Friday, November 07, 2008

Chapter and verse....

We take DVD "chapters" for granted, but should we? An unusual and needed post. (Moving Image Source)

One occasionally stumbles upon a particularly ingenious and creative DVD segmentation. In the case of Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Columbia TriStar), for example, I can only imagine that director Paul Thomas Anderson himself made the radical decision to slice up certain sections of the film according to its musical score, not its traditional, narrative scene divisions. Look at and listen to, most strikingly, the transition between chapters 13 and 14: the split comes in the middle of a continuous event (Adam Sandler’s character cracking up in his office) but marks the appearance of a special musical "moment," the quotation of Shelley Duvall’s song "He Needs Me" from Robert Altman’s Popeye (1980). This decision—annotated nowhere on the disc, since Anderson eschews audio commentaries—reveals an aspect of the properly post-classical logic of a sublimely nutty and hyper-formalist movie: the music, sometimes straddling several scenes and battling it out in the mix with other sound sources, truly drives and structures the whole.

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