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Popular Representations

Dont Look Now (1973)

The film which is set in Venice, Italy is about a couple who recently lost their daughter who tragically drown. It is in Venice that John and Laura Baxter begin to experience mysterious occurrences whilst John is working for commission on a Church in the city. The film adds to the stereotypical viewing of Venice as a dark and disengaged place, the couple who are mourning their daughter meet a ‘psychic’ women in a restaurant that claims to be able to communicate with their daughter.The couple are then submit to various unexplainable events such as visions of their daughter, this leads them to stay in contact with the psychic and try and keep in contact their lost child.

The psychic warns John to leave Venice as he is in danger, and it is at this point when Laura leaves the city to visit their son who has fallen ill in England that John begins to experience strange visions and premonitions. John searches Venice for his wife believing that he has witnessed her and that she has been kidnapped or hurt by the ‘psychic’.

It is in this point that John is put into danger, and is ultimately killed by a crazy dwarf like character who is running around the streets of Venice one late night, after pursuing the character who appears much like John’s daughter in an iconic red coat, the character turns around and cuts John’s throat. The final scene of the film is John’s funeral with Laura and the psychic lady on board and it is this image that John had ‘seen’ in his ‘premonition’ causing his initial distress about his wives where abouts but ironically he should have been more concerned for his own.

The film carries many of the stereotypical values that are often attached to Venice in media representations, portraying Venice as a dark and sinister city, although depicting a strong bond of love in the relationship between the characters of John and Laura which again reinforces the notion of Venice being a city of Love.

The people that John and Laura meet are all quite strange and this creates a sense of being alone and isolated. The way in which the city is captured on film is quite one dimensional in the sense that it is mostly filmed during the night so the city streets appear daunting and scary, the Church that John is working on has much connotative values and the imagery of the stain glass windows is used through the film, captured from an angle which make the building appear threatening.

Though out the film their are clear connotations to the Church and the death of  the daughter the link is established in the montage of shots whilst the daughter is dying to the images that John is processing of the Church in Venice and it is almost a warning not to go buy this is only apparent to the viewers. Although their is a link between the Church and the Death it is not clear or extensive.



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