Beyond Action

“There are no images without echo, without reverberation”. That is just one of the mesmerising thoughts in this video essay by Ana Rodríguez León. She reappropriates images from Top Gun (1986) and mixes them up with news footage of 9/11 and with vernacular Super 8 shots. The whole montage is tied together by a wistful voice over: a fictional eulogy delivered by the widow of one of the Russian fighter pilots that is shot down in Tony Scott’s blockbuster.


Beyond Action uses an original and affective way to address that classic topic of how fictional images of violence shape our thoughts and actions in real life. Rather than cite academic studies or repeat the usual partisan talking points, Rodríguez León uses fiction to confront fiction.The poetic slant of the voice over text contrasts with the onscreen violence and lends personality and emotion to the case that is made. The beautifully acted narration and the effective, simple sound design are set in opposition with the casual jingoism of Top Gun. The end result, made for MUBI and for FILMADRID Festival Internacional de Cine, is an elegant and haunting piece of videographic criticism.