Alien nation | Bleader

Alien nation

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This is what it would look like if Vermeer had ever decided to make a bloody horror movie. —Carina Chocano in the LA Times on Let the Right One In

We used a painting by Raffaello [Raphael], from the Vatican, to have a color guide. He uses gray in a very interesting way, as if it was white. Because we have so much white in the film from the snow we have to find some way to communicate all this hard white light. ... If you don't know which way to turn, you can always ask the masters. —Tomas Alfredson in a Paste magazine interview

So maybe we should blame Alfredson for the misleading emphases on Renaissance antecedents in the reviews of his echt modernist "vampire" movie Let the Right One In. Since Vermeer seems less relevant here than, e.g., Le Corbusier—or postwar International Style architecture in its generic white-wall phase—in generating the film's luminously antiseptic look and feel. Which does indeed come across as alienating, though NOT, as some critics insist, depressing. Or maybe the right word's disjunctive—the way Alfredson makes sure the visual landscape never parses out, that every compositional through line runs up against a barrier, a kind of minimalist fragmentation of the image. Which, of course, keeps everyone in a state of perpetual imbalance, like one of Sean Scully's discoordinating canvases. Still want to explain the subliminal queasiness you're feeling? Then consider E.M. Forster's familiar maxim in reverse: Only disconnect. 

Which is modernism—or a variety of it—in a nutshell, our magical/disconsolate home in the world, sans invitation. Keep the right ones out!

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