Velvet Goldmine – 20 second sequence:
To begin, I would like to clarify that this twenty second sequence whilst appealing to all facets of cinematic vocation, was selected for its allegorical and pertinent exploration of dialogue.
Teenage nostalgia and school-time innocence is probed and interrogated within this scene through an understated yet affable composition of warm lighting and hue subtly contradicted with awkward body language and corresponding camera angles.
A tenor of recollection is apparent in the sequence as the set takes the narrative to a time before the substantial plot, framing an earlier memory of the protagonist in a youthful setting of school day boredom.
A heightened importance is placed upon the dictating teacher as the frame follows him and his speech as if to reinforce the gravity of what he is saying.
The character of the teacher reads an excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ citing “…as it has been in his brain, and in his passions. He felt that he had known them all, those strange, terrible figures that had passed across the stage of the world and made sin so marvellous and evil so full of subtlety. It seemed to him that in some mysterious way their lives had been his own.’
On the film, director Todd Haynes stated “I wanted it to be about the relationship between the fan and his idol. And everything real or not real that happens because of that.” (Haynes 1998)
Wild’s narrative of Dorian Gray gives substance to the relationship between the fan and idol in Haynes Velvet Goldmine, articulating the evanescence of character, deeming legends and their fandom as suffers from a societal dissociative identity disorder.
Therein lies a a state of lacuna – an unoccupied state of character or persona, of which has previously sinned so marvellous and evil so full of subtly, yet to consume the likes of another. Yet, the very notion of sin is intangible and therefore so too is the is the constructed character by which it is consumed.
This idea of multiple personalities and of stage identities inquests into the theatrical construct of the fourth wall almost as an apparatus of deception. Though is it the deception of propriety that contrives an icon or rather a need for escapism amongst decorum?
Wilde, O 2006, Picture of Dorian Gray, Oxford University Press, UK, Oxford. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [19 May 2017].
Dickinson, P. 2005, “OSCAR WILDE: READING THE LIFE AFTER THE LIFE”, Biography, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 414-432,514.
Bullock, M. 2002, “Treasures of the Earth and Screen: Todd Haynes’s Film Velvet Goldmine”, Discourse, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 3-26,115.
doCarmo, S.N. 2002, “Beyond Good and Evil: Mass Culture Theorized in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine”, Journal of American and Comparative Cultures, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 395-398.