Saturday, July 14, 2012

Views from the Window, Part One

    I went on a trip last month to visit my family in California and I took a lot of pictures from the window of whatever vehicle I happened to be traveling in. I don't usually get bored on road trips because I love looking out the window at the passing scenery while daydreaming. These pictures were taken from the window of the light rail that goes from downtown to the airport. There is one particular mural that I always admire from the train, the one of the girl and the cat. I'm glad I finally got a picture of it.

   Recently I rewatched two movies that I enjoyed in the past and wanted to view again. The first one I saw was 'Rear Window.' I love Alfred Hitchcock and  plan on rewatching all of his movies. Rear window is about an adventurous man named Jeff whose wanderlust must be suppressed due to an accident that left him with a broken leg. He is a photographer, so he is use to being in the position of 'the observer.' While stuck at home, he continues this role but now he is 'observing' his neighbors. During one of his 'observations' he becomes convinced that an angry husband has murdered his wife! With the help of his girlfriend and nurse, he delves deeper into the mystery of the missing wife.
   One thing I like about this movie is that Jimmy Stewart's character Jeff is basically a voyeuristic creep who spies on all his neighbors but the worst reprimand he gets is some playful cajoling from his sassy nurse. It validates the voyeur in all of us. The movie could almost be seen as a commentary on, or maybe more of a justification for reality TV. But of course reality TV was not yet invented. But it does show that the idea of watching people just living their life has always been intriguing. Reality TV lets us do this without breaking any social mores about respecting privacy. Jeff does have a particularly interesting set of neighbors to eavesdrop on including a dancer he calls "Ms. Torso" and a woman with no luck in love called 'Ms. Lonelyhearts.' While watching Jeff watching his neighbors, I was reminded of an apartment building I use to live in. I would sometimes sit out on the balcony and read. From the balcony it was very easy to hear what was going on in the other apartments especially if their doors and windows were open. I remember hearing a very talented person on the bottom floors practicing piano and an equally talented person on the third floor practicing opera singing.
   One thing I did not like about the movie was that Jeff was a bit of a jerk. He treated his nurse more like a servant than a nurse. Nursing is a difficult profession and I'm sure no nurse goes into to nursing to be bossed around and ordered to do trivial tasks. Jeff also does not appreciate his girlfriend at all. She is intelligent, beautiful and poised but Jeff can't appreciate these qualities because he is too concerned that she is not adventurous enough. In efforts to prove that she is indeed adventurous, she has a very close call with the murderer himself! Despite my sometimes annoyance with Jeff, this movie is a delight. It is suspenseful but also funny in an easy playful way.
   The other movie I recently rewatched was the movie 'Badlands.' 'Badlands' is about a teenage couple going on a murdering spree. This description does not do it justice though because it is not a slasher-horror movie as the description suggests. It is an eerie movie about love and human connection and violence. There is almost a feeling of idyllicism when the characters retreat back to nature.  They camp out in the woods for several months. They live in a tree house and catch fish in the river almost like Swiss Family Robinson or a little kids daydream of how they want to spend their adulthood. But this idyllic life is contrasted with acts of extreme violence. The male character Kit, is the person who immediately seems to most deranged because he is the one committing the acts of violence. But his girlfriend, Holly's reaction to the violence is almost as unsettling. She seems apathetic and disinterested. I wanted to rewatch this movie because I recently read a book called 'The Psychopath Test' where the author said that one of the most accurate portrayals of psychopaths in film was Sissy Spacek's portrayal of Holly in 'Badlands.'


Tristania Illustration said...

I love on-road-pics, it's like I'm exploring that places and travelling too. Thanks for sharing! And talking about films, I want to see Badlands. It looks very interesting, and the type of films I like. I take note! :)

Amber said...

Thanks for the comment! I like your perspective on road pictures. I hope you like Badlands!