Sirk it up…

…with Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven. An indulgent cineworld where everything on screen is hyperrealised and friends have an innate ability to colour-coordinate their outfits.

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The African American Rock Hudson character (Dennis Haysbert) in the film wants to see ‘beyond the surface. Beyond the colour of things’. This small town America does not seem able to do that, although the film is not so much about looking beyond either. The daughter wishes to be like her mother (Julianne Moore) while looking in the mirror and Dennis Quaid first meets his lover only in reflection. This is a quality of Sirkian melodrama, the subversive form of the 1950s (although it began in the late 1940s) which explored within the social scene and exposed threats to the domestic. In the fifties the family was undoubtedly held up by the patriarch (so He said) but Haynes hits the nail on the head when the patriarch in his film is the homosexual who catalyses the breakdown of the unit and spurs the unfortunately-not-so-great love affair of his wife.

Although Jane Wyman she most certainly is not. Far From Heaven is a beautiful film and contains one of the most phenomenal smooth editing transitions I have ever seen, when Moore walks through her home kitchen and into a glass turning door at her husband’s office building. But it doesn’t have a deer. So if you want pure cinematic genius and satisfaction from watching ‘perverseness’ in evasion of the Hays Code restrictions, just watch some Douglas Sirk.

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About cinemelo

I love to write about film and comment on culture. Hopefully providing insight and interesting thoughts for fellow cultural itinerants.
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