MOON & Dancing at the Cafe

The frame here comes from a quiet, transitional moment in the film, lasting under ten seconds. The shot simply shows the empty corridors of the base. These sorts of unmotivated shots—“unmotivated” because they do not strictly advance the storyline—are at the heart of most great movies. They serve as breathing spaces for the audience, allowing our minds to relax and absorb what’s been happening, and they take us even deeper into the artificial reality of the film.

The long passages with no dialogue in the original Alien (1979) work this way, as well as those scenes in The Conversation (1974) where Gene Hackman plays his sax in his lonely apartment . . . Such moments could be cut or trimmed without sacrificing the momentum of the plot, and yet the best filmmakers realize that plot and mood are two sides of the same coin and that it is in these in-between moments—the moments when the film breaks down, or pauses—where the best chances for transcendence lie.

— Nicholas Rombes on the “radical sadness” of Duncan Jones’s Moon, part of his 10/40/70 series at The Rumpus (spoilers abound)

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