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The City, the Subject and the Digital Image - Essay Example

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Q] Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2006): In what ways does the film link electronic surveillance to contemporary urban alienation? From the evidence of the film, how far can the viewer of the urban surveillance screen be regarded as a latter-day flaneur?        Urban life has ever been subjected to analysis in movies as well as literature…
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Download file to see previous pages Urban alienation, therefore, becomes a favored subject in the works of literature and visual arts.        Red Road, an impressive, idiosyncratic and directorial debut by Andrea Arnold, the winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival of 2006, is a suspense thriller known for its complex structure and theme of alienation. This movie is the first of three films that originated as a part of Lars von Trier’s post-Dogma Advance Party project, wherein Arnold and two other new directors were to create three low-budget DV films in different genres around a minimally outlined set of characters that are to be played by the same group of actors. The movie unfolds with the theme of abuse of information through the electronic surveillance devised by the governments of the twentieth century. Electronic surveillance, which is practiced for the benefit of the public for their social coherence and protection, in fact becomes a tool in the hands of some who desire more from the society. The modern surveillance technology is effective in delivering virtual truth through the proliferation of high-resolution cameras that are largely looming over urban areas. If this can be seen as a mode of protection, then it can also be identified as a fine example of modern authoritarianism that is progressively diminishing our privacy. In Red Road, we find electronic surveillance becoming a personalized virtual power used by the protagonist to serve her purpose of revenge. Plot:        Set in Glasgow, Red Road depicts the story of Jackie (Kate Dickie), who is a low-paid CCTV operative whose duty is to scan the northern side of the city and to alert the emergency services to events like stabbings and muggings that require their presence. Jackie is in her thirties who is devoid of family and friends and her life, mostly robotic, is limited to the occasional smiles that occur while watching over the normal life of ordinary folks on-screen. She closely monitors the many CCTV cameras from a lonely dark room and passes her time by watching the life of those people who live nearer to cameras. Her routine is disrupted when she spots Clyde (Tony Curran), the man responsible for the deaths of her husband and young child, who is in parole for good behavior. Jackie tries to gather some dirt on Clyde by misusing her position of CCTV operator. In vengeance, she begins to remotely pursuit Clyde and to learn more of his life she even begins to physically stalking Clyde. Clyde, who shares a flat in the Red Road Estate with the disturbed youngsters Stevie (Martin Compston) and April (Natalie Press), draws himself closer to Jackie. Jackie, after several meetings, sleeps with Clyde and then accuses him of rape. Clyde's attempts to re-unite with his own teenage girl dissolve the hatred in Jackie and she drops the charges. The movie ends with a positive note, wherein we find Jackie reconciling with her in-laws and is contemplating a future. Analysis: Choosing Glasgow for the plot invites our attention and appreciation as the city serves as a location where the story unwinds, characters meet and explore their own racial and sexual identities. Being a city Glasgow captures the consciousness of its citizens and accentuated social cohesion, where every citizen is dependent on each other for their very existence. The city through its ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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