"A graphic novel, Street View will entice all you voyeurs out there to peer inside uncovered city windows and fantasize about the human dramas unfolding inside."
French author and film director Pascal Rabate' has published a delightful new work. A graphic novel, Street View will entice all you voyeurs out there to peer inside uncovered city windows and fantasize about the human dramas unfolding inside.
Street View is a radical departure from the narrative form. First, there are no words. Second, it has an unusual format. Pages are bound between two hard covers with no spine. A series of connected foldouts delivers a continuous visual story in 20 scenes. The recurring visual is a typical Parisian block with specific focus on one tenement façade. The action on the street mutates with the rise and fall of the sun.
Pascal Rabate' has transformed our reading experience into a treasure hunt. The initial inclination is to peruse and explore the unusual format. Eventually though, one segues away from the format to more closely considering the visuals and the diversity of activity depicted in each section. We are quickly enthralled by the hum and throbbing pulse of this neighborhood.
To consider the book’s appeal is an intriguing exploration of the human psyche. Why are we inclined to peer at and peep into the private world of strangers? Windows are transparent and many of us are curious about the goings on behind.
Rabate’s book is clearly an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, with specific reference to the acclaimed film Rear Window, a story about a wheelchair-bound man who witnesses a murder through a window across the way. On one spread Rabate' actually features a large shadow profile of a portly man standing on the street smoking a cigarette and peering up into the building. No one could miss that iconic image.
Street View beckons readers into a typical neighborhood. The visuals and format appear innocent and almost childlike at first blush. Upon closer examination, however, we realize this book is not for children. We are inexorably drawn to the grit and chicanery of city life.