745 Don't Look Now

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R0lf
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#51 Post by R0lf » Fri May 01, 2015 12:24 am

Fingers crossed they cast Nic Cage.

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Ribs
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#52 Post by Ribs » Fri May 01, 2015 1:37 am

Nah, Kiefer Sutherland, surely? They could even do it as a sequel, the same story but just told again with him as the son from the first one, still haunted by the imagery of the red cape! No? Anyone?

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PfR73
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#53 Post by PfR73 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:57 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
Dark Horse 77 wrote:A question about the first supplement on disc 2 entitled Don't Look Back: Looking Back:

I watched it the other night and there is no color for the 20 minute documentary. Is this a stylistic decision or could it be a defect?
Actually, there is a bit of color...the color red (note the appearance of the figure in the red raincoat sitting in the church pew behind the right shoulder of Nicolas Roeg during his interview segments). At one point in the interview, Roeg notes that they made a conscious effort to eliminate other colors during the shots of the figure in the red raincoat to emphasize the coat. I believe the producers of the documentary took that idea to heart and electronically drained all of the color from the program apart from the objects colored red. That this appears to have affected the film clips as well demonstrates that not a lot of care was taken in this stylistic choice. It also doesn't help that the documentary looks like it was produced in standard definition and the interlaced transfer used on the Criterion disc is weak.
I think Criterion just used a very bad source. This featurette is also on the UK Blu-Ray with perfectly normal color. On the UK disc, it opens with the credit "Blue Underground Presents." The Criterion disc opens with the credit "Severin Films Presents."

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Mr Sausage
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Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

#54 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:18 am

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swo17
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Re: Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

#55 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:49 pm

I don't believe this film's title is intended to be taken literally.

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Re: Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

#56 Post by MichaelB » Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:33 am

If I remember rightly, it's the first three words of the original short story.

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Re: Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

#57 Post by Werewolf by Night » Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:07 pm


oh yeah
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Re: Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

#58 Post by oh yeah » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:59 pm

This is my favorite Roeg film (and one of my favorite films by anyone) because it puts his talents to such perfect use. Basically he's a very visceral director, using whatever camera or editing tricks will allow him to jolt the audience into an emotional reaction, no matter how "dated" or "self-conscious" they may seem to some contemporary viewers (e.g. the rampant use of zooms or his signature style of non-linear editing). More than perhaps any other horror film I can recall offhand, Don't Look Now shakes me to the core because of its uneasy, deliberately fractured and imperfect aesthetic which makes it truly feel like we're watching things through the queasy, nervous eyes of John Baxter. The use of handheld throughout in particular gives the film a precarious feel, as if we too could fall off a scaffold from a great height at any moment. Nothing ever feels safe or grounded or "right"; Roeg suffuses the entire film in a bath of pure unease. Of course the off-season Venice setting works wonders in adding to the gloomy, haunted atmosphere; it's one of the most memorable cities depicted on film, and certainly one of the eeriest. Various images recur throughout and taunt us with their elusiveness: broken glass, water, the color red. The film is almost abstract in its play of symbols and signs, its infamous editing rhythms which feel like they're trying to mimic all the confusion and trouble of the grieving, doubting mind of John.

The first time I saw the film I was utterly crushed by the ending. I couldn't get the film out of my head for weeks, months even; it was one of the very few movies to actually shake me up, to scare me and haunt my mind afterwards too. I don't know if it has quite the same effect now, but it retains its nauseous, dread-filled power. A very disquieting film which captures a certain deeply Gothic essence like few other horror flicks.

However I wonder if some may feel that the film is too cynical or fatalistic in the way it sends John to his doom for not realizing the error of his ways? I think it overcomes this partly by how humanized John and Laura are, they're not just another couple of lambs to the horror-film slaughter, they feel like actual real people. Also, to not have John die would kind of defeat the whole narrative and thematic point of the film, of not realizing the truth until it's too late, of doubting one's own gifts. Does this advocate a kind of quasi-Christian line of thought, though? That those, like John, who don't "believe" (in his case, in his own ESP), will end up dead. I think you can bypass this by arguing that the film is not meant to be taken that literally, though.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#59 Post by Rich Malloy » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:19 pm

I was hoping to pick this up during the BN sale or at Amazon, but it’s been unavailable from either place.

