Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slacker: Richard Linklater's 1991 Classic

Our next VISC 204 project (and the last of the semester) is to create a new dvd package for the Criterion collection's new eclipse line that focuses on producing budget-priced, high quality editions of hard-to-find films for young audiences. We were give 7 films to choose from and although it was hard deciding, I landed on Richard Linklater's 1991 film, Slacker (http://www.criterion.com/films/408-slacker).

Slacker is a uniquely structured and seemingly plotless film, following a single day in the life of an ensemble of mostly twenty-something bohemians and misfits in Austin, Texas. The film follows various characters and scenes, never staying with one character or conversation for more than a few minutes before picking up on someone else in the scene and following them. Most of the characters grapple with feelings of social exclusion or political marginalization, which are recurring themes in their conversations. They discuss social class, terrorism, joblessness, and the government's control of the media.

It's interesting to note that in this film there are over 100 characters that share the screen. It's a lot of people to keep track of and it's interesting to look at how Linklater used the character's outward appearance as well as setting to differentiate them. Linklater also worked to knit these characters together through common transitions such as "walking" or "driving" with them to the next character.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this film. The plot is lost (Linklater pitched that in the very beginning) but the characters and their messages make up for it. There is something to be said about seeking individuality in a sea of people (or characters in this matter) and Linklater succeeds in diversifying these characters as well as knitting them gracefully together.

Here are some quick screen shots from Slacker:


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