Scraps: “My Beautiful Laundrette”

Director: Stephen Frears

  • Didn’t expect the film to have the tone that it does. In an interview with Criterion, the screenwriter (Hanif Kureishi) refers to Frears’ style to be ‘operatic.’
  • Mirrors used as a way to reveal and hide at the same time.
    • Tana showing Omar her breasts during the scene where all the men were drinking and smoking in Nasar’s bedroom. They were oblivious to her.
    • Omar looking at Johnny during the opening day of the laundrette – their faces superimposed at each other’s.
    • Rachel walking away from Nasar – at the end of their affair. She walks through a small wall of mirrors.
  • The camera floats, and often brings us through spaces in a way that feels supernatural.
  • Shot on 16mm.
  • The last scene with the breaking of the glass of at the laundrette – feels like a reveal, especially considering the use of mirrors in the film. The secret is out.

Notable Shots

  • The first kissing scene – which starts in an alleyway, but then the camera moves while the lights shift and turns it into a rather dreamlike moment.
    • The kiss is interrupted by the skinheads, and then we see the front of the laundrette again.
  • Right before Salim gets beaten up – we start with Johnny arriving, then the camera floats to reveal the punks hidden around the laundrette building (by the brick wall, in the foreground, on the roof, and by the front of the building.)

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