Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 6 December 2008

All that glisters is not good

Last week BBC4 showed two French-made Maigret films starring Bruno Cremer. Since they sought to re-create the fifties/sixties I was on the lookout for the Shiny Car Syndrome. Not my invention, I’m afraid, but I’ve happily adopted it. Here it is: Cars are important in setting a film’s period. But since the only, say, 1927 Lagondas are now in the hands of enthusiasts, have been cherished and are worth a mint, they will appear in the film as unnaturally groomed. Too glossy to be workaday.

And not just cars. Beautifully blocked trilbies, Art D├ęcor funiture, horse-drawn carriages. Not a scratch anywhere, causing these artefacts to stand out prominently instead of melting into the background as they should.

The Maigret films did not suffer from too much shininess, possibly because there are people still driving blancmange-mould Panhards and traction avant Citroens in France and the cars may be borrowed for a few packets of Gitanes. Maigret’s office didn’t look lived-in but that was OK, he wasn’t one for staying at his desk. However I query the horribly neat, seemingly anachronistic, filing system that occupied one wall because he wasn’t a one for filing either.

TECHNO-ANTIPATHY Not secateurs themselves but the switch which locks the blades. If you’re wearing heavy protective gloves it’s far too easy to brush the knob and bring cutting to a standstill, delaying the completion of a gardening job which – surprise, surprise - I already find intolerable.


marja-Leena said...

Your comments on the films deserve to be on the online film discography page where bloopers are noted.

Plutarch said...

Trench coats too, not a crease or stain, on them!

Avus said...

I agree - watching those pristine lorries that appear in "Heartbeat", when the originals would have been muddy, battered Yorkshire heaps.