De Palma Image of the Day: The Fury
Eric and Zach have been doing De Palma Images of the Day.
Amy Irving, on the stairs, in the middle of a telekinetic episode, flashes back to a past event. Suddenly, she is completely surrounded by the event she’s witnessing, as if it were a film playing, all around her, to every side—she is completely enveloped by it. (De Palma shows us this envelopment by having the camera orbit her once, doing a 360.)
Now, here’s the really amazing part—Irving is in the foreground, but the event is rear-projected. So she’s both in the middle of the past event—because she’s surrounded by it on all sides—and removed from it because the event is rear-projected, and she’s not.
What does De Palma’s staging say about the reality of her (voyeuristic) telekinetic moment and its space-time paradoxes? That the moment finds her simultaneously in two time periods at once—she’s in the present, watching a past moment—but also in two spaces at once—both watching a 'film' (being outside it) and being surrounded by it on all sides, and thus, being inside it.
And as if all that weren’t enough—we could also read this moment as an allegory for the way we experience cinema: watching in the present something that 'occurred' in the past; and being situated in our own space but also having the film reach out in the dark and enfold us, so that we feel as if we were entering its space.
The above passage—among the most startlingly beautiful I’ve ever seen in a movie—lasts about forty seconds. Zach’s image captures the moment immediately following this passage, as soon as Irving's telekinetic spell breaks.