Chapter I analysis: The Film
Pages 5 – 7
Here is the first mention about temperatures. The general temperature in the hallways are cold, like frostbite cold, however at the moment I’m still not entirely sure why. It may have something to do with the idea of a nautical hell (IE being caught in a never ending drowning scenario where the enviroment gets darker and colder as it saps the life from you) or some such.
Here is an excellent example of how Zampano (or maybe Johnny decided on this but I’d feel safer in saying it’s Zampano’s decision) conveys the visual action of the documentary into a textual format. Lines 30-33 are jump shots so the text is chopped up into short sentences each shot getting it’s own line, then we see another continous scene (lines 34-6) which get’s it’s own paragraph and then lines 37-40 are more jump shots and we conclude with lines 41-8 with the final continous scene. This isn’t necessairly plot important, but it is a very creative way to relay the action from a primarly visual medium (movie) to the more imagination intensive medium (book). We’ll see this formating choice emphasized much more in later chapters particularly chapters eight, nine, ten, twelve, and thirteen to name some of the most dramatic examples.
trope – not a story enhancing detail but the idea of etymologies and histories plays a part in this book and because of that I’m in the habit of checking the etymology of words that are interesting or I’m not familiar with. Trope is basically a synonym for a metaphor or simile and its origin:
“1525–35; < Latin tropus figure in rhetoric < Greek trópos turn, turning, turn or figure of speech, akin to trépein to turn”
Which makes me think of the phrase “turn a phrase” which is possibly where that phrase came from (my Internet connection is currently down, can’t verify this until it comes back online). This is one of the few easter eggs I will consistently include since I have a fondness for etymologies of words and phrases.
Zeuxis – this is an example of how a small reference or easter egg ends up serving as a story enhancing detail. Zeuxis was a painter in ancient Greece however none of his paintings survived yet word of mouth about his paintings inspired the Renaissance art movement of chiaroscuro (which is a particularly appropriate style to reference in that many of the scenes in this book, both from Johnny and Zampano/Navidson if made into stills/paintings could be considered to fall into the chiaroscuro style).
Zeuxis also happens to be a Greek General which vaguely relates to the theme we’ll see emerge in the next few chapters of war and exploration.
“…Navidson’s film seems destined to achieve at most cult status.”
I figure this is projection from MZD, knowing how unusual his first book is he figured he can only achieve cult status with his style. Mostly true, the cult status anyway, but it’s a kinda funny jab at his own work.
- Chapter 8 page 97 (houseofleavesblog.wordpress.com)
- Chapter 8 page 98 (houseofleavesblog.wordpress.com)
- Time wins the race (and dying of laughter) (timesonline.typepad.com)