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Drive

May 29, 2012

“Sunlight glitters on the roofs of the parked cars, dazzling Driver’s eyes.”

Drive is a shell of a movie, a film emptied from content, a set of cinematic conventions gathered around a story line (the plot description seems redundant, obviously its on Wikipedia). The protagonist is a toothpick chewing stuntman, a part-time mechanic and a night-time getaway driver. There is romance, violence and car chase. The location; Los Angeles, a city as a movie set; the leading role; a stuntman, a stand-in for the main actor; and the movie itself, all follow the same logic and yet the movie is more than mere cinematic formalism. Rather, it shows how this formalism generates content, and while the film itself tip toes around it, one gets invested in the movie, aware of the highly stylized imagery on the screen. It is a ride on a moving walkway while looking outside through a glass wall. It is the cinematic experience of a display window. The cast, the streets, the emotions, the roles, all work as props, they are elements that point to conventions. Mirror + face + blood + shut gun + masks + make-up table.

Drive, netflix still frame

In Notes on Gesture, Agamben writes “[a] finality without means is just as much of an aberration as a mediation that makes sense only in relation to an end… Gesture is the display of mediation, the making visible of a means as such. The movie, reduces all elements to pure gesture, in all equivalence they come on the screen and do their little dance and go back to the wings. Some return and some don’t.

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