My latest Fandor video essay, like my previous one, is inspired by a new release to look back at an earlier film. In this case, the new release is La La Land, Damien Chazelle's musical love letter to Los Angeles. Watching the trailer, it was clear this movie was screaming from the rooftops that it was an "L.A. Movie" with candy-colored photography of famous locations from the title metropolis. I was most struck by a shot of the Angel's Flight Railway, where the opening scene of my short film Class of 2002 took place. So there was a bit of personal resonance to these clips.
Likewise, when I watched Chazelle's feature debut, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (I keep accidentally typing "Guy and Madeline Go Boating"), I was struck with a bit of geography-inspired nostalgia. But this time it was more subdued and subtle - despite fleeting shots of unmistakable landmarks early on, it actually took me a little while to realize the film was set in Boston. The locale was slightly disguised by the black-and-white imagery and an emphasis on handheld close-ups of the actors. Nonetheless, the city casts a spell over the film, and I decided to draw out that mood even further in my tribute to Guy and Madeline. I created a short musical montage to a city that I - and obviously Chazelle as well - have a great fondness for.
Here is a sample from the accompanying piece I wrote for Fandor:
The film closes with a powerful trumpet solo, shot in a single take—a close-up of the composer-performer playing the instrument as an expression of his love for Madeline. This video essay imagines—perhaps not so outlandishly—that the music is not only a tribute to her, but also to the city in which they fell in, out of, and perhaps back into love. Keeping Guy in a corner of the screen the whole time, I’ve stitched together a montage of the movie’s many quick location shots—juxtaposing these images with a one-minute sample of Guy’s sustained solo. (continue reading on Fandor Keyframe)
For my own personal recollections of Boston, visit my essay Boston, You're My Home, written the day of the Marathon bombing in 2013.
And you can also check out my film Class of 2002, which contains original and found footage from both Boston and Los Angeles: