Wednesday, 31 March 2010


The swing is the pendular rhythm of a heartbeat, describing the emotion of those who sit on it in the speed and length of its movements.

It is romantic when it swings far and free...


Wings of Desire

Letter from an Unknown Woman

It is a child's game and a symbol of childhood or innocence lost or retrieved.

It is melancholic when it is slow...


Stone Wedding (Nunta de Piatra)

When it is empty it is sad and disturbing, sighing and creaking, telling us of something just gone or of a malign horrific presence invisible as the wind. The swing may lullaby one's fears to sleep or indulge and intensify them.

The Happening


  1. Interesting examination of the symbol. I would also add, it's a great signifier of growth into various stages of adulthood, sometimes positive, sometimes not. Sandra Oh jumping off the swings with a one-night stand in "Double Happiness" comes to mind, as does Richard Dreyfus' frustrated pleas to the skies in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (I think that occurs at a swing-set).

  2. Thanks Bob.

    "I would also add, it's a great signifier of growth into various stages of adulthood, sometimes positive, sometimes not."

    Interesting, though I don't recall the two examples you give here.

  3. Wonderful idea here Stephen! And seeing caps here of CHARULATA, LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and IKIRU is always a joy to behold. Kudos on this thought-provoking and poetic examination of cinematic parallels.

  4. What an interesting idea, and one that leaves me at a loss...........


  5. Thank you very much Sam.

    I don't know why but I suddenly started to notice them and how they are used...

  6. Thanks Coffee Messiah!

    My pleasure.

  7. Wow. This is something that's really refreshing. Can't think of anything else to add. Was thinking of the girl in Circus, but that was a trapeze. But I'm sure I've seen many more striking uses of the swing.

    How about To Kill A Mockingbird? There was a nostalgic swing there, wasn't it? And wasn't there one in Renoir's Partie et Compagnie? Ray might have taken an inspiration from Renoir...

  8. JAFB,

    Thank you very much.

    I can't remember the swings in those two films but I did just remind myself of a swing and roundabout (I think) in Terminator 2 (vision of a nuclear blast). Innocence lost, the bliss of ignorance wiped out.

  9. very very interesting, dear Stephen.
    I may add Dean's melancholic swing from "East of Eden", among the bushes and the trees.

  10. Thank you, Sabrina.

    I'm afraid I haven't seen EAST OF EDEN yet - I'll keep an eye out for that scene.

  11. I am instantly reminded of 'The Wayward Cloud', in which Shiang-chyi unexpectedly encounters Hsiao-kang (both the same, long-alienated characters from Tsai's earlier 'What Time Is It There?') asleep on a two-person swing, and in her curiosity falls asleep opposite him. Then Hsiao-kang wakes up to find her asleep across him. As with everything Tsai, the swing operates slowly.

  12. Ah,

    Sounds beautiful. I've seen WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? but not THE WAYWARD CLOUD.