In the 1958 film “Vertigo”, we’re introduced to the woman, whom our protagonist is asked to follow, wearing bright green piece of clothing against a vivid red backdrop. The bottom frame of the picture below shows intro of a key female character in the 2018 film “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”.
Notice the relationship between Red and Green. In both films, the detective protagonist is investigating the woman wearing green, only to eventually fall in love with her.
As Vertigo expands on these colors with themes related to identity & obsession, showcasing characters’ individual journey (explained astutely in this essay), LDJIN’s fractured narrative increasingly adds to the confusion surrounding the woman in green dress, who wears that same dress throughout her appearance in the first half.
Vertigo directly uses duality as a plot device, while LDJIN consistently detaches singularity of events & characters, adding a lot mystery to the woman. At one point someone suggests that woman had affairs with several men similar to the protagonist. Did the woman in green really exist? If yes, who was she actually loyal with? The protagonist, her alleged husband, her gangster boyfriend or someone else?
Beyond an homage to Vertigo, LDJIN provides a smart extension to the idea of femme fatale and their untrustworthy persona. It probes deep to find tragic poetry within a rather rough genre. We do not know from where the woman came or where did she really spend her time after the apparent killing of her cruel boyfriend. The fact that the protagonist is connecting the threads based on just a name, alludes to her multiple identities, at the same time the photograph with her face scratched makes a case of questioning her existence itself.
directed by Alfred Hitchcock
screenplay by Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor
based on “D’entre les morts” by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018)
written & directed by Bi Gan