top of page
  • Writer's pictureFabioIMPoppi

"Red Rooms"

"The Lady of Shalott" is a poem by the British poet Alfred Tennyson, composed between 1833 and 1845. It draws loosely from Arthurian legends, portraying a young woman, known as "The Lady of Shalott," who resides alone on an island upstream from Camelot. Bound by a curse, she is confined to her castle, weaving scenes she observes through a mirror that reflects the external world. The curse mandates that she must not gaze directly towards Camelot, for such an action would lead to her death.

Her existence undergoes a profound transformation when she glimpses the reflection of the noble Sir Lancelot in