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Kimble, H. (1998). Lone Star: Signs, Borders and Thresholds. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:395-398.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:395-398

Lone Star: Signs, Borders and Thresholds

Review by:
Harriet Kimble, WRYE

In Lone Star, written, directed and edited by John Sayles (1995), hidden and evocative bits and pieces of characters' lives emerge and are interwoven, as in an analysis. Past and present are never divided by uncrossable borders; porosity of the mind is dramatically realised in Sayles's seamless editing, shifting from one temporal perspective in a character's inner world to another. At the same time, however, Sayles describes his film as a ‘story about borders’, which he defines not only geographically, setting the film in the mythical Frontera, Texas (the town's name actually means border in Spanish), but psychologically as well: ‘A border is where you draw a line and say, “This is where I end and somebody else begins”’ (West, 1997p. 14). Sayles is interested in the lines drawn between people—sex, class, race, age. In this review, I also propose that he is interested in thresholds and epiphanic border crossings, if you will, that permit a dialectic whereby a rigid point of demarcation may be transformed. These ‘thresholds’ occur in dramatic moments within the film and between the film screen and the audience.

The film's serious theme, often comically underscored, is about the deformative social constructions of power, race, age and gender. Sayles's cinematic eye draws our attention to his theme through visual images: signs of proprietorship, borders, military rank, gender, race, signs evoking prejudice. The logo of the film, the Texas sheriff's ‘lone star’ badge, is a sign both of political power and corruption and decay.

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