Monday, December 22, 2008

Three stories: 3 Big Life v Spontaneity

What is it that makes modern life so exciting, so fresh ?!

The film opens with a blank white wall. Its only scar the graffiti, words which read - What makes modern life so exciting ? - splayed across it in tall scraggy red-painted letters. The camera stares at the wall a moment and then slowly turns to the left to face a long clinically white corridor which resembles a bleached interior of a large piece of sewage piping. There is a dim view of an exit far away in the distance. Perhaps there is no exit, perhaps it is only a sign to an exit, perhaps there are only ever signs. Nothing much is clear.

A thin young man with black hair and black shoes, black jeans and a black jean jacket, is walking down the corridor towards the camera. His shoes are metal capped and make a loud resonant clicking sound in time with his steps.

He nears the camera. He passes the camera, which turns to follow his back down an equally endless white corridor. The camera does not tire of repetition but is constantly looking for a new form. It drops its gaze down to the floor where a printed sign reads - wet paint. A tiny grey-brown rat, more shrunken and mouse like through malnourishment, darts into shot, runs along and across the sign and then up the corridor following the man in black.

Cut to a hamburger bar in the centre of the city. Clean and empty. The man in black walks into the restaurant, its brightly lit and over-mirrored decor, its painted clouds on the ceiling, an orchestra playing tinny muzak versions of On Broadway and Feelings. The man is accompanied by a smart looking woman with short-cropped blonde hair, a tight short green dress, green shoes and green tights. She is also wearing black shades and a wide black belt.

They go up to a counter and order: a coffee and burger for him, and a chocolate milkshake for her. The camera concentrates on the glazed but smiling expression of the boy behind the counter, his tanned but slightly sickly complexion, his short curly black hair, his red and white uniform, the irregular baseball cap perched on his slightly under-sized head.

Cut to the couple sitting in a cubicle, the restaurant full of tourists, americans and arab students. A young girl, about fifteen, in tights and a mismatched skirt, heavily made-up, stares into a wall mirror by the couple's side. The girl lifts a finger to her lips and pulls the lower lip down slightly, as if admiring her gums. The camera moves down her face from her lips, down her shoulders, along her arm and onto the couple's table to the cup of coffee. The man pours in his half-cream and the camera focuses only on the emerging bubbles at the rim of the plastic cup.

He says: I wonder where the toilet is ? (Cut to)

He says: I would consider fire-bombing all hamburger bars for aesthetic reasons alone. (Cut to)

He says: Bright lighting must hold some undefined attraction to the mentally and spiritually dead. (Cut to)

He says: Perhaps the discomfort and ugliness is reflective of a different culture into which I can find no opening ? (Cut to)

She says: The transience of life, the in-built decay and mass- produced cheapness, the necessity of speed, the desperate desire for movement, are all part of the system which demands that we work to escape and by working forbid ourselves any chance to escape.

(Cut to)

An airport lounge, nearly empty. There is little human movement and those people who are there are mainly sat down, reading magazines, asleep or gazing at the ceiling. Through the windows which completely envelope the lounge we see an aeroplane taking off. The woman, previously in green but now similarly dressed in red, shows her passport to a uniformed official and passes into the pre-flight area.

The man in black is already in the car park. There are about half a dozen big black cars - Daimlers and Mercedes and so forth. The rest of the car park is three quarters full with red and blue cars of varying shades and designs, cheaper models but all very clean and sparkling. The man in black unlocks a purple sports car and climbs into the driver's seat.
(Cut to)

The purple car pulls off a motorway into a service station, a small cafe and eight petrol pumps. Behind the car a posse of suburban Hell's Angels follow on large motorbikes, leather jackets with names and bands painted on their rears. (Cut to) The man is sitting at a table in the cafe. Across the other side of the room the Hell's Angels have taken over two tables and are fooling around with bags of sugar and plastic knives. The waitress walks over to the man and asks if he is ready to order. (Cut to) The man is consuming some toast and coffee. In the background the light has changed. The Hell's Angels have a number of cans of coke and some empty plates in front of them. They walk out of the restaurant and the man watches them start up their bikes through the large cafe windows. The waitress passes his table and he asks for a bill. She appears to ignore him. (Cut to)

The man is driving the purple car at speed down a motorway. A tape of noisy thrashy music is playing on the car stereo. The shot switches from inside the car and the man, to outside the car and the motorway, looking into the car through the windscreen. Then an aerial shot of the motorway and the purple car below. Then following the car as it pulls off onto a slip road and past a large hoarding which bears the neatly printed statement

- Spontaneity and Chance Account for
All Births and Most Deaths -

then (Cut to) an express train shooting directly at and past the camera blowing a very loud and shrieking horn. Then

The End

author: Jon Simmons © 1990

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