Monday, May 16, 2016

Architecture of "A Bigger Splash" [2016]

The luxurious villa featured in "A Bigger Splash" (part of the Tenuta-Borgia Estate, in Pantelleria, Sicily) is a key character in this thriller, acting to further the feeling of foreboding that permeates the film. In the beginning, its quiet and sparseness suggest a precious, if fleeting, privacy that we sense will be invaded. Once the loud & pushy guests finally (and inevitably) do descend, the feeling of dread is increased - to the point of fear for the fragility of the furnishings, if also for the inhabitants.  As the story unfolds, the rising levels of noisiness & agitation - from the commotion of dancing to rock-n-roll on the vintage stereo, to the clandestine & aggressive sex act performed standing up smack against the plaster walls, to the arguments and invective that shatter the silence - all the safety and comfort that define this posh & privileged house & grounds & pool - clearly & lavishly designed for the purposes of recreation & entertainment - are slowly, inexorably and emphatically, dissolved by the tension, and the pleasure, even of the house itself, is subsumed by the violence of ... "A Bigger Splash".