Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

Green Screening

Sep 12, 2013 | family, theater | 2 comments

On a classic movie channel this week, co-host and  incomparably beautiful actress Madeleine Stowe  gave her response to a screening of Splendor in the Grass. She commented that back in the day, people and landscape were inexorably woven together.

As we watched Natalie Wood thrash around in the madness of puberty Hubs said to me, “What is the matter with her?” How quickly we forget.

In the last scene, all that angst is absorbed by the larger landscape: hunky Warren Beatty has found his calling as a man of the earth. Surrounded by fecundity, his youthful burn for his virginal high school girlfriend now simmers, not unpleasantly, and is bestowed in a kiss on his earthy pregnant wife’s lips.

While I acknowledge the hypocrisy—Bud could turn to the bad girls for relief but Deanie had to suffer through—Stowe’s comment about the role landscape played in the drama gave me an aha moment. 

Deanie and Bud were never alone or unobserved. They were surrounded by parents, friends, classrooms and forces of nature (the waterfall tumbling over rocks into a reservoir where Deanie throws herself). Today, actors and actresses often emote in front of a green screen that shuts out the landscape. Computer generated backgrounds are added later. The effect can be isolating.

Stowe mentioned that movies like Splendor in the Grass aren’t made anymore and mused that the internet has rewired our brains. As we grow more dependent on digital stimulation, the intimate landscape of family, community and natural wonder recedes. Posts, tweets and sound bites form a green screen we perform against. It’s a din that is difficult to manage, makes us jumpy, and can isolate us from deeper experiences that were designed to satisfy our souls.

2 Comments

  1. Mary Patricia Anthony

    Sydney…take to the hills….we often escape the sterile landscape of the internet for the real deal.
    A must read book is “The Shallows” which proves that our brains, and sadly our souls, are rewired, cell by cell, as we are immersed in the digital screen world. The author, Nicholas Carr, confessed that he had to remove himself from that kind of stimulation in order to write the book. Case in point.
    You’re a wonderful writer and commentator.

    Reply
  2. yosemitesyd

    Mary, thanks for the book suggestion (and the kind words.). Good to talk to you today.

    Reply

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