Thursday, November 18, 2010

Requiem // 102 : Minute 13
I wrote a bit about the Requiem // 102 pro­ject a few weeks back. Here’s my meagre contribution.

This moment, cap­tured in minute 13 of the film, is from the “Summer” sec­tion and fol­lows one of the few moments of bour­geois respect­ab­ility in this dark cork­screw of a story.

Harry and Marion have just spent a romantic inter­lude up on the roof of an office building where they are able to look out over the whole neigh­bour­hood of Coney Island and the beach. He encour­ages her to pursue her dream of designing clothes and becoming inde­pendent of her par­ents. He says he’ll help her.

Coming back in through the fire escape door, Marion reck­lessly sets off the alarm that Harry had dis­con­nected and with a mis­chievous grin pulls him toward the elev­ators. They hide as the security guards respond to the alarm, and on the trip down, they make out like horny teen­agers for the security camera. She is the aggressor.

The next time we see the couple, they’re locked in an embrace on the sofa, asleep, sweaty and almost cer­tainly high.

There is love here, cer­tainly. But there is also some­thing else, some­thing more sin­ister. Although Marion at first appears to be the more inno­cent of the two, some­thing about her reck­less­ness in this scene hints at the dark­ness to come.

The inno­cence and freedom of the rooftop, where the lovers fly paper air­planes and talk like shy school­chil­dren, where Harry puts his arm around Marion and kisses her on the cheek, gives way to the con­fined space of the elev­ator, where animal lust takes over and we spy on them through a security camera, a device intended to identify trans­gressors, tres­passers and lawbreakers.

There follow a few more scenes of inno­cence, of what might have looked like pure love between Harry and Marion if we hadn’t already seen a darker side, but the worm is already in the bud.

This essay is a con­tri­bu­tion to the Requiem // 102 pro­ject, con­ceived by Nick Rombes, Associate Professor of English at the University of Detroit, Mercy, as a form of “col­lective, dis­trib­uted film cri­ti­cism.” Requiem // 102 is modeled loosely on Rombes’ ongoing 10/40/70 pro­ject, in which he “reads” three screen cap­tures from a given film taken at the 10, 40, and 70 minute marks.

For this pro­ject, Nick has invited 102 con­trib­utors from across the film cri­ti­cism spec­trum to look at, or oth­er­wise be inspired by, one frame from each minute of Darren Aronofsky’s 102 minute-long film Requiem for a Dream (2000), a movie that unsettled many audi­ence mem­bers when it was first released in cinemas ten years ago.

To learn more about Requiem // 102, check out the project’s About page and/or follow it on Twitter.

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