Culture Shocking Blocking

Repo Man

Image for Repo Man

It’s fascinating to see how an architectural element — here, a half-wall dividing kitchen and living room — can be used by Frank Capra (in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) to signify a quasi-utopian chaotic goodness, while a director from the Original Generation X cohort can use it to signify the end of any such open-plan idealism.

In this scene from Alex Cox’s Repo Man, Otto (Emilio Estevez) scavenges food in the kitchen while in the living room Mom and Dad (Sharon Gregg and Jonathon Hugger), whose pot-smoking, born-again Christian, ex-soixante-huitardiste ways thoroughly justify — to this viewer, anyway — Otto’s punk nihilism, watch an evangelist on TV. By placing Otto on one side of the half-wall and Mom and Dad on the other, Cox neatly dismisses an earlier generation’s bourgeois progressivism.

In the following scene, Otto embarks on a third way, one which transcends the far too limiting punk-hippie dichotomy: the apophenic way of the repo man.

Tags: Movies, Repo Man