February 20, 2009

The best everything film

Whether one accepts the dream reading or not, the power of this once ignored film has become a commonplace, proving that the idea of resurrecting a lost love can touch any human heart, whatever he or she may say. "You’re my second chance!" cries Scottie as he drags Judy up the stairs of the tower. No one now wants to interpret these words in their superfi­cial sense, meaning his vertigo has been conquered. It’s about reliving a moment lost in the past, about bringing it back to life only to lose it again. One does not resurrect the dead, one doesn’t look back at Eurydice. Scottie experiences the greatest joy a man can imagine, a second life, in exchange for the greatest tragedy, a second death. What do video games, which tell us more about our unconscious than the works of Lacan, offer us? Neither money nor glory, but a new game. The possibility of playing again. "A second chance." A free replay.
Chris Marker on Vertigo, of course. Whose La Jetee was a dream version of Vertigo, rendered as haunted and terrified science-fiction. The compliment was returned in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, a La Jetee remake that includes a very relevant chunk of Vertigo within it, coming of course when Madeleine Stowe's character changes her hair colour (and Vertigo fans would have asked: did she get cast for her name?).
A couple of years ago someone I know was asked to work up a brief for an essay on the theme of following in film. Did I have any examples? The patient camera in Elephant came to mind but then, the early stages of Vertigo, Scotty in the art gallery. "Maybe Vertigo is the best following film." "Isn't Vertigo the best everything film?"