Writing on Film – Article 1 – Buffalo 66

I have been doing an evening class in Writing on Film at Edinburgh University. I have written many articles and reviewed several films. I am going to post the articles and essays on my blog. The first one is below along with a link to the course.


With this essay I had to review a scene from a film. The film I chose was Buffalo 66 (starring Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci) and I chose a scene about 1 hour in to the film involving a photo booth.

Buffalo 66
Directed By Vincent Gallo
Starring Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci
Scene – Photobooth
Duration – approximately 4 minutes.
The scene begins when we see Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo) leading Layla (Christina Ricci) into a photo booth. Billy forcefully commands Layla into the booth, however she appears to be willing and excited at the prospect. The camera follows the pair, sweeping across the bowling alley, as they walk across the concourse. They could be an average boyfriend and girlfriend, however their relationship is not simple.
When we cut to inside the booth the viewpoint changes; we are looking from the point of view of the photo booth camera. This enforced viewpoint presents the couple as being concealed in a tight space. This could be seen as underlining the closeness that the characters feel towards one another but also highlighting the tension between them.
What makes this scene pivotal is that this is the first time we explicitly hear Layla express her fondness for Billy. She has been free to leave to him, but has stuck by his side. In previous scenes we have uncovered elements of Billy’s past and understand his anger and short temper, however Layla’s motivation remained a mystery. Despite being kidnapped by Billy she has stuck by a man who has insulted her and treated her with no respect. Layla however does not come over as a victim. We know she is in a busy bowling alley and could seek assistance if she was seriously othreatened by her kidnapper.
Layla teases Billy in the booth. She trusts him and does not fear his anger or rage, despite the fact the he is arrogant and dictates orders with patronising repetition in his language.
The mischievous nature of Layla is in contrast to Billy. He stares into the camera without smiling. He is not in the mood to play and purely sees the photo opportunity as an exercise to take an image for his parents and not as a romantic gesture towards Layla.
Despite this, the affection that Layla clearly has, foreshadows the conclusion of the Buffalo 66 and creates an intriguing scene.

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