"We are often told that the uniqueness of a still image is its arrest of time. But if I make a narrative, I make order and sequence, I make time. I cannot read an image without it."
"If you’ve read about the other 37 frames and have enjoyed each piece as much as I have, there’s still time to turn back." [Editor’s note: Don’t turn back. Read on.]
38. Matt Brennan studied film and history at the University of Southern California, and currently teaches English at an alternative high school for at-risk students outside of New Orleans. His work can be found here and here.
"It is also one of the last shots in the film in which two characters appear together in the same frame. As it goes on, Requiem for a Dream increasingly cuts people apart, separating them in split-screen even when they are right next to each other or when they embrace. And unlike other shots in the film, it is not a fast-cut closeup, not an isolated computerized eyeball or detail from a dollar bill, not just Sarah’s speed-freak grinding teeth accompanied by a harsh sound effect like we’ll see in the next scene, but an actual moment between two people who are actually touching each other.”
"How richly playful—as a text is always playful—must a single film frame be? What would happen if our minds were to roam free of the boundaries of that frame?"
34. Bruce Isaacs, of the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, returns (check out also his post #10) with a stellar textual/visual investigation into a matrix of associations generated from just one Requiem frame.
"Jacob Singer is tormented by images of he can’t quite make out what. Possibly there’s nothing there at all. The lack of definition infects his world: everything dissolves into a sea of uncertainty. Things fall apart. It occurs to me that Darren Aronofsky inflicts the exact opposite kind of torture upon the characters in Requiem: they are haunted by painfully vivid images of paradises lost or never found that they cannot ever (re)gain.”
"The little boy runs. We follow him back. The world blurs around us. Nasty things have not happened yet; the memory is one of purity and innocence and comforting naivete. Once we’ve arrived, it’s a place we might want to stay in forever."
"The still image of Marion and Harry positions them centrally, with Harry literally backed up against a corner and Marion peering out one tiny pinhole in the wash of white wall and window covering. The viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to this miniscule opening of darkness, of absence, in a room of white light."
30. Dani Stock, a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, on the still frame within the still frame during one of Requiem's happier moments.
"There is no daylight, no moon, nor starlight. The shutters are down in the always night… . this film is something that happened to me many years ago, but I can’t remember the details."
29. A haunting essay with video and still images by Kayla Parker, a faculty member in the School of Art and Media at the University of Plymouth in the UK. Parker’s work has been shown on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and worldwide at numerous film festivals.
"If I didn’t already know that the predatory smile in this still image belonged to Requiem's Marion Silver, would I be able to place the close-up within its proper film? The facial expression, with its defiant glare, could suggest Sarah Williams from Waking the Dead. The dark makeup and neglected un-dyed roots could belong to troubled Kathy from House of Sand & Fog. Perhaps this image even betrays Jennifer Connelly herself, flashing an unflattering smile during some 1990’s restaurant interview. How do we isolate this still photograph within a sea of images that contains the fictional, the real, and the ubiquitous in-between? Or, to give the question a more interesting formulation, how can the single image reveal its ties and bonds to all the others?”
"Here I want to consider Thomas Elsaesser’s writings on fascism. Elsaesser asserts that the question that fascism raises today in our media reality, is its ability to create a public sphere based upon an overemphasis on visual extravaganza. Elsaesser explains that what made fascism more attractive was its alignment with mass entertainment and the introduction of a mise-en-scene aesthetics into politics… . In this way, fascism managed to transform totalitarian power into a spectacle to be consumed by the masses.”