12 June 2009

Moving pictures

“Cinematic art at its purest,” is how Slavoj Žižek, a renowned philosopher and psychoanalyst, describes this scene.
The scene, here featured in The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema, is taken from Possessed, a 1931 film by Clarence Brown. To view complete scene without comments, click here (from 3:42 until 6:39).
The film stars Joan Crawford, who plays the part of an ordinary girl living an ordinary life in an ordinary little town.
Her desires are equally ordinary: she desires escape.
One day she finds herself facing a slowly passing train. As she gazes upon it, the windows turn into screens and the screens turn into moving pictures.
Enchanted, she strains to see a couple dance into the first, into the second, into the third frame… Until the train stops and she is faced with a man leaning out of the train, a creature of fiction gazing at smallville.
“Looking in? Wrong way. Get in and look out.”
“Get in where?” she asks.
“Oh, anywhere. Just in. Only two kinds of people. The ones in and the ones out.”

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