Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C, or D on your answer sheet to indicate the correct answer to each of the questions from 36 to 45.
Probably the most famous film commenting on the twentieth-century technology is Modern Times, made in 1936. Charlie Chaplin was motivated to make the film by a reporter who, while interviewing him, happened to describe the working conditions in industrial Detroit. Chaplin was told that healthy young farm boys were lured to the city to work on automotive assembly lines. Within four or five years, these young men’s health was destroyed by the stress of work in the factories.
The film opens with a shot of a mass of sheep making their way down a crowded ramp. Abruptly, the film shifts to a scene of factory workers jostling one another on their way to a factory. However, the rather bitter note of criticism in the implied comparison is not sustained. It is replaced by a gentle note of satire. Chaplin prefers to entertain rather than lecture.
Scenes of factory interiors account for only about one-third of Modern Times, but they contain some of the most pointed social commentary as well as the most comic situations. No one who has seen the film can ever forget Chaplin vainly trying to keep pace with the fast-moving conveyor belt, almost losing his mind in the process. Another popular scene involves an automatic feeding machine brought to the assembly line so that workers need not interrupt their labor to eat. The feeding machine malfunctions, hurling food at Chaplin, who is strapped in his position on the assembly line and cannot escape. This serves to illustrate people’s utter helplessness in the face of machines that are meant to serve their basic needs.
Clearly, Modern Times has its faults, but it remains the best film treating technology within a social context. It does not offer a radical social message, but it does accurately reflect the sentiment of many who feel they are victims of an over-mechanised world.