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MarleneReads

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About MarleneReads

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  1. Such a great film to start with. This is exciting stuff. I have read many great comments to this opening, and I particularly liked the one pointing out the innocence versus experience paradigm. We can surely see and/or hear the embodiment of innocence (the children) and of experience (the women). Men, however, do not seem to be neither innocent or experienced. In the second part of the opening sequence, we can see a group of parents waiting for their kids outside of the school entrance. In the middle, there is a man wearing a hat, separated from the rest, a bourgeois looking man, standing right there presumably waiting for his children. We don't get to see his face, but we get to notice his hat, strange coincidence? Anyway, the modest house-working women can't afford to go and pick up their kids at school. So their children, who must walk home by themselves, are the ones mostly in danger. Then we see a policeman/traffic officer who, while halting the cars to facilitate her crossing the street, in fact is the one responsible for leading her to the assassin. We see several people passing by, busy and unconcerned, a man assorted in reading the news, a few other people walking past, these are the people on the young girl's path to death. Repetitive on and off screen sound and movement originating from different sources (the clock, the bells, the horn, the ball) leads us to the shadow of the murderer on a printed poster. Is this the man who kills innocent lives while the rest pass by too busy with themselves to acknowledge and do something about it? But things are going to change. In this incipit, all the carefully combined sound and visual elements have already highlighted the agents responsible for this crime. Who is the monstrous man in black threatening our new generation, and above all who is going to stop him?
  2. The two working men have become so similar to the train, that they have learned to communicate in the same way as the train: verbal communication is impossible within this deafening environment. We are asked to sympathise with that. The coal and smoke make the men's appearances as greasy as the train's gear. To do their job well, they end up looking like the train, they simply become a part of it. It is a male dominated world of mechanical reproduction, and the train is almost like a sexual iron tool thanks to which men are able to dominate the rural landscape, enter tunnels and arrive at destination. I did not feel any anticipation for what is coming next, even if the noises, music and editing try to suggest it, perhaps because the arriving of the train to an empty station somehow reveals the fundamental human emptiness of this exaggerated masculine performance.
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