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How the influence of existentialist philosophy plays out in Richard Linklater’s filmmaking

by Ben Sachs.


In a post last week I considered the possible influence of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Katzelmacher on a key sequence of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. I failed to acknowledge, though, how this sequence is also highly characteristic of Linklater. To review, the passage finds a junior high-aged Mason walking and talking with a callous, go-getting female classmate who seems to be romantically interested in him.

The scene plays out in a single take that’s one of the longest in this 165-minute film; the overt formal ambition (compared with the “invisible” style of most of the other scenes) would seem to hint at some deeper thematic significance, despite the fact that the female classmate will never appear again in Boyhood.

Of course, the audience doesn’t know that as the scene is happening—and Linklater, as usual, deters viewers from anticipating what will happen next so they might better savor the ever-fleeting present moment.

Read the rest of this article from Chicago Reader.

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