Mar 8, 2007

Introverted Ethics in Action - Rocky Balboa

Yesterday I watched Rocky Balboa, written and directed by Silvester Stallone, who also plays the main character. The final film of his Rocky series - which are among Stallone's most successful, Rocky Balboa is a personal movie that mirrors the author's own life and sentiments.

I have typed Stallone as SEE, but there is so much introverted ethics in the movie (along with extraverted sensing) that it makes an excellent demonstration of introverted ethics.

The dominant information aspect of the first quarter or so of the movie is introverted ethics. We are shown Rocky's grief and tender feelings for his deceased wife Adrian. We lament with Rocky that his son has strayed away from him despite Rocky's concern for him. We are sentimental with Rocky as he is reminded of places and events from his youth that held special meaning for him.

All of these things focus on feelings of like and attachment that the characters feel towards one another and towards events, things, and places. These feelings are hardly visible externally (in contrast to extraverted ethics!) - except for a calm smile here and there - and are mainly conveyed on screen using sappy music that makes you sob and long, up-close facial shots. Here's a short clip that demonstrates what I'm talking about.

Note the use of slow, nostalgic string music with a simple piano melody in the background. This music conveys introverted ethics. Even more importantly, the cameras focus on Rocky's face, letting us see every twitch and sign of hidden feeling. Basically, they're forcing us to empathize with Rocky. Paulie, on the other hand, is shown from a distance, essentially making it impossible for us to empathize with him. Paulie gets mad at Rocky, and extraverted sensing related yelling ensues, but then they settle back to a introverted ethics mood, and the camera's move closer to Paulie, letting us feel what he feels.

These tear-jerker techniques are a favorite of the American movie industry, but there are many countries where they are rarely, if ever used (Russian cinema, for one).

Scenes with Rocky and his son are also particularly poignant and use the same kinds of techniques to make the audience cry and empathize. Note that almost everywhere introverted ethics is mixed with extraverted sensing (challenging each other, getting rough, telling each other what they want, etc.).

After the first quarter of the movie, the main emphasis shifts to extraverted sensing, where the real point of the movie lies. Rocky's focus shifts to a difficult external obstacle (the upcoming boxing match, of course) that requires all his strength and concentration to tackle. Note that this emphasis reflects the extraverted sensing spiritual philosophy I wrote about two posts ago.

3 comments:

thehotelambush said...

"These tear-jerker techniques are a favorite of the American movie industry, but there are many countries where they are rarely, if ever used (Russian cinema, for one)."

Isn't the evocation of emotion more related to Fe than Fi?

How is it more Fi-based in this particular circumstance?

Rick said...

>> Isn't the evocation of emotion more related to Fe than Fi?

How is it more Fi-based in this particular circumstance?


Good question :) Some might argue with me here, but I'm basing this on my own sensations when watching this and similar scenes from other movies. The mood here is an extension of the methods introverted ethical types use when they begin to get sentimental.

Basically, what's making us cry here is an awareness of how close two people were, how tender their relationship was, etc. etc., and not any external demonstration of emotion. All we're being shown is a person's expressionless face with sentimental music in the background. The cause of the emotion is not any event per se, but the hero's supposed internal feeling and memories.

"Tear-jerking" can come from extraverted ethics as well. I can recall a number of Russian movies that do this. There, heroes basically wail on screen after something horrible has just happened, and everyone cries along with them.

If Rocky cried dramatically and lost his mind every time something happened to him, I would call it extraverted ethics :)

thehotelambush said...

OK, that makes sense.