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Friday, 1 December 2017

San Junipero

December's here. Woo. Let's celebrate the arrival of advent with some soundtrack music from Clint Mansell. San Junipero was the fourth episode from last year's Black Mirror series, Charlie Brooker's stories of future shock and technology gone wrong. In San Junipero two women, Yorkie and Kelly, meet in a bar in a beach resort in 1987 and fall in love. The beach resort and bars and entire existence turn out not to be entirely as they same. Ditto the people. I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it- get thee to Netflix and watch it. For a Black Mirror episode it had an upbeat ending too.

The episode is peppered with songs from 1987, including a brief snippet of Girlfriend In A Coma and a repeating Heaven Is A Place On Earth. The rest of the soundtrack was by Clint Mansell, formerly of Pop Will Eat Itself. The 10 tracks Clint recorded came out as a stand alone album and work well independently, with washes of synths, pulses of bass, strings, bleeps and static and repeating melodies. This is the closing piece. It's a long way from Beaver Patrol.

San Junipero (Saturday Night In The City of The Dead)


Michael Doherty said...

Some great music over the series but this is the highlight. Simply beautiful!

Luca said...

Are you sure is it an upbeat ending? Is it better to die believing in an afterlife (which you may or may not) or ending up as an artificial construct in a virtual reality at the mercy of whoever controls it, never sure if the others are real or not? The finest thing about Black Mirror is that ultimately the choice about what 'moral' the story has is given to the viewer.

Anonymous said...

It was upbeat in the sense that it was the only episode which didn't end in total despair and horror. I think.
Swiss Adam

Luca said...

I found this comment in an Italian blog about movies, TV series and comics, https://docmanhattan.blogspot.it/
This random internet guy had some interesting ideas about it (Sorry for the EXTREMELY long post but it’s really good food for thought – n.b. I am not a religious person).

“I think that San Junipero’s ending is as tragic as all the other episodes. It has nothing melancholy about it. And it does not end well. You may haven't noticed, but San Junipero is hell.
Kelly tells the truth when he gets angry with Yorkie: SJ is not heaven, it's a place of selfishness (that is, its opposite). Only, afterwards, she gets tempted and changes her mind.
It is not just an episode that speaks of nostalgia, it is an episode that addresses the problem of eternal life, of eternal youth. Of death.
It is a religious, sacred, spiritual episode (it is no coincidence that the families of both protagonists are religious ... if I remember correctly I would say that it is the first time that religion is explicitly mentioned in BM, a series normally atheist and cynical to the bone).
SJ goes beyond the usual episodes of BM, because it applies the technology to the "sacred", while so far had applied it to the "profane".
The real inhabitant of SJ is Wes, the obsessed. Nostalgia is a drug, and here we see sacralized nostalgia. San Junipero is a world without relationships, where life is not produced, but is consumed and nothing else.
The satan-sado-gothic nightclub is not an exception to San Junipero: it is its real essence.
Kelly and Yorkie choose to remain teenagers forever, and anyone who has passed adolescence knows that there is nothing worse than being an adolescent. Kelly and Yorkie choose eternal falling in love, which will never be real love: falling in love are just two egoisms that meet each other.
This magnificent third episode of BM tells the topos of selling the soul to the devil in a way that had never been told before.
Kelly and Yorkie lock themselves in the Land of Toys, they destroy their soul without even realizing it.”

I'm not necessarily agreeing with all of it, but I can state that SJ is the Black Mirror episode which scared me the most.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks Luca. A good read.