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(absolute beginner )
04/05/04 04:59 PM
The Berlin Trilogy and '1984' (the film)  


I'm new here at "Teenage Wildlife" - so as a result, I don't really know what has been covered in these interpretation forums and what hasn't (though I've glanced through dozens of listed topics/threads and it seems like you guys cover everything but the kitchen sink...excuse the cliché). Anyway, I'm just posting here because I was curious as to what anyone else's thoughts might be on this experiment (if it so happens to interest him/her):

Inspired by reading about the strange "synchronicity" of Pink Floyd's DSOTM album and the film 'The Wizard of Oz', I decided one day to see what would happen if I started playing 'Low' following the last "roar" of the MGM lion on the DVD of ANOTHER MGM film: the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell's novel '1984', starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. Now, I'm not even sure if this has been done before (if it has, I'll be fairly surprised...I was in the mindset that I alone had stumbled onto something miraculous!). Anyway, for me personally, the match between music and movie was truly stunning. Of course, we can all have our own visual interpretations of the various 'Low' songs, but I don't know...for some reason it fit, and I couldn't stop gasping or laughing at the occasional connections between the lyrics and what was happening on the screen. Some examples...

- In the opening 'Two-Minutes Hate' scene, when everyone is yelling angrily and cursing the large screen before them, the camera pans along to a shot that shows O'Brien (Burton) with his back slightly to us, as he stands in the background. The song 'Breaking Glass' was playing during this, and RIGHT when it got to the lyric "Don't look...", the character of O'Brien slowly turned around and looked to the characters behind him. Now, for most of you that may seem like a meaningless "connection", but for me it provided for some amusement, because I never actually thought the experiment would work somewhat.

- Also, when it gets to 'What In The World', it's interesting, because the camera keeps focusing on the characters of Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) and Winston (Hurt) - giving a sense of connection even though the two are separate and barely even know each other at that time. (I thought, in my own abstract way, that the lyrics were also appropriate for this specific moment - especially when it gets to "Wait until the crowd goes...", when the shot that follows suit is - you guessed it, a shot of all the Party members shuffling out from the assembly and through the hall.)

...and those are just the FIRST few examples of connection I noticed between the 'Low' album and the '1984' film. The only reason I'm stopping the post at this moment is simply that I want to wait and see if anyone else could kindly give their thoughts/opinions so far on this possibility, and tell me if it sounds ridiculous or not - before I ramble on and on and on about everything else I saw (ie. "'Heroes'" and "Lodger" following the rest of the film).

P.S. If this subject has even been touched upon before, I'd really like to know, because I find it's rather interesting. I don't know. Maybe to some of you this will sound like total garbage that makes no sense, but I just wanted to get it off my chest as I had been experimenting with it a while ago. Thanks.

(crash course raver)
04/05/04 09:39 PM
Re: The Berlin Trilogy and '1984' (the film) new [re: cjdb]  

First, welcome to TW, cjdb!

Second, dont' let people's responses to your theory make you run away from us, ya' hear? Folks can be rough around here, and that's part of the place's charm. So stick around, develop a thick skin, and keep posting away.

Now, with that warning aside, I could not be easily convinced the makers of 1984 tried to time the movie's progression so that it matched up with the songs on Low, but if the songs actually do yield these weird "Aha!" moments where the universe aligns and it's worth a chuckle, then hey, cool!

I'd love to hear how "Heroes" and Lodger fit into all of this! Preposterous ideas and perceived connections is what TW lives and dies for!


04/06/04 01:06 AM
I'll put this on my "to do" list new [re: cjdb]  

I am a big fan of synchronicity phenomena as is William Burroughs who was one of Bowie's biggest influences.

As far as I know, this one has never been reported. Of course, it would have particularly brilliant had of it been Diamond Dogs (for the natural 1984 connection) rather than Low but that's the way it goes.

The only other Bowie synch I have heard of is Labyrinth Heart Mother - that is you play the film Labyrinth in synch with Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. Unfortunately, the website which once contained this information is no longer available. I also once reported it TW but again this seems to have been archived now.

Bowie in Australia 2004 | Join the Community

(absolute beginner )
04/07/04 03:55 PM
The Berlin Trilogy and '1984' (the film) new [re: Adam]  

Well, it certainly is nice to see that I don't seem THAT crazy...(and by the way, thank you for the welcome!) I must admit though that I have never actually tried the legendary 'DSOTM/WoO' synch myself; I had only read about it frequently on the Internet, and it's been fairly recently that I discovered the "synch" experiment was being done with tons of other films and albums - seemingly unrelated, but in their own "special" way, made to play off of each other.

I agree that the whole "1984" connection would have made a LOT more sense had it been perfectly synched with the 'DD' album. (Not that I would really know, as I have not yet heard the entirety of 'DD') Although, the sense of connection I got between the '1984' film and the late-'70s Berlin trilogy didn't seem like much of a stretch when I thought about it. The obvious parallel themes like despair, danger, helplessness, isolation, etc. could really resonate with me - especially when it started getting to the instrumental portions. I found that they were (for the most part) surprisingly suitable for the scenes they played for. I don't know if that kind of effect would show as strongly for anyone else, though.

There's also the additional loophole of the '1984' film being made AFTER the Berlin Trilogy albums - therefore destroying any preposterous notion of the three albums being a "secret" alternate soundtrack for the film, as you clearly cannot have an "alternate soundtrack" for a film that hasn't even been made yet. At least that's how MY twisted logic interprets it, anyway.

As moderately successful as the experiment seemed too, however, I admit that while 'Low' and '"Heroes"' were pretty great synch sources, when I had to pause and start playing "Lodger" next, I noticed a sharp drop in movie/music synchs. This was somewhat disappointing, as it seemed to be working fairly well for the majority of the film. It was sort of a shame to see that "Lodger" couldn't follow the same half-songs/half-instrumentals format as the previous two did, just for consistency's sake. As a result it was the weakest of the album-synchs - though it didn't deter me from believing I had something unusual on my hands.

(wild eyed peoploid)
04/07/04 06:14 PM
Re: The Berlin Trilogy and '1984' (the film) new [re: cjdb]  

ive done this loads of times!
not just with bowie, or with that particularly film either

very amusing actually.

"Don't listen to the crowd, they say jump"

(grinning soul)
04/07/04 08:12 PM
Re: The Berlin Trilogy and '1984' (the film) new [re: cjdb]  

I've done the Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz thing and it is very cool. It works well the first time the album plays through, but it gets difficult to re-synchronize with the movie for the second time. It's SO entertaining to see the munchkins dancing to the tune of Money, though.

Give me lust, baby. *FLASH*
Give me malice. *FLASH*
Give me detached existentialist ennui. *FLASH*
Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism. *FLASH*

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