So, I started reading Pop Fiction: The Song in Cinema. It’s a slim collection of essays edited by Matthew Caley and Steve Lannin that focus on individual movie scenes and song selection. The argument seems to be that the scenes in question and the songs that accompany them define or transform the movie (i.e., the movie would not be the same without these cinematic and musical moments).
In its way, this exercise reminds me of “Scenic Routes,” a new series Mike D’Angelo is doing for The Onion that focuses on a particular scene in a movie (I especially liked his first entry on the Rahad Jackson scene in Boogie Nights).
Of course, I think about this with an awareness of how music videos might factor into this discussion. There’s the necessity to acknowledge the traditional film score scholar perspective that using popular music to narrate a scene creates hollow “MTV moments,” a concept loaded with class-based derisiveness that Miguel Mera rejects in his excellent analysis of the overdose scene in Trainspotting, which employs Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.”
And then there’s also consideration that must paid to instances when songs that are used in movies have their own accompanying music videos. This is something I wish David Toop brought into his discussion of Massive Attack’s “Karmacoma” and how Wong Kar-Wai used a different version of the song for Fallen Angels. I haven’t seen Fallen Angels, but Jonathan Glazer’s unsettling music video for the single left an indelible impression on me. For that matter, Wong Kar-Wai left his mark on me as a music video director well before I was aware of his film work, thanks to his clip for DJ Shadow’s “Six Days.”
So, much like I do with music videos, I thought I’d post a key scene(s) in a movie that I believe aligns with the intent of this blog. Tonight, I present the “Magic Man” scene and the “Crazy On You” scene in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, both accompanied by Heart. To borrow from Robynn Stilwell’s essay “Vinyl Communion: The Record as Ritual Object in Girls’ Rites-of-Passage Films,” these scenes consider female objectification of the male form and female sexual autonomy and subjectivity.
Discuss, discuss! Also, feel free to contribute other scene suggestions for future posts (especially if they come from movies I haven’t seen).