Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

WONDERWALL

Dir: Joe Massot; Scr: Guillermo Cabrera Infante; Prod: Andrew Braunsberg; Exec Prod: J. David Bertram; DP: Harry Waxman; Music: George Harrison, featuring Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr; Cast: Jane Birkin, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Irene Handl, Richard Wattis.

35mm, 75 min., 1968 (RP)

Pitting a typically proper, mild-mannered British professor against the ever-changing world in which we live in, Wonderwall is a study of objectification, the male gaze, and life under the microscope. This tale of unrequited desire explores the Walter Mitty dream world of a lonely scientist, Mr. Collins (MacGowran), who lives next to the flat of fab fashion model Penny Lane (Birken, married at the time to Serge Gainesbourg) and her top-gear boyfriend in London's swinging Sixties. The good prof's life is changed when he chucks an alarm clock at his wall to stifle the loud music ("organized noise") next door. (The film's music is by such legends as George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, and Ringo Starr.) His butterfly collection is shattered to reveal a hole in the wall -- his ticket to wonderland. Likewise, his life is shattered. Brilliant Technicolor dreamscapes paint a rich contrast to the neo-Victorian existence of the obsessed scientist. While Wonderwall shows ancestral ties to much of today's quick-cut film deconstructions, it also illustrates that films of the Sixties embodied a deliberate pace. The shots through the peephole are deliciously naughty and innocent all at once. Sequences showing the professor destroying his flat, piece by piece, for a better view recall scenes from The Conversation. Massot (The Song Remains the Same) captures the heart of the obsessed and seems to take the role of the camera eye very seriously in this tale of voyeuristic fantasy. The short "Reflection on Love," a Twigg-ed out pre-rock video exploration of concepts of lust and love, also by Massot, opened.

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