Electronic Music And Mental Illness In Cinema.

This article contains narrative spoilers. From its very earliest occurrences, electronic instrumentation and music has been used in cinema to signpost various aspects of mental health problems and issues within diegetic characters.  Alongside its uses in creating alien worlds, electronic instrumentation seems to, at least in the eyes of the films’ creators, have an ability to go deep within the human psyche as well as … Continue reading Electronic Music And Mental Illness In Cinema.

The Night Of The Hunter (1955) And The Death Waltz – Charles Laughton.

One of the best and most underrated moments from Charles Laughton’s The Night Of The Hunter (1955), the scene that captures the murder of Willa (Shelly Winters) after a prolonged period of brainwashing by Preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), is not only one of the most important and powerful moments in the film but one that sums up the more interesting end of thematic audio-visual … Continue reading The Night Of The Hunter (1955) And The Death Waltz – Charles Laughton.

The Long Goodbye (1973, Robert Altman) – A Musical Critique of Film-Noir.

Out of all of the modern interpretations of film-noir produced in the 1970s, The Long Goodbye (1973) is by far the most aesthetically interesting.  This isn’t only because of its integration with counter-culture ideas and values, but with its continuous critical assessment of genre tropes.  This critique, which extends to the literature and music as well as the films of the hindsight-based movement, is considered … Continue reading The Long Goodbye (1973, Robert Altman) – A Musical Critique of Film-Noir.

Eraserhead (1977) – Sickly Soundscapes (David Lynch).

For a film as heavily symbolic as David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977), readings of its aesthetic aspects are often commonplace within the cinematic discourse of the film.  Lynch has often made explicit use of the medium’s inherent dream-state as a tool to question the viewer on various topics, often finding visual expression through symbolic and highly personal direction.  Though Eraserhead was his first feature film, his … Continue reading Eraserhead (1977) – Sickly Soundscapes (David Lynch).

Mozart in Le Bonheur (1965) – Agnès Varda.

It must have come as a political shock to see a film in 1965 highlight, with such casual brutality, the privilege of the male patriarch.  Agnès Varda’s third feature, Le Bonheur, is such a contradiction in its conveyance of a happiness, ignorant of morality, that its shock is rarely diminished.  The film is a colourful, seasonal evocation of a very unusual ménage à trios which … Continue reading Mozart in Le Bonheur (1965) – Agnès Varda.

The Female Voice in Subversive Soundtracks of the Counter-Culture Era.

The Female Voice in Subversive Soundtracks of the Counter-Culture Era. After a recent viewing of Alan J. Pakula’s crime thriller, Klute (1971), something occurred at the back of my mind that connected the film with a number of others.  At first, I struggled with my memory as to what exactly it was about the film that was bringing other films of the era to mind; … Continue reading The Female Voice in Subversive Soundtracks of the Counter-Culture Era.

Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967) – Rhythmic Footsteps and Diegetic Power.

What is the best way for a film to show the power of a character?  Is it to retain the power within the narrative world and show it be all encompassing, or is it better to show it to have control over specific qualities of the medium itself?  One of the best examples of this debate to be realised in cinematic aesthetics is in John … Continue reading Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967) – Rhythmic Footsteps and Diegetic Power.

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell,1960) – Aural Perspectives of Murder.

In spite of its very energetic reappraisal and various analyses, Michael Powell’s career destroying masterpiece, Peeing Tom (1960), is a film whose musical eccentricities and sound design contain hidden depths. For a film that appears on the surface to be almost excessively Freudian, this was normal yet, when looking at some of the detailed reappraisals and even some of the high-end re-evaluations of its narrative … Continue reading Peeping Tom (Michael Powell,1960) – Aural Perspectives of Murder.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) -Sexuality as an Occult Concept (Kubrick).

Strange undercurrents of sexuality pervade the films of Stanley Kubrick.  Though not always present explicitly, a raw pipeline of dark desire and physical wanting seems to pop up at random points throughout his work.  From Dr Strangelove‘s ideas of selective breeding based on the “sexual characteristics that will have to be of a highly stimulating nature” to The Shining‘s most surreal haunting of a man … Continue reading Eyes Wide Shut (1999) -Sexuality as an Occult Concept (Kubrick).

Deep End (1970) and the Musical Emphasising of Narrative (Jerzy Skolimowski).

This article contains spoilers. There are many aspects of distraction within Jerzy Skolimowski’s 1970 film, Deep End.  Its highly sexualised, sometimes seedy narrative, its vast array of colours and its crisp, sharp direction are only a handful of its hyper-active eccentricities.  Even David Lynch, a long-time pessimist about colour cinema, is on record as a fan of Deep End‘s array of powerful colours, and styles.  … Continue reading Deep End (1970) and the Musical Emphasising of Narrative (Jerzy Skolimowski).