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Sunday, December 7, 2014

privileged stories: BEYOND THE LIGHTS fills in the gaps

I make believe
That you are here
It's the only way
I see clear
What have I done
You seem to move on easy
And every time I try to fly
I fall without my wings

--Britney Spears "Everytime"

 Sometimes the inception of a film is a desire to expound on something unanswered, something that occurred in recent history or  popular culture. 
There is more than one moment in the first third of BEYOND THE LIGHTS where I wonder, is this  entire movie an explanation of Britney's breakdown?  Does this exist to answer the questions of Rhianna and Chris Brown's saga and what parental dynamic led her into that relationship?  Is this 1hr 58 minutes an expansion of the 2 min 58 seconds of Britney's EVERYTIME song and video?
Why did Britney write and sing these lyrics in her saddest, most broken voice and melody:

  • Notice me
    Take my hand
    Why are we
    Strangers when..
    Britney in the suicide tub; "Everytime" video

There  are answers, directly offered by BEYOND THE LIGHTS.  There are backstories and psychological parental set ups. There is a crisis at the start:  to neatly  posit a search back in time.  The film feels expansive at every moment; time slows and settles as we go back ...the stretching of a bond: a mother who stays an enforcer and director even to an adult daughter.  The stretching of the fleeting; an expansion (what if you got to know her at her most vulnerable?) of a momentary bond with a police guarding a pop star's hotel door while she attempts suicide.
What if someone walked in on Whitney?

The first third of the film is when the style and structure is at its most effective and impactful.  Not only do we answer ALL of these questions that seem to set up our entry into this world, but we are also rewarded tenfold for setting our eyes in one direction.

There is unbridled delight in the way the riches and sex and inside worlds are lived in.  Every door outstretches into a further answer about something that may have been but  a bullet point in a pop star's career. One instance is what turns into a weird stage performance on BET. We start out with actual red carpet footage seamlessly edited in with the newer fictional footage of the characters from the film being interviewed on it.

We are privy to more variables than we can imagine leading up to the moment leading up to the onstage performance. We see unparalleled action from all the sidelines while and after it occurs. This  nature of the film satisfies the voyeurism inherent in the joys of exposes of big stars or glamorous folk. And the radial nature of the film, how it expands perpetually, and in all sorts of filler and ancillary stories, is satisfying if eventually less exciting. There is a sexiness to the attraction of the likeness and simulation that is clearly at work; Rhianna facsimile, Nomi Malone replicant, Britney and Whitney reincarnated, it is all so real yet so similar and uncanny.  Paired with this familiar appeal, is a drama by putting the viewer next to an ultra idealized woman ( comparable in this context to Beyonce or Rhianna), and to watch her glammed to the maxed and pulled to the crotch of a famous rapper, or crying over a balcony wanting to disappear.

The intensity of the first third of the film is tempered by the slower sections; but not diffused. Rather, the tone melts into melodrama, but it never fakes its emotional moments. Every tear, laugh and shout in my audience  earned.

What if SHOWGIRLS started at the beginning when Nomi learned to dance? Who was her mom?
BEYOND'S Noni has a mother and it's Minnie Driver. And her Father was some guy she never knew who didn't give a shit about her mother.  Who are Rhianna's parents?  Does Britney always need her father around for her to feel loved?  Why the hell is Beyonce always naked and wearing long blond hair?
So what?
This is just information . And Time. And glimpses. A protracted 2 hrs of time to live and breathe and feel these things we only first glimpsed and felt in brief songs and exposes.  Such is the privilege of the narrative film.

Britney asks "what if i died?" in her "Everytime" video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YzabSdk7ZA  Everytime

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4A5GDmwUv4 Noni wins. clip- BEYOND THE LIGHTS

Britney in "Overprotected"  setting up the film of overprotected pop star Noni  " I ....NEED....TIME"


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