Love as a one-way street at the Panorama


She won’t stop writing to me — e-mails, letters, texts, cards — but it’s not merely because I hardly know her that I no longer reply. It is the increasingly demanding tone, and the fact that a romance is gaining momentum without my needing to be involved.

-Unrequited Love, by Gregory Dart

You’ve heard of a filmmaker-in-residence. Now meet a film-in-residence. Because Sara Velas and Ruby Carlson, her co-curator, both doyennes of the Velaslavasay Panorama do things their way. So a movie will reside for a month in the charming and mysterious former Union Movie theater near to the campus of University of Southern California,. Bundled in to the refurbished building along with its core movie theater are gardens and one of the coolest installed Panoramas we’ve seen.

The screening is part of Velaslavasay Panorama’s Film-In-Residence series and will be shown every Saturday from June 25th – July 16th, from 3:30pm – 5:30pm. Film-In-Residence is a casual film screening series where guests are invited to tour the exhibits of the Panorama for the first half hour and curated films have a four-week run with an accompanying temporary exhibit. The first selected movie, Unrequited Love (2006), is a tech-driven daydream on surveillance and stalking. Film notes here

Based on the memoir/novel Unrequited Love: On Stalking and Being Stalked by Gregory Dart, Unrequited Love by Chris Petit is a cinematic essay on stalking in the early 21st century and how technology facilitates obsession and the obliteration of privacy with the help of surveillance, filmmaking and literature in the modern city.

A woman (played by writer Rebecca Marshall) meets a man (played by writer Gregory Dart) and is consumed by love for him. She is convinced their love is mutual and that his efforts of distancing himself are symptoms of a shameful emotional crisis—on his part. These perfect strangers cross the city solo, through plazas and car parks, reading books in semi-abandoned bistros. Chris Petit sets the scene in glass reflections, elevators, business hallways and anonymous train stations, much like CCTV cameras.

Haunted by writers like Jean Rhys and filmmakers Hitchock and Antonioni as much as by technology or the unwanted affection of a jilted lover, Unrequited Love mates what Petit identifies as “the notion of control at the heart of cinema” with a camera that moves without sophistication, as if controlled by some artless machine, to create idyllic moments of “film liberated from film grammar”.

sara velas, by night. by day she is more casual

As part of your ticket, you can meander in the garden, mount the spiral staircase to view the current 360-degree, Shengjing Panorama. An accompanying special exhibit features phones from the Unrequited Love era, courtesy of Tech Museum at Dragon Manor.

Unrequited Love (2006) | Velaslavasay Panorama | Saturdays in June & July

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