Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scenes From The Suburbs

Just watched Scenes From The Suburbs over at MUBU, Spike Jonze's short film based on Arcade Fire's recent album. Obviously meant to be the fragmentary recollection of one of those teenage summers that change everything, it portrays the relationship between two suburban boys as a dystopian military state tightens its grip around them, the violent, repressive atmosphere beginning to erode their sense of humanity. Beautifully shot, with fine performances from the young cast, Scenes From The Suburbs still left me a little frustrated, maybe because it was rich enough to have been a full length film. Although then we'd loose the eliptical nature of the narrative, supposed to replicate how we only remember the past in confusing fragments, some intensely present to us after years, some vague, others absent altogether. Why do we remember some things vividly, and other things, often as important or even more so, not at all? It's a fascinating question and Jonze uses it to create tension and unease very well, the real touched by the nightmarish. I'd like to see it again to get a clearer idea of whether it stands up as a short or whether the richness discovered deserves to be explored in full. Still, even now it's an engrossing half hour that captures perfectly the intensity of teenage friendships and the world-threatening pain of change.

Footnote: actually, watching the video below, there are several scenes and moments not in the film, which leads me to believe there may well be a full length film and that Scenes From The Suburbs is a kind of extended trailer, a teaser for the fuller experience to come.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely a powerful piece Spike's put together here. I felt it could lend itself to a feature-length as well, I'm not really sure that's their intentions though, since the only scenes that are really extended in that clip are of the restaurant scene, which probably worked better in the short without as much detail, just hints at the turmoil that followed.