When I first saw Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, I was 14 years old. Crowe’s coming of age tale resonated with me for an obvious reason, but I was also smitten with his musical choices. I had just recently discovered 70’s rock, and I willingly let Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd monopolize my headphones. In later viewings Crowe’s film grew deeper for me. It wasn’t merely about the maturity of a boy, but also the death of rock and roll, the last gasp of innocent fandom, and the disintegration of an era. This month’s shot revolves around the effervescent Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a kindred spirit that’s deeply dedicated to the music of her favorite band, Stillwater.
Penny follows Stillwater from gig to gig seeking a profound musical experience, not a sexual rendezvous. The problem for Penny is that she’s commonly treated like a celebrity starved groupie. She is far from that. Penny’s commitment to the music is eloquently demonstrated in the shot above as she innocently dances alone in a stadium littered with debris ranging from empty plastic cups to streamers. There’s a level of melancholy seeping from the frame, as if this is the closest we’ll ever get to reliving a moment buried in time. But here Penny is, deeply absorbed in the moment; moving her body freely amidst the wreckage. Time moves on, but she sweetly refuses to let go, dancing forever in that messy hall.
Cinematographer: John Toll
Director: Cameron Crowe