Thursday, March 02, 2006

Again, I'm linking to Slate . . . check out this photo-essay/essay about the craft of costume design (& the Oscars, but that's not so interesting). Solid points, all. But the thing that impelled me to comment here was the frame of Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, that I wanted to point out that the costume works too well. By that I mean that it doesn't just subtly (beyond the fact that there's nothing subtle about that suit, I mean) clue us in to his social class, aspirations, etc--it gets us to participate. That is, it takes a real act of will on my part to see past the coolness of the suit (let alone the shoes), to see it as signifying Travolta's "oversized sense of himself"; my perception of the intended characterization regarding the other movies' costumes came quickly, seemed obvious without needing the essay's description to clue me in. The SNF frame, though, is too dynamic to leave the spectator truly a spectator. So close, can't see it. Too successful. That's good art.

(It's not just the suit, it's that whole subway-thing. Is there a space in the world like a subway for letting a person feel like they are being, in the eyes of a casual public, exactly who they want to be?)

Great link. Thanks for it.
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