Season 4 of Hit Me with Your Best Shot at The Film Experience wraps up today, and this makes me sad. Moreover, it wraps up with Harmony Korine’s hugely divisive Spring Breakers (a rare choice of a new movie for this series), which makes me sadder. I haven’t attempted to hide my intense dislike for the film, and rewatching it seemed like a pretty awful idea, so, to be totally honest, I didn’t. After all, it was just a few months ago that I saw it, and my memory isn’t that bad.
Luckily, the one thing I did really like about the film was Benoît Debie’s jaw-droppingly beautiful cinematography, the only thing I really needed to pay any attention to at all in order to to effectively play along. Also, long before Nathaniel R ever announced this title for this series, I knew what my favorite shot was: a long tracking number that follows the four teen harlot-thieves as they break into a diner, hold it up at gun point, and run out through the kitchen, the camera mounted in the front passenger seat of the car. The only real question was whether the entire tracking shot was my pick, or just one particular frame along the way? ‘pon reflection, I decided to go with the latter.
It’s right at the end of the shot, after the girls have run rampant through the diner, and before I get into this image, I should mention a bit of context. When the three robbers enter the diner, they go through a front door lit with pale yellow, when we next see them it’s in the window of the diner, lit in an icy blue, and as they exist, through emerge underneath the cherry-red light you see here.
This being the scene where the inoffensively shallow protagonists commit to the dark, destructive path that leads them through the rest of the movie, the symbolism is pretty damn obvious: they have passed the point of no return and emerged into Red, the color of blood, of passion, of rage, of destruction, of violence. Not only are the girls framed by that unforgiving, harsh red, it “paints” them as they walk toward the door: you can see that the girl in front is washed with a pinkish-red that makes her jacket look purple, compared to the more “innocent” blue on the girl behind her. It’s unmistakable what this means: the actions they’ve committed have tarnished our anti-heroes with symbolic “blood”. Prior to this shot, they always had a way out; from this moment on, the tragedies that will befall them for the remainder of the film are inevitable. Basically, they emerge into Hell, and no matter how much pleasure they have before things go south, it’s all downhill from here.
As I sign off on this series for the year, I want to thank Nathaniel for keeping it going; I know it doesn’t get the kind of traffic he hopes for (so, for God’s sake, if you’re reading this and you have a site, why not play along next year?), but I adore it so much, even when, as happened this week, I have virtually no use for the film in question. It’s simply one of the best things that happens in the film blogosphere, and a highlight of every week in the summer.