Monday, December 10, 2007

Play- Culver City Drive-In

“The Second Picture she had made with Carter was called Angel Beach, and in it she played a girl who was raped by the members of a motorcycle gang…Maria had seen it twice, once at a studio preview and a second time by herself, at a drive-in in Culver City, and neither time did she have any sense that the girl on the screen was herself. ‘I look at you and I know that…what happened just didn’t mean anything,’ the girl on the screen would say, and ‘There’s a lot more to living than just kicks, I see that now, kicks are nowhere.’ Carter’s original cut ended with a shot of the motorcycle gang, as if they represented some reality not fully apprehended by the girl Maria played, but the cut released by the studio ended with a long dolly shot of Maria strolling across a campus. Maria preferred the studio’s cut. In fact, she liked watching the picture: the girl on the screen seemed to have a definite knack for controlling her own destiny.” (20)

When Maria watches herself on screen, she realizes that she is a passive observer of her own life. She dislikes watching Carter's first film, which depicts her daily life in Los Angeles, comprised of activities that fill her time but fail to make her happy. While the public observes the “essence of Maria,” Maria sees a shadow of herself. She constantly acts, but fails to ascribe meaning to her actions and experiences. The film demonstrates Maria as an inactive agent in her own life-- her identity is shaped by external circumstances.

In Carter’s second film, the character Maria plays is in control of her own destiny. She lacks control over her external conditions but does not allow these conditions to influence her perspective on life. She rejects the role of rape victim assigned to her, refusing to “play it as it lays.” Like this character, Maria is forced to play roles that others assign to her; but unlike the character in Carter’s film, Maria is haunted by her past and plays roles in attempt to ignore her past and future. At the same time, she is detached from the roles ascribed to her, and desires to take control over her future.

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