Old-world opulence and heteronormative traditions juxtaposed against the new-age way of life. Fascism contextualized around tradition and its resistance towards any type of social progression that disrupts its authority. Walken's character is a manifestation of the heteronormative male ego. His fascistic impulse deeply rooted in strict, traditional notions of masculinity and the inevitable destruction he causes in the end is defined by his repugnance towards any other way of defining masculinity. Venice is the perfect spatiality for The Comfort of Strangers, its luminous old-world opulence is materially stunning yet it's largely photographed in a way that expresses how it is barren of life. The dark alleyways and various enclaves along the canals take up the majority of this film's set-pieces, in a sense enunciating the clash between the old and the new in yet another fashion. While some may find this film to be a little tepid in its pacing, I didn't really have a similar struggle with The Comfort of Strangers. It feels like such a sensual, rich text, and a fascinating entry in Schrader's oeuvre, arguably his most visually impressive film, and one that navigates some fascinating ideas in which Schrader himself seems to suggest he is tethered to many aspects of the old world.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.