On DOLCE FAR NIENTE
By Timo Cromm
A Lazy Way of Life
By Timo Cromm
Facing a laziness that erupts into violence as presented in Bully (Larry Clark, 2001) as well as one that does not seem to harm anybody as seen in The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998), making Dolce far niente quickly required an answer to the question of comparison: how to emphasise these different forms of laziness without disregarding their obvious similarities?
I started by creating a simple juxtaposition: ‘inner unrest’ versus ‘inner peace of mind’. Then I continued by finding representations of each position. The car scenes show the characters from Bully driving around without seeming to have a concrete aim. Combined with a dark, monotonal and driving beat, this gives a hint to the characters’ restlessness, as expressed in movement, and again underlined by the music’s lyrics: “Inside, everybody burns”.
On the other side there is The Big Lebowski, whose characters mostly attract attention through literally ‘doing nothing’ — they are alternately sitting or lying around. It is this representation of stagnation that I tried to express by showing the stagnation of the camera and the mise en scène itself.
Besides the topic of movement, I figured out four additional representations of laziness, namely: cursing, sex, nudity and drugs. Three of these representations get introduced via fitting movie quotations — a method which I also used to create dialogues between the two movies. During the making, I recognised the extreme power of hard, fast montage to emphasise differences.
The biggest similarities were to be found in the consumption of drugs. The movies’ characters drink alcohol and smoke weed all the time. I used split-screen and rapid montage to emphasise the extent of this consumption, enabling me to distinguish between the most consumed drug in each: cocktails in The Big Lebowski, weed in Bully.
Starting with the largest differences regarding the movies’ forms of laziness, the chosen order of representations constantly works its way toward an overlap, concluding with one final film quotation from Bully to give a final explanation to what the spectator has just experienced: a way of life.
Timo Cromm is a student at Goethe University, Frankfurt.
© Timo Cromm August 2014
Edited by Adrian Martin and Catherine Grant