Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday Night Fever (John Badham)

Living in a world of fools.

Film Review Archive (date seen: October 12, 2010)

A 70's phenom that stormed the whole being of a culture with its ecstatic music and dance moves. Today, watching it is a cheesy, melodramatic experience filled with heavy nostalgia, but still strangely compelling. One of the main purposes of the dances are of course to highlight the raging trend of the 70's, but to be more exact, it's also powerfully used to convey and exorcise painful emotions from its protagonist, Tony Manero (played by John Travolta).

As I watch "Saturday Night Fever", I can see a lot of "Mean Streets"-type touches, which I thought perfectly captures, with wild carelessness, the random and cyclic existence of adolescents in Brooklyn; complete nobodies hiding their anguish about life's disappointments and misgivings through sex, booze, and the imaginary glamor offered as always by the colorful disco floor. "Saturday Night Fever", contrary to the immediate thought time and history has given it, is more than just a "dance" film, it's more about human connections, depicted in the film both in its failure and success, and how it is, above all the cheap trophies and appraisals, the best reward there is.

Today, when one hears "Saturday Night Fever", the first thing that would enter one's mind is the image of John Travolta dancing his brains out; only few would even think of it as a painful study of existentialism, which it actually is.


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