It’s sold out at Best Buy, deepdiscount, Target claims to have 1 copy, Walmart says 4 (much higher prices naturally).

Are we in between printings on this? Not oop, right?

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PfR73
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#60 Post by PfR73 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:57 pm

Roeg's passing probably caused an uptick in sales.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#61 Post by Peter McM » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:30 pm

PfR73 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:57 pm
Roeg's passing probably caused an uptick in sales.
You're probably right; found one copy of Don't Look Now at my B&N, and no copies of Insignificance. Now what we need is a Bad Timing upgrade.

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Big Ben
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#62 Post by Big Ben » Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:31 pm

Peter McM wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:30 pm
PfR73 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:57 pm
Roeg's passing probably caused an uptick in sales.
You're probably right; found one copy of Don't Look Now at my B&N, and no copies of Insignificance. Now what we need is a Bad Timing upgrade.
I think a master exists. Doesn't Insignificance have footage of it on one of the special features?

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bottled spider
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#63 Post by bottled spider » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:15 pm

The two sisters have a Renaissance painting on their wall, depicting the Madonna and Child, with a woman on either side, in attitudes of adoration. Is that unusual? I don't think I've seen that configuration of figures before in a Madonna & Child. A certain amount of emphasis is given to the painting, as if the viewer is meant to take note of it. Possibly the painting is meant to represent Laura and Christine and the two sisters. At any rate, whether it was intended or not, the sight of the two sisters and Laura standing on the prow of the barge recalled to me the figures in the painting.

[edited after taking a second look at the scene in question]

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#64 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:36 pm

The first time I saw this, like many others, I was shaken by the finale (though after a brief shock of debilitating disturbance, my reactive thought was "ohh that's the reference from Scary Movie 3). The film's power isn't about the ending though, for it's a stylish, raw, and cutting meditation on grief and the horror in despair, in particular of coexisting with an equal who should share the same grief but who copes in their own way. Beyond denial and suppression, Sutherland goes to town on gathering up nearly every defense mechanism, but he is not painted as wrong so much as a resilient fighter who takes on the masculine self(and I suppose societal)-imposed pressure of succumbing to the role of the strong support for his wife's processing of her grief through more open-minded pathways. His inability to cope with intangibility leads to his own demise of course, but it's the subtleties in his paranoia and gradual shedding of these defenses toward an alignment with his wife that make the film extra tragic. He's just doing too little too late, but his isolation by the end teeters on desperation where I continue to come away thinking that he's so close to a therapeutic breakthrough. The priest's comment, "You should have gone with her" was right, and Sutherland knows it enough to not say anything back, slowly slipping back into the sublimation of his work and suppressing the truth until the opportunity to turn back has passed.
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I honestly have little grasp on what is real or not, but I always took the old dwarf in the red coat to be a demon, not the actual serial killer, though I'm understanding that this is widely accepted at face value. The shaking of the head that to me signifies a deeper level of "you made a mistake" beyond being lured into a serial killer's trap, and when you add the red coat similarity there seems to be too much of a creepy vibe to be just that, but I suppose I can't think of what else it may be. I guess I prefer the ambiguity.

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Big Ben
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#65 Post by Big Ben » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:33 pm

I tried for some time to figure out why the film had such a profound effect on me and you're pretty much on the money here blus. The way Roeg portrays the eventual reality of Sutherland's situation is what breaks my heart the most. That is to say it doesn't feel like it's being rammed down my throat but is instead the end result of Sutherland's entirely realistic worldview of looking at his daughter's death. Of course he believes that he isn't experiencing psychic warnings because to him that's patently absurd. But he realizes all too late that this is not the case. It's a totally organic response to tragedy, even if at first it feels cold and distant. But I think that's part of what makes the film so effective. It doesn't feel like an unrealistic, stereotypical "Nuh Uh" reaction to the way the world operates.

Regarding the ending specifically:
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I've always been under the impression that the dwarf was indeed the killer but now that you bring everything up regarding ambiguity I'm not so sure. The scene really threw me for a loop when I saw it for a loop when I first saw it. Oh and for reference Du Maurier's original story makes note of John's mental state and him noting how horrible everything is at the last moment. Highly recommended reading if you like the film.

