battlestar epcot

or Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. apparently epcot was originally conceived as a future city where people would actually live. the park outlines a utopian vision where work and leisure are combined to form a perfect lifestyle. while this never happened [except in the world of start trek], i did find the concept very cool. i also like how at epcot the future is going to happen in the 70s.

mcCabe and mrs. miller

 

maybe i'm just a fangirl when it comes to films of the 1970s, but i really like a lot of the conventions that seems to have gone out of style. zooming, split screens, uncomfortably long pauses- i find them effective and stylish. in both barry lyndon [1975] and mccabe and mrs. miller [1971] the dramatic zooms seem to punctuate the idyllic panoramic landscapes, contradicting them in a way. i'm not sure if this is more about disrupting the frame or drawing attention to the form, but i like it, and i think it works.

i also really like modern and postmodern westerns. the classic stuff a la john ford kinda kills me. too stuffy, too patriotic and too...conservative. but the deconstruction of all those myths i find much more relevant. robert altman's mccabe and mrs. miller falls into this category. our hero mccabe, played by warren beatty is a bumbling trepid sort of loner who rides into town with a reputation for gun slinging that no one quite buys. with some sort of luck he manages to start up a booming business only to get caught up in a gunfight that proceeds more as a cat and mouse game and less as a high noon shoot up. in altman's west, good cowboys die senselessly with their faces in the ground, whoring takes precedence over romance, and the wild west is a nihilistic place.

one other thing- warren beatty may not be john wayne, but he manages to pull off a bowler hat + fur coat magnificently.

 

stills from mccabe and mrs. miller, directed by robert altman, 1971

don't look now

"Nothing is what it seems..."

julie christie and donald sutherland travel to venice after the tragic death of their young daughter. the venice they encounter becomes a decaying maze of psychological expression for their grief.

nicolas roeg repeatedly frames figures in doorways and arches. on the  one hand this serves to illustrate that these characters are very much in the in between- on the threshold of something and some place. grieving yet struggling to find joy, seeking their daughter and yet reconciling the loss of her. venice itself is very much that transitionary space. it haunts them and still offers the mysterious possibility of moving forward.

it also seems to me that the framing devices in don't look now emerge as a sort of self reflexive mediation on film itself. the slow moving red blood like paint on the slide of the church appears as a frame within the frame. the effect is a distanciation from the narrative of the movie. we become aware of the constructedness of the film. that this mysterious force at work within the film is in fact tearing it apart. i found the initial appearance of this moment to be quite disconcerting, chilling even. and when it happens a second time, the sense of dread and urgency is even stronger.

what i find most compelling about don't look now, is that little explanation is offered by way of the terrible things that happen. death is tragic and there are dark forces at work in the world which do not at all make sense. this simply, is meant to b a jarring realization.

also, how amazing is this original movies poster? it perfectly sets the tone of the film.

 

stills from don't look now directed by nicolas roeg 1973