, reprinted with a new preface and additional bibliographic material, 1949),

K.M. Lynch, The Social Mode of Restoration Comedy (1926), the best available account of the relation of the plays of Dryden, Etherege, Wycherley, Congreve, and their contemporaries to their social milieu;

A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy (1927; 2nd ed. rev. by T.B.L. Webster, 1962)


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