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The Curious Sofa
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#66 Post by The Curious Sofa » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:55 am

SpoilerShow
The dwarf is a serial killer who uses her semblance to a small child to lure her prey. If we are to believe Heather the psychic, then Christine’s ghost is trying to warn John, as she is aware that John would most vulnerable to the ruse of the serial killer. John ignores all warnings, both from his psychic intuition and from Christine’s message from the beyond.

I’m not sure what would be gained from the added complication of the dwarf being a demon, as nothing in the film or in Du Maurier’s short story points in the direction of this being a religious horror film along the lines if The Exorcist or The Omen. It wouldn’t change the outcome. The killer is of little interest to the plot other than the danger she poses to John in particular, due to her height and her attire.

One thing I’ve noticed in online discussions of Don’t Look Now, is that many people often don’t recognise it as a ghost story, because the film doesn’t show the ghost. However the end appears to confirm the existence of Christine’s ghost and that of John’s visions, which could be exclusively linked to Christine’s attempts at communication. With the final scene of John’s funeral, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Here Roeg’s flash-forward/flash-back editing style literally represents the mind of a man who receives psychic warnings he is unable to interpret. If you accept that this is a ghost story, there isn’t really that much ambiguity as to what is and isn’t real.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#67 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:37 am

There's also the idea that it could be a death wish of some sort - that the quest for knowledge and understanding can only end in a terminal point where you now know the truth but only as you are dying, as compared to Julie Christie being beatifically happy enough with the faux-comfort provided by the clairvoyant sisters (who themselves have not got a full grasp of the situation), without needing to tear into whether it is actually the 'truth' of the situation or not. Which is just as frustratingly blinkered in its own way as Sutherland's refusal to take Christie's credulous belief in the sisters seriously, and I think we are seeing both members of the couple, understandably, going down the wrong paths in response to their grief - one into homilies and naïve belief; the other into needing to know for certain, even if it reveals that there was nothing there but an opportunist preying on the vulnerable.

I just always get moved by the idea that what might have potentially drawn Julie Christie into the relationship with Donald Sutherland in the first place was probably a subconscious appreciation of his psychic gifts (that of course he does not even recognise within himself, let alone their influence on his perception, until the sublimely edited ending. And which in his vociferous denials probably hurt Christie more and drive further into the arms of the sisters for solace), which is the same thing that makes her tragically susceptible to being swayed away from him towards the more superficially obviously clairvoyant sisters too in her own desperate need to contact their lost daughter. In the end both members of the couple are desperately searching for a way to get in contact with their lost child and in the process end up getting tragically and fatally separated from each other by 'easier' solutions seemingly being offered to 'fix' their grief, which end up only being a distraction from being together as a couple, accepting the loss and working through their bereavement together for the sake of those still living.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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tenia
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#68 Post by tenia » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:17 am

To me, it is indeed some kind of death wish, being willingful or not.
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On one hand, there is Christie seemingly devastated while Sutherland seems to be the one holding on in a more cartesian way, but it turns out to be pretty much the opposite : he can't let go of their daughter, and it will litterally haunt him to death. It's an impossible grief that has no other way to end, no matter the signs laid out to him - and us viewers in the meantime -. It would be endless if it wasn't for his death, while Christie, I guess, found solace somehow thanks to the psychic sisters.

To me, it's all a self-fulfilling prophecy : Sutherland had this vision of his funeral barge, and everything he does just throws him to his own death. There's no escaping it.
colinr0380 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:37 am
In the end both members of the couple are desperately searching for a way to get in contact with their lost child and in the process end up getting tragically and fatally separated from each other by 'easier' solutions seemingly being offered to 'fix' their grief, which end up only being a distraction from being together as a couple, accepting the loss and working through their bereavement together for the sake of those still living.
Roeg said that "Grief can separate people. I've seen it happen. Even the closest, healthiest relationship can come undone through grief. People split up. Or there is a distancing. They can't help it. The fact is that grief doesn't comfort grief. It's just one of those hard facts.", and that's indeed what the movie offers : 2 people getting separated progressively by the way they're handling their grief, no matter what.

