Tuesday, February 14, 2012

THAS: Did You Realize... #1 ('Lifeforce')

Did you realize...

that the scene in 'Lifeforce' in which Carlsen (Steven Railsback) and Caine (Peter Firth) drive through the infection-ravaged streets of London is constructed out of a remarkable series of differentiated car shots?

Each constitute their own set-piece - almost an individual story of the character's experience and their ordeal - and perform each their own distinct tonal gymnastic, and Hooper manages to deliver in his very characteristic pursuit of relentless inspiration and unmitigated aesthetic creation and expression. (Note how the various textures of each shot's mise en scene - the framing, its tightness or distortion, and so on; the undulating lighting; the surrounding backdrop or absence of such in the car window(s) around them; and so forth - help express the "individual story"/"chapter" the shot puts forth.)

Each is equally or more strident than the last, Hooper's aesthetic craft devoted to sophisticated formal angularity and conscious irony rather than simple stylistic dazzle and placating sentimental conventions.

A Drive Through London
by Tobe Hooper

∫∫ In which Caine first charges readily into the ground zero of afflicted

∫∫ In which Caine clearly acclimates to his new environment yet is still
startled by a loud noise.

∫∫ In which Caine is frazzled by a road kill but does not let it faze him.

∫∫ In which Carlsen drives through London irretrievably drawn by the
Space Girl.

∫∫ In which Carlsen suddenly brakes sharply as he is immobilized by the
thought of the Space Girl. -- Carlsen in a daze. -- A zombie arm. -- Carl-
sen rebukes himself for not keeping his wits about him due to sexy

(One of my favorite touches: the complete cutting off of the soundtrack during his elongated daze, the only accompaniment to his loss of wits the soft purr of the engine.)

∫∫ In which Caine takes in the atrocities of a burning London.

∫∫ In which Carlsen stops having spotted St. Paul's Cathedral. -- Carlsen
finds resolve.

∫∫ In which Carlsen still must drive through the nuisance of zombie hordes
before reunion with the Space Girl.

∫∫ In which Carlsen arrives at St. Paul's Cathedral with desires aflame.

∫∫ In which Caine comes to the last leg of his journey and arrives at the
Satellite Research Center.

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