Blog for and by students and staff in the English section of the University of Namur's Department of Germanic languages...
Monday, January 07, 2008
ParanoidPark is an American film, directed by Gus Van Sant, who was also the director of Elephant. The film is actually an adaptation of the novel by Blake Nelson, inspired by a true story. Like Elephant, it treats the fabulous and complex theme of adolescence, showing the spleen proper to teenagers and the difficulties they encounter to cope with their life. The main character of the story, Alex, is a young skateboarder living with his mother and his younger brother. He seems to be troubled by the absence of his father and is often left to his own devices. Alex observes the world around him with disengagement and acts more like a spectator than active participant. The film presents him growing up at a slow pace and the majority of the scenes are shot in slow-motion. One day, his best friend Jared tells him about the existence of a terrific skate park in Portland called ParanoidPark. The young nonchalant teenager is quite attracted by the idea of spending a day in this park. There he discovers the marginal world of skateboarder and observes them with high admiration. Alex feels comfortable in this scruffy and ill- famed park and appreciates the way of life led by the skateboarder. One night however, the adolescent commits a terrible crime; he accidentally kills a security guard with his skateboard. Left on his own, he decides to say nothing and bears the hard secret daily. The film shows how Alex continues his life and confronts his guilt. I won’t tell you more about this film, since maybe some of you would like to go andsee it. ParanoidParkis a modest enterprise but the music and film are enjoyable. Some long passages may bore the spectators but the story presenting the inner life of Alex and the topical punk culture remain pleasant to discover.