Sunday, April 1, 2012

Of Sleep, Memory, and a Really Dark City

I'm not sure if there's a bigger contrast in the film class than this one.  This past week, the focus was on neo noir with the watching of Proyas' Dark City.  The first time I saw this film, I was both blown away and thoroughly confused.  That'll happen when one of the themes of the film you're watching is forced amnesia.  I watched it again to sort through the twists and turns and with every viewing since, I find I like this film more and more.  It's intricately plotted, but it never takes the easy way out and it remains true to the rules of the world it sets up.  (I despise stories that find they've plotted themselves into a corner and then cop out with a "it was all a dream and none of it was ever real!" sort of thing.)  It's also good to see a film that makes you think instead of doing it all for you.

I asked the class to especially be on the lookout for references to clocks and time and then to compare how Dark City handles those elements with the ways in which we see the same elements back in Metropolis.  I can't wait to read the results!

The class is coming off of a couple of heavy "is it you?" films that center on humanity, memory, and manipulation.  So this week, we take a well-earned breather with Luc Besson's feast of color, humor, and the Multipass and watch The Fifth Element.  In many ways, this is a silly, lighthearted romp - and I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned from silly, lighthearted romps.  It's a great movie to use to discuss color and symbolism, in part because it's such a big part of the film that you don't have to look overly hard.  (It's also a cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of stardom - what was Luke Perry's last movie?)  Humor is one of the things that keeps us sane in the dark times, so it's good to leave the shadows behind and come into the bright light of Gaultier's costumes and the Diva's song.

Hope the class enjoys it!

1 comment:

The Surrealist Wander said...

I really, really hope you watched and showed them the Director's Cut! If not, then it's a must-watch compared to the studio-theatrical cut. I watched the DC of DC (lol), and it was phenomenal. After seeing some of the theatrical cut myself, it just doesn't hold up, and kinda cuts down on the quality. I've heard some say that taking some time, watching the Director's Cut later was like watching it in a new way (and no monologue at the begining. It really leaves you in the dark), and was more effective and powerful than the studio cut. One can see that it is more natural, and the editing is much finer than the theatrical, which is somewhat rushed.