I think that's also a huge part of what makes the movie so powerful. It has a way to feel inescapable, like a doom that can't be avoided, some kind of march towards death.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#69 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:37 am

That impossibility of connection, particularly in relationships, but also just generally with anything outside the perception created by our own minds and projected outwards onto the world (which might not be how anybody else is seeing things!), is probably the key Roeg theme running throughout all of his work.

But in Don't Look Now there is also a feeling that the tragedy could have been avoidable too (which is where the much celebrated sex scene is key in suggesting a healing process in progress that our couple get diverted away from by pursuing their own separate paths of coming to terms with their grief ending up like people on separate boats, passing each other by on the same river, unable to communicate). Fate isn't railroading people to their death, the characters themselves are, if that is a good distinction to make. Similarly to the way that the film suggests that psychic powers are real, but that there is also the complication that it is still in our laps to completely misinterpret any 'message' being provided by those powers. Or that even in a world where such powers exist, that might not stop people from using it as a business! Or the way that eventually the world does not entirely exist revolving completely about us but might be about something completely outside of our sphere, such as a string of murders, that only bear any relation to our lives when we take steps to ensure that they become a part of it!

In other words I'm not sure that Sutherland is consciously marching towards death (though I think that is probably something occurring on a subconscious level and is one of the themes of the film, that knowledge is a form of ending), but is perhaps just as much misinterpreting the signals provided to him by not being alive to the possibilities within himself. If he were perhaps more open to the idea of his own internal workings of his mind then he might have been better prepared to understand what he was being shown, rather than interpreting things horribly literally until it was too late (which goes back to the opening death of the daughter perhaps, where he gets a psychic inkling of something being wrong enough to dash out to the lake, but too late to save the daughter. Maybe if he was more aware of his powers he could have averted even that by being there sooner. And maybe that is another subconscious grief gnawing at him throughout the film). But then maybe he would not have been such a successful artist if he was entirely knowledgeable about the mysterious workings of his own mind! (And of course every good artist needs to have a bit of a tinge of a tragic backstory about them too!)

I keep wondering what could have happened if that gate had not been barred to Julie Christie: would she have been murdered too, or could she have charged in there and kung fu kicked the murderer in the face? Unfortunately she returns to her husband too late and finds the gates barred to her, unable to do more than reach her arms into the tomb to fruitlessly try and pull him back to her. And her tragedy is that, as seemingly a completely psychic-less character, she not only loses her husband but also the possibility of contact with a truly psychically connected person who was right there in front of her all along (I think it is important that she says "Darlings!" rather than "Darling!" at the end as she is trapped behind the gate, as if she now recognises that he was the true connection to their lost daughter all along and she is losing them both)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Feb 28, 2020 11:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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tenia
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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#70 Post by tenia » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:05 am

I don't think he's consciously doing so, but I think he's doing it nonetheless.
Something I'm also just thinking following your saying : "knowledge is a form of ending".
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Technically, he's spending most of the movie chasing the possibility of their daughter being around in some sort, only to end up on a distorted form (1) that ends him. Visually, it is an arresting image - that what he thought to possibly be their daughter turns out to be a distorted form of her, a shell - the red hood - but unrelated inside it -, but it's also at this moment he realises he's been chasing a mirage... and then he's gone. Knowledge of this mirage indeed ends him. I never thought of it this way and might be over-analysing it, but it seems to make sense. The loop is closed, the investigation too, and thus, he dies.
I have to say though I never read Sutherland's character as being psychic in a full (and maybe more traditionnal) way, and that clearly impacts my reading of the movie.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#71 Post by The Curious Sofa » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:32 am

I’m not convinced that John has a death wish, that he is unwilling of letting his dead daughter go or that he spends most of the movie chasing her. Where is that the case ? John is mostly concerned with work, his wife’s emotional state and eventually her sudden appearance on the funeral barge when she should be in the UK, which he interprets as a kidnapping.

It is true that grief can destroy a marriage and there are stories about that, but I don’t think this is one if them. The sad thing here is that John and Laura are in the process of finding back to each other, when circumstances separate them (the son’s accident) which leads to John finding himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a rift in how they deal with Christine’s death but in the way they behave towards each other there is no real sign that it is driving a wedge between them. When he follows the serial killer in the red coat, it’s not that he can’t let go, he’d just be first in line of wanting to help a seemingly helpless child, who at a distance resembles his dead daughter. He briefly glimpses the serial killer before, but the climax of the movie is the only point where he chases a figure who resembles his daughter.

For me the most intriguing question of John’s psychic abilities is, whether they were dormant before his daughter’s death. The first time their psychic connection becomes apparent in the movie, is when Christine is drowning or possibly already has drowned. Christine’s ghost is an ever present central character in the story, who we never see.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#72 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:50 am

I think it's important to note that John is looking at a photographic slide in which the hooded killer appears at the same time his daughter has fallen into the pond. Unconsciously or not, the association between the figure in Venice and his daughter has already been made at the start of the film.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#73 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:11 pm

I agree with all the comments above in that I agree with tenia that John is not consciously aware of having a 'death wish' but its more a need to know, whatever the cost, that eventually results in the same terminal ending. Whether that is subconsciously there or not might be up for debate but he's certainly not consciously planning to meet a horrible end. But death wishes can work in many ways, such as people just unthinkingly putting themselves into dangerous situations!

I also agree with Curious Sofa that John's concerns are elsewhere, which is why he gets a bit annoyed when Laura keeps bringing the daughter up and especially when she brings a couple of strangers into their private grief, because she's not recognising the underlying purpose of their working holiday to Venice, which is to try and get away from the situation and reconnect as a couple (which the sex scene was the beginning of, though even there its already segueing into getting ready for dinner scene, and the fateful meeting with the two sisters, that follows). And Curious Sofa is right to point out John's practical nature in that obviously there has to be a 'real world' explanation for seeing Laura on the other boat when he thought she had left the country, such as that she has possibly been kidnapped by the two sisters that he was already suspicious of the motives of. Which is wild conspiracy theory speculation in itself but slightly more 'grounded' than the eventual explanation of it being the most awful premonition possible.

But I disagree slightly that it is about grief 'destroying' a marriage, but more that it has distracted both parties away from each other at the point where they each need the other the most. At first we may think Laura is the 'deluded' one for so readily being willing to believe in the clairvoyant sisters whilst John is fully down to earth and scoffs at this turn of events, but eventually it becomes more about John's inability to think about some of the visions that he witnesses in anything but the most practical way that leads him to the most explicitly blunt 'real world' answer to his fears of all.

(Thinking about it, it is a similar structure to Bad Timing in some ways, where Theresa Russell's character is the 'crazier' one, acting out her despair, but eventually it is the coldness of Art Garfunkle's character that leads him into the darkest acts, and he gets critiqued the most severely by the film for his lack of empathy or ability to put himself into his partner's thinking processes, and damningly he has little insight into his own thought processes or motivations for doing what he does either, being driven by impulse and then intellectualising about it to explain it retrospectively. But of course Bad Timing really is about a collapsing relationship whereas Don't Look Now is more sympathetic to its central couple)

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#74 Post by tenia » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:30 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:11 pm
I agree with all the comments above in that I agree with tenia that John is not consciously aware of having a 'death wish' but its more a need to know, whatever the cost, that eventually results in the same terminal ending. Whether that is subconsciously there or not might be up for debate but he's certainly not consciously planning to meet a horrible end. But death wishes can work in many ways, such as people just unthinkingly putting themselves into dangerous situations!
I might have poorly phrased myself, but this is indeed what I meant.

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Re: 745 Don't Look Now

#75 Post by The Curious Sofa » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:32 pm

Something I’ve come across a lot the in the online discussion around Don’t Look Now is a denial that it is part of the horror genre and therefore the psychological aspects to the characters get exaggerated, while the fact that it is a ghost story gets downplayed to the point of non-existence. I’ve come across “it’s not a horror film, it’s a psychological thriller/mystery” quite a bit. As if the film being a ghost story and a horror film can’t co-exist with it being a perceptive study of grief. That’s where I think the interpretation of the mystery being exclusively located in John’s psyche gets to a point where I feel that’s a totally different film from the one I see. It’s the “elevated horror” controversy, where once a film is considered to be too good, it can’t be part of the genre anymore. A great film can’t have a supernatural foundation, it has to be a psychological one. It’s possible to deny the supernatural aspects of the film, because Roeg doesn’t do the cliched thing by showing you the ghost of Christine. But without her, the story doesn’t add up.

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