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Showing posts from October, 2013

The Journey of a Life

Thoughts on a film: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

The iconography is significant from the outset.A young woman, approaching adulthood; her attitude defiant, even insolent.She refuses to conform to social conventions; questions the 'status quo'; longs to dream and to be moved by dreams as an alternative to the dreary life, with its loneliness and routines. The loss of her father hangs heavy.His influence, as a dreamer (like herself), is in part responsible for her refusal to placate her mother's wishes and to play the part of the elegant young belle. These characters - both mother and daughter - are on their way to a marvellous party, itself a signifier of a celebration of some personal milestone (birthdays, anniversaries, etc), though at this stage the young Alice is still oblivious to her mother's true intentions.

As the carriage makes its way down the woodland road, the journey of the vehicle becomes almost momentous.Though she doesn't yet know it, this Alice is on th…

Key Films #26

American Gigolo [Paul Schrader, 1980]:
The first images of the film establish a world of surfaces; reflections.The car, the clothes, the storefronts and houses, each suggest a particular mentality.Excess, or the aspiration to excess, as symptomatic of this elite world of wealth and privilege.It's less a part of the lifestyle than a requirement to conform; a uniform, not just physical but psychological, that is adopted to gain access to this private playground of hotels, nightclubs and restaurants.A hidden world, off-limits and unattainable to someone lacking the proper connections.The character Julian - the 'gigolo' of the title - moves through this world with confidence and ease.It doesn't matter that he's selling sex or companionship to bored housewives and ailing widows, he looks the part; he fits into this backdrop of style and surface; just another object - a commodity, like the cars and fancy furnishings - defining space.But Julian doesn't belong to this w…

Gravity

A note on Brian De Palma's Mission to Mars (2000) and the spectacle of the real:

A scene.A setpiece of around four-minutes in duration.Music and movement expressing the personal; the poetic.Space, like emotional distance between people.Re-connecting. Colliding like particles.Like planets in orbit.A human story within the wider context of this science-fiction. Moving towards a similar connection - reaching out into the infinite, the unknown - but on a much larger scale.


Mission to Mars [Brian De Palma, 2000]: