Paranoid Park

Gus Van Sant, USA, 2007, Diaphana pour MK2


We come to Paranoid Park, a skate park in Portland through the writing in young Alex’s journal. It is drawn for us through the prism of memory, and the voice over is his notes brought to life, who speaks to us from a time before a drama that has not yet been played out, and of which young man remains unaware. The choice of filming in real time seemed necessary for the filmmaker to anchor the reality of the character writing in the office, with several mini-actions, when the character leaves the shot then returns with a drink in hand, turns on the light etc. The voice over allows the two locations to exist simultaneously through editing, as we see the skatepark, first shown to us behind a fence, which the camera tracks along from the outside, before smoothly showing us our hero from behind, squatting with his friend. Gus Van Sant has chosen amateur actors to play the part of his skateboarders. The voice over tells us how this place was created by and for outsiders. Our first experience of the place is a descriptive one, where it is seen at a distance, and then we go into further into it through a subjective proximity, we experience it in a sensory way, with Alex’s face in close-up followed by close-ups of the skaters. We see the world in slow motion and blurred with unrealistic music and sound, creating a strange new world of suspended perceptions – which capture and seduce our young protagonist, like the viewers themselves.