Journal Entry: Rembrandt and Raging Bull Closing Sequences
Compare and contrast the closing sequences of Rembrandt and Raging Bull. How do they differently?
Rembrandt is seen walking down the stairs, receiving money and then he moves to the store where he will be buying equipment, a body alone, hurrying to get his equipment, and then a thoughtful look on his face as he examines his own face in the mirror and puts the pigment on the canvas. Rembrandt is now the longer, alone with his destiny which is to paint. He is not painting for others. Here we have no idol of consumption, but purely he acts an idol of production, producing only for himself. The great life has been lived. The legacy of the art work will live on. That does not seem to concern Rembrandt. His life is full when he is alone with light, canvas and paint.
Jake LaMotta is seen in a mirror as well, reflecting to himself, having a conversation about what went wrong in his life and who is to blame for it as he readies himself for another performance. He is well attired, a nice suit and shirt, and well coiffed. But he lacks the calm, peaceful countenance of the old man. Instead he is still on exhibition, an idol of consumption. The movement of his body is in the form of shadow boxing, getting ready for the next bout, preparing for the next “performance”, hoping again to be on performance and declared a winner.
There is an interesting comparison between the movement of Rembrandt in the paint shop. The folds of his long shirt move as he hurries in the paint shop, looking for just the right pigment. But what we are seeing is a happy walk, a bouncing step between items he wants to choose, as though his feet cannot work fast enough to collect the precious materials with which he is to work. Jake LaMotta also has a fluidity, an aggressive bouce, his arms shooting out and then the quick boxer movement to bring them back to protect his own body. Even in those final positions that we view the two in, we are aware that Rembrandt is about production and LaMotta is getting his body ready as a product for the entertainment consumption of others.