The Crazy Ray
In rené clair’s the crazy ray, a person (albert préjean) and a collection of friends are in an plane on their way to paris while a scientist’s experimental device freezes each parisian in region. Unaffected, the friends deplane to find that up close the bustling french capital seems exactly as it does from above:
Immobile, undying, asleep. The movie’s english name refers back to the beam emitted through the scientist’s tool, but the french identify (paris qui dort, or “paris sound asleep”) refers back to the modern, technologically mediated affect of paris that the film allegorizes. From the vantage factor of an plane or a excessive upward thrust, or in a picture, a major city can appear surreally nonetheless and lifeless. The real-world technology equal to the scientist’s “loopy ray,” then, is the cinema, which manipulates and transforms our affect of reality—in which stay matters can appear dead and lifeless matters may be (re)animated. Clair plays round with montages of empty streets and frozen photographs, and delights in the myth of the un-frozen group’s hijinks, as they hedonistically raid a bar and do handstands at the beams of the eiffel tower. Clair’s surreal comedy reminds us that the authentic difficulty of technological know-how fiction is our modern global, and that truely wondrous technology already at our fingertips.