User Reviews Scenes From The Suburbs -
28 June 2011 by thedamagedone (United Kingdom)
I just finished watching Scenes From the Suburbs and I have to say that it was very good. "Scenes From The Suburbs" is about a group of friends who live in a town that appears to be in some sort of local war. However, the film does not explicitly mention why the town is at war and it is focused more on the teenagers as they grow up over the summer. The young actors, particularly the main one whose name I cannot remember, are great and felt authentic. The cinematography was beautiful and I think Spike Jonze did a great job at directing. I liked how the music by Arcade Fire felt natural for the film. However, I can''t help but wish it was a little bit less ambiguous and I think I enjoyed the music video for The Suburbs more than Scenes From the Suburbs. Overall, I enjoyed "Scenes From The Suburbs" and I think that if you love Arcade Fire then it is a must. Also, this just makes me eager to see Spike Jonze''s next project.
Spike Jonze’s new short film “Scenes from the Suburbs”, set to the music of Arcade Fire’s 2010 record “The Suburbs”, is a story about lost youth and a world bent on destroying itself with mindless violence. The movie is told, in flashback, by a young boy named Kyle, who is like any other suburban teen. He pals around with his friends, ghost-riding bikes, being bored together, smoking the occasional joint, and other harmless pursuits. But there are flashes of a world around them losing control, lost in violence. Kyle spends the summer with his best friend, Winter, Winter’s girlfriend, and a handful of other friends who live in a town that exists more as a military state, where raids, random police shootings, border patrols, and intercity military fights interrupt what would otherwise seem an idyllic state of youth.
Spike Jonze’s stylishly melancholy collaboration with Canadian band Arcade Fire, inspired by their acclaimed 2010 album The Suburbs, enigmatically and affectingly paints a portrait – against the backdrop of a town under martial law – of a disintegrating friendship, from carefree summer days of lads larking around, through miscommunication and alienation, to acrimony and violence.
Iain Stott ”
In "Scenes From the Suburbs," a half-hour film commissioned by Arcade Fire to illustrate its 2010 album The Suburbs, director Spike Jonze extends the adolescent vision of Where the Wild Things Are into territory The Who labeled “Teenage Wasteland.” Here it’s literalized as a very American sprawl of tract houses built by post-war baby boomers following the exurban ethic of their parents. It’s become home for a new generation of new millennium wastrels.
But Jonze immediately explodes the cliché of stifling suburban life through his extraordinary visual sense. He shoots the suburbs—and the skateboarding, bike-riding life kids extract from its affluence and leisure—exultantly. A setting charged with expectation as much as tragedy, it’s where two youths find their lives changed by the specter of domestic war between neighborhoods. Not gang warfare but an eerie conflict of social classes—a berserk metaphor for the internalized rebellion teens feel for others too much like themselves—including parents and the handed-down concept of “America” before it has been lived, earned or well understood.
Jonze distinguishes suburbia by giving it the immensity of a circumstance or experience that’s been fully imagined. Despite his pioneering experimental video aesthetics, Jonze and videographer Greig Fraser use the widescreen absolutely cinematically. Their vision stretches across the width of the screen like Kurosawa’s use of TohoScope in the great urban crime drama High and Low. The idea is not to rehash the middle-class clichés accumulated in Richard Linklater’s Suburbia but to find beauty—not limits—even in the admittedly limited scope of a teenager’s perspective.
Scenes from the Suburbs’s lyricism recalls Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’s music video "1979" for Smashing Pumpkins, a reminiscence of wild and intimate puberty. But this isn’t nostalgia. Jonze (working from a script co-written with “Arcade Fire’s Win and Will Butler) projects an imminent teenage-suburban disaster that has the effect of intensifying the present. Images of youthful idleness, romance and violence are amazingly vivid in these sharp, lustrous images. The banality of middle-class life and teenage solipsism feels banal when it is photographed this way; it virtually shimmers with newness. It’s a similar sense of discovery that is still observable in Jean Vigo’s films (especially the 1933 youth parable Zero for Conduct).
Arcade Fire has become accomplished at a style of rock homage that references all the venerable expressions of rock romanticism from Neil Young, Springsteen to Talking Heads. On The Suburbs, they particularly channel the romantic ennui perfected by The Smiths so that the album is suffused with an idealized teenage angst that is both jittery and elegant. Jonze complement this with elegant mischief-maker montages that recall both Franois Truffaut’s classic youth short, "Les Mistons," as well as the energy of robust Brit pop. (Jonze’s BB gun/retreat episode recalls Madness’ memorable “White Heat” lyric: “They make their apologies/ With the quickness of their feet.” Arcade Fire couldn’t say it any better. Jonze nails it to the screen.)
The kids in "Scenes from the Suburbs" are raw-boned white youth: some shockingly thin, others poignantly pale. These are skateboarder Jonze’s authentic representatives of modern American punk—average street dynamism on the edge of delinquency but without the pretend glamour of Lady Gaga’s lunatic “Edge of Glory.” They’re not idealized but realized—acne, idiosyncrasies and all. Jonze’s sense of realism contains the potential for danger and conflict. The quick, shocked looks of terror on these young actors’ faces lifts the movie into an instantaneous elegy for fragile, passing innocence. It’s harsh and beautiful enough to make you loathe the inane vision of suburbs in Super 8. Scenes from The Suburbs may be an extended music video but Jonze, again, revolutionizes the genre by blurring the line into genuine cinema.
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)(ºÃÃÂÒÂä·Â)
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Synecdoche, New York (2008)(ºÃÃÂÒÂä·Â)
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ARCADE FIRE LIVE IN PARIS (2007)
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