Rear View Mirror: Nostalgia and Retro


As for me it is clearly visible how recent movies are made. My very first thought was the link between Noah Baumbach’s ‘Frances Ha’ produced in 2012 and older movies by Woody Allen (‘Manhattan’) or Jim Jarmusch (‘Stranger Than Paradise’). The last two, were released back in 1970s and 80s, while ‘Frances Ha’ is quite new and recent movie which covers up to date issues of the society and the world that we live in. I am not saying the plot covers each other because they are completely different but the way actors are dressed, the scenes these movies consist of and what is most important and is easiest to notice, all three of the movies are black and white movies. Obviously, Allen and Jarmusch didn’t have equally same technologies as Baumbach did while he was producing his movie back in 2012. That is a clear example of nostalgia that the director wanted to somehow relate to the old movies taking place in New York.

Not only these movies are referencing to the general visual side of the past. There are many more examples of questionable and concerning style that film directors aim to while making their movies. Wes Anderson, awarded director, in his sets usually refers to the eye catching, really appealing Art Nouveau / Art Deco full of soft, pinky and goldenish details. He filled old black and white movies with colour and technology. Because of him and his obsession with nostalgic point of view, we can now admire the richness of the interiors and culture from the past. But it’s still based on the pop pictures and the knowledge, insight that we were given over the years about the past that we didn’t even have a possibility to experience.

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Photo: Noah Baumbach ‘Frances Ha’ (2012)

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Photo: Jim Jarmusch ‘Stranger than Paradise’ (1994)

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Photo: Woody Allen ‘Manhattan’ (1979)

We’re surrounded by the past, it’s not sth that suddenly appeared now, a revolution on the market, people felt theres sth missing, world was changing extremely (mid 19th century),

Retro and revival, recirculating the past in the present, new form and how that works, Christian Dior’s collection referenced to the 1889s shapes of the corsets and current women’s fashion, Re-working of the Art Nouveau in 1960s (Elisabeth Guffrey, 2006) and also that Art Deco was not used as a term to describe the style at the time, Elisabeth Guffrey defines retro as an interpretation of history with an ironic distance and understanding,

Appropriation and bricolage, to re-make meaning, taking existing elements and combining them in new ways, after the WW2, working class youth was appropriating Edwardian men’s fashion and combining it with their love for Americana, teen culture and rock’n’roll music (Teddy Boy subculture),

Grease (1978) the musical, it was kind of a circle that shown the 50s in the 70s.

Nostalgia is author’s point of view and his own kind of vision of the time the story is based in, these narratives don’t represent the historical aspects but the ideas or cultural, social stereotypes at the time, we base our vision of the time on the photographs, the pop images (Fredric Jameson),

Pastiche – mimicry with no particular satirical intention, a ‘loss of meaning’

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