(Call this more of a connection in-process, a note towards a connection, but I don’t think it’s quite reached its point just yet.)
I don’t think anyone has formally looked at those rooms and their boundaries which people cannot seem to cross, at least for non-political reasons. I like these strange borders. These limits that people recognize as un-crossable.
I had been reading Geoff Dyer’s book about Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker. It is really “a book about a film about a journey to a room,” and it’s called Zona. This book is a quite unique long string of connections and even ramblings, as Dyer discusses the film frame-by-frame. Here’s one point Dyer didn’t bring up. In the scene where “The Writer” approaches “The Room” he suddenly stops, for no visible reason.
Just then, winds pick up slightly and a voice, apparently from nowhere says, “Stop. Don’t Move.” The Writer comes back to the small group, demanding, “Why did you stop me?” But no one stopped him. “What the hell,” he says, sitting down and trying to understand his peculiar, perhaps metaphysical experience. “Fear’s sobered you up,” says the Professor, suggesting that the Writer invented the voice as a way to allow him to stop.
(You can watch the film on YouTube here. This scene takes place in Part 1 at 56 minutes in.)
Dyer explains, “the thing about the Zone is that it’s always subtly reconfiguring itself according to your thoughts and expectations. You want it to seem ordinary? It’s ordinary—or is it? And at that moment something occurs to make you think maybe it’s not ordinary, whereupon it does something briefly extraordinary. (Or does it?) Whereupon it becomes quite ordinary again.”
Again, a similarly uncrossed boundary emerges in the 1962 Luis Bunuel film The Exterminating Angel, a film about a party in a room that no one can seem to leave. Formal dinner party guests assemble in the room one evening and end up spending the night in the music room, adjacent to the dining room. Inexplicably, by the next day it becomes clear that none of the guests can seem to cross the border of this room. Panic sets in.
Animals begin to roam the deserted house (a surrealist’s touch).
Makeshift survivalism becomes necessary.
But if the crisis is purely psychological, why can’t the local authorities enter the room either? In the scene below, they assemble outside the house, unable to enter. What strange force? What convention of storytelling?
Two very different contexts, but a similar perplexing and inexplicable border. Is this psychology—more precisely a “group” psychology—or something else?