Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jane Jacobs meets John Travolta

One could probably have an entire film festival just on films with good sidewalk scenes but the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever is undoubtedly among the best. The soundtrack from the brothers Gibb certainly doesn't hurt either. Here we have all of Jane Jacobs' themes about sidewalk sociality: the different forms of contact (here: the gaze, the glance, the stare, the stop and chat, the shared liminal space) and the public characters (the pizza parlour woman who knows Travolta's usual order, the shopkeeper and Travolta himself). Here too the theme of trust comes up when Travolta tells the shopkeeper he doesn't need a receipt, saying 'I trust you'. That the shopkeeper rejects this trust only serves to emphasize the social fact of its existence, regardless of actual individual reliability (as it turns out Travolta can't really be trusted either as he proceeds to fleece a customer while acting neighbourly). Enjoy!


Post a Comment

<< Home