‘Putney Swope’ Cinematography 

Putney Swope is a film made by Robert Downy Sr. that takes a satirical look at the US advertising industry. I had read somewhere that two of my favorite artists (Paul Thomas Anderson and Louis CK) had credited this film as a source of inspiration for their art. So naturally I had to check it out to see if it sparked anything in me.

One of the first things I noticed about this film was it’s interesting cinematography. It had immediately reminded me of the visuals in PTA’s films, especially The Master. You could really tell that this film floats in the subconscious of PTA. The thing about it is that it isn’t flashy but there is alot of effort to the way Downy Sr. blocks his actors. He uses their different shapes, colors and sizes to create a unique composition and really sees his extras as the ‘mise end scene’ when he lacks inanimate objects. It’s impressive that he doesn’t have to rely on major distances to create depth in his shots. Now I love my long shots of hallways, fields of strawberries and stuff like that but when you can create such dynamic shots basically just shooting a room straight on, you get tree thumbs up. That is all.

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Holy Shit, this line…

​Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity

But what I fail to see is what that’s got to do with you and me

Hauntingly beautiful. The juxtaposition is just perfect. To get a little more context for these lines Father John Misty spends about 3 minutes being a pessimist, communicating what he feels is wrong with the world, while pointing out that certain things we do find meaningful in life are just social constructs. That’s where the first line comes in. He questions whether love is just another product masked as a basic human need. Although pessimistic this is a conclusion made based on logic and he fails to see the true science behind love.

Then in the second line he switches his tune. He says that the former line is irrelevant to the current relationship he has with his lady. He’s is willing to throw away his pessimism and logic to continue to have something meaningful with someone although it could just possibly be social construct. And that’s what’s beautiful about love. It is the faith that we can create something bigger than the sum of its parts with another person. Because it is something we hope and search for although it is not defined nor proven tangible. And although it may be an irrational feeling he is willing to accept that and the act of love still trumps all.

These lines will always be a standout to me because of the constant duality it displays about love.