Sunday, April 21, 2013

Schenectady : The Place Beyond The Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines - Poster Detail, 2013

Very powerful weekend, just don't know what to say.

Sitting in a theatre and watching the film The Place Beyond The Pines.

Text messages had been coming in all week, from people I hadn't heard from in years telling me to see this film. All the messages essentially said the same thing : you need to see this film. it is schenectady.

Busy with something else, I actually ignore all of these notes. Not a big film fan, I figured it was some goofy thing I'd watch someday on video. Same day here arrives an image from my sister. It's our family house, the house we all grew up in, as found on Google Streetview. The odd "God's Eye" view, high and above, strikes me. Like is this how I'd see the home when I die? Floating out of it, hovering above?

All of these forces were at work. I bought a ticket to the film.

Here we have a very well done film that addresses the complexities of father/son relationships as well as something I'll refer to as "the persistence of the past". More on that stuff later, but the visuals, for anyone who has lived in this area, are stunning. The buildings of your hometown appear as metaphors, the landscapes, seemingly shot from a helicopter, seem to hold the timeless secrets of the town, the people. Never before have I been surprised and impressed with another artist's take on my home town. In this case, director Derek Cianfrance and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt aren't locals, but they have embraced this place as thoroughly as I've ever seen it. You almost expect to see yourself walking thru the scenes, thinking it really is just possibly a slice of your life...or your memory.

Talking with a friend after the film, her take summed it up:

The characters in the movie, they seem to come and go. But the main character of this film really is Schenectady. It was the one constant that connected everything. I feel like I know that character, I know Schenectady, and I know they brought that character to life.

I really couldn't agree with her more.


The Place Beyond The Pines. See the Trailer HERE.

Civitello's, 1984 Schenectady, N.Y. by TA

Google Streetview, 2722, Schenectady N.Y. by Robin Heberling

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