Thursday, February 23, 2012

2001 analysis - part 19: More on the hidden plot: Bowman's relationship to Floyd


Top left: Dr. Heywood Floyd 'celebrates' his daughter's birthday by means of a video telephone conversation with her on his way to the moon. Top right: Frank Poole relaxes on the way to Jupiter, while he views a pre-recorded message from his parents celebrating today, his birthday. Note that in one sense this scene is the 'opposite' of the one with Floyd and his daughter - in Floyd's case, the person whose birthday it is appears on the communication screen (from our perspective), while in Poole's case, the person whose birthday it is is viewing the screen (again, from our own perspective). It is as if our point-of-view has 'switched' between the two scenes. Above left: As described in part 2 of the analysis of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, one of the underlying themes of that movie is point-of-view 'switching'. Winston Wolf (on left) pays Jimmie Dimmick (right, played by Quentin Tarantino) for the use of his bedspreads and blankets, to help solve the problem presented by the 'Bonnie situation'. Above right: Butch Coolidge pays taxicab driver Esmarelda VillaLobos a little extra after his ride, so that she will keep her mouth shut about giving him the ride. 'Lobos' is Spanish for 'wolves'. We are here cued to the switching by use of the 'wolf' nomenclature in both scenes: In the Bonnie situation, 'wolf' pays for help, while in the cab scene, 'wolf' gets paid to help.

Top left: On his way to Clavius Base on the moon, Dr. Heywood Floyd (seated at far right) talks with his friend, Elena, and her colleagues in a space station sitting area. We note the 'artificial' futuristic look of the furnishings, and the artificial manner of voice used by Floyd during the conversation (though it sounds as if he's speaking from gut level at the point at which he declines to provide any information on the supposed epidemic at Clavius). Top right: The inside of club and restaurant Jack Rabbit Slim's, from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Though it's hard to tell just from looking at these screencaps, when actually viewing Pulp Fiction it becomes apparent that there is a definite artificial, even pretentious, feel about the club. Note that the ostentatious pinkish color theme in the club, is not unlike that of the space station furnishings shown at top left. Above left: Floyd speaking at Clavius, again using an artificial or 'stiff' manner of speaking. Above right: The dance contest announcer at Jack Rabbit Slim's (the man standing behind the microphone) uses an artificial manner of speaking similar to that of Floyd. Note the blue back-lighting, somewhat reminiscent of the blue in the Clavius lecture room. Also note that Mia and Vincent are on the stage (to the right of the announcer from our perspective). We know from part 18 of this analysis that Vincent represents David Bowman (within a certain context), so what's being suggested by all of the foregoing is that Bowman and Floyd represent the same 'presence', in some respect (i.e., Vincent, representing Bowman, is in an area with blue back-lighting (above right screencap), and Floyd is speaking in the blue Clavius lecture room (above left); and, there is an air of artificiality in the club Vincent (again, representing Bowman) is in, and similarly, there is an artificial feeling about the Clavius lecture room (due to the manner in which Floyd is speaking); taking all of this together, a correspondence is being drawn between Bowman and Floyd).

Above left: From Michael Mann's Heat: Vincent's fellow police officers spy on bank robber Neil McCauley and his gang at a scrapyard. Above right: Later, at the same scrapyard, Neil snaps some pictures of Vincent and his men using a high-powered telephoto lens. Neil has tricked Vincent's crew into chasing down a phony lead so he can photograph them. The point is that Neil is viewed in the first instance, then later, the situation is reversed and he views: 'That which was viewed, is viewing'. Left: The hint that Neil McCauley represents some sort of 'alien' presence, is contained in this video monitor image of him obtained via night camera. In this scene, Vincent and his men are viewing the monitor.



From Lynch's Mulholland Drive: Top left: Near the beginning of the movie, in the Winkie's diner, Dan (facing us) and Herb (sitting across from him) discuss Dan's dream about the man behind the diner. This scene actually depicts a dream of Diane Selwyn, in which Dan represents Diane, and Herb is Dan's therapist. In reality, however, Dan is Diane's psychotherapist. Top right: At a much later point in the movie than the scene shown at left, but earlier chronologically speaking, Diane makes an arrangement with a hit man to do away with Camilla. Above left: While Diane is arranging things with the hit man, she happens to look over and see her psychotherapist standing at the register. The therapist, who just happens to be in Winkie's at the same time the hit's being arranged, overhears the conversation, and he realizes that his patient (or former patient), Diane, plans to have an actress (Camilla) killed. This is why two detectives start looking for Diane later - the therapist notifies the police of the planned hit. Note the chronology of events here: Diane saw the therapist in Winkie's, then later, she had the dream about him. Above right: From A Space Odyssey: Bowman watches Floyd on a video monitor after he has disconnected HAL. Tarantino's hints from above tell us that Bowman and Floyd can, in a sense, be taken to have 'switched places', and also that they represent the same presence. The point is that not only is Floyd an alien, as previously discussed, but also, by the point in the movie depicted here, Bowman's body and mind are beginning to be taken over by the same alien life force that earlier occupied Floyd's body and mind, i.e., Bowman is 'inhabited' by the same alien individual as was Floyd earlier. The hints from Mann and Lynch lead us to the same conclusion: From Mann, an alien, i.e. Floyd, is being viewed by Bowman; then a few moments later, Bowman, an alien, is viewing - effectively, the POV (point of view) of the alien shifts. Finally, from Lynch, Diane Selwyn, who represents Bowman,[a] first (chronologically speaking) sees the therapist, whom we note has somewhat of an 'alien' facial appearance; then later (again chronologically), Diane 'becomes' the therapist in her dream, i.e., she 'becomes' the 'alien' - similar to how Bowman becomes an alien while he's in a trance.

a. This representation is hinted at by various things in Lynch's movie, such as the idea that Diane represents yang (with Camilla representing yin), and the fact that Diane commits suicide, which is what Bowman effectively does when he enters the emergency airlock without a helmet.


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