…and the quest to see everything

Best Shot: Black Narcissus

Rewatching Black Narcissus made me remember that there are so many beautiful shots in it that I’ve ignored, making me change my mind constantly.  ‘Questions’ like this must be answered honestly, deciding on the film’s best shot without rewatching.

I’ll write some more.

The blossoms, to my memory, have also had their close-ups in  Broken Blossoms, The African Queen and Howards End, and to a lesser extent, The Age of Innocence and I am Love. Black Narcissus and the other movies mentioned used blossoms as a way to make protagonist/white subject position home in a place where they’re a fish out of water.

This one. ph. Criterion DVD

These shots, lasting a total of ten seconds, also marks the spring time, after cabin fever sets into the converted convent and everybody hates each other. Watching those blossoms makes me feel like there’s hope in the settlement, that the land has a history before the nuns came, that it’s home. It is up to debate on whose home it is, however.

Or maybe I just like blossoms. Does that make me less of a man? The answer – yes. Also, I am easily amused by colourful things.

Then, of course, Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) has to ruin everything, as she always does. Then again maybe the blossoms foreshadow Sister Ruth’s sexual awakening, or a time when she can finally act as carelessly as she wants.

3 responses

  1. i love it when filmmakers break the action in this way, too. That spring flowering is such a beautiful “intermission” without being a pause really.

    it’s more like curtain / set (i.e. mood) change.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm

  2. Yes! And Broken Blossoms does this too, expressing the happiness within the Lilian Gish character before the storm.


    August 19, 2010 at 12:10 am

  3. Pingback: Great Cinematographers, Part 4: Jack Cardiff | The Iron Cupcake

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