Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Lake House

Impossible architecture part 2, The Lake House.


This film made in 2006 and starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock was based on a Korean film Il Mare, and features a lot of metaphor that I rather like.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, especially with the letters in the attic that doesn't exist in the architecture of The Lake House.
Bachelard assigned the attic with analogies to Heaven and dreams, yet from the exterior of The Lake House, the attic doesn't exist, there is a glass roof containing a tree that opens and closes.

The idea that perhaps Kate only ever dreamed of the architect, but the key to the film has something to do with the character of Alex and the fact that his father was the architect, there are parallels to You've Got Mail, Sleepless In Seattle, and Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, but although reviews criticise the paradox in the time travel timeline, it's the ARCHITECTURE and the memory of a place that seems more relevant to the plot (see Gaston Bachelard).

"A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space" writes Gaston.

Interesting notion of the tree that was built into what is essentially a greenhouse, this too was referenced as being part of the psyche of Alex's father.

Another notable aspect of The Lake House is it's position over water, a Taoist place, it has no cellar, which in Bachelard's psychology is associated with dark thoughts, death and horror, cellars occupy the psychological landscape of horror films for that reason. But here there is no cellar, as also noted by Bachelard in Paris skyscrapers, only the lake, and how does the tree grow within a house built on a lake?

There's a reference to Dostoevsky, whose existentialist writings lost on most film reviewers, that are clearly expressed in The Lake House here:

This is interesting, because Dostoyevsky describes Heaven as being a place where sorrow no longer exists, so as such, a house that exists in Heaven would not possess a cellar.

Neither of the couple in the film are seen really living in The Lake House - there's only one scene that springs to mind, when Alex shares a beer with his brother there, and discusses his father's influence.
Other than that, the focus of attention is the mail box, in which the couple exchange letters and communication. So we only experience the house from the outside looking in. And look in we do, because it's made of glass.
But there never appears any evidence of anyone living in The Lake House, even though Alex is meant to be there, he is only ever seen walking to or from the house to post a letter or receive one from Kate.

But of course, he is really existing in a dream, he only dreams of The Lake House; it exists in his mind, in his memory, the tree as narrated by Dostoyevsky.

There's the box of the house itself, the mailbox, and the box in the non-existent attic containing the letters.

The house itself was designed and built for the film and no longer exists, how fitting.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Impossible architecture - film

Whilst watching the inevitable Christmas televisual treat of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, I noticed that Elliot's house possesses an impossible architecture beyond the imagination of any James Bond baddy domain

A result of considering architecture for a potential Mini Doll Gallery, and having researched architecture for this purpose, it was at the forefront of my mind as I watched E.T.

Mainly, I have observed the impossible location of Elliot's room.

Elliot's room exists at the end of the upstairs landing, yet to make sense of where it is located within the architecture of the house, and why it's impossible, we must look at Elliot's house.

This is a clear image of the house used for the filming of E.T.
As you can see from this image, there is no room above the front door. There is a second floor room to the left of the front door, but not directly above it, and especially, not IN FRONT OF the front door.

This is a rough illustration to illustrate what I mean!

Here is an interior of Elliot's room from the film:

Here is the scene where Elliot leads E.T. into his room:

This video (below) at approx 5.30 shows Mom carrying Elliot downstairs and opening the front door, which is definitely BELOW Eliott's bedroom door!

To clarify, watch the following clip from approx 2.57, where Elliot comes home and goes to his room:

If you watch the film, you will know that Elliot's Mom at one point goes in the front door, up the stairs, which lead away from the front door, turn back along the landing and goes to Elliot's room, so Elliot's bedroom door exists roughly ABOVE the front door and slightly to the RIGHT, and it also means that Elliot's room occupies a space above and in front of the front door!

Here is the scene where Mom is at the front door and goes upstairs to Elliot's room at 2.30 mins. You can see that the front door is directly below Elliot's room and opens out obviously onto the driveway - there is no corresponding downstairs room below where Elliot's room is located upstairs.
This is also defies by the fact that whenever anyone goes to the closet, it is located in a position where there is no upstairs room as seen in the outside view of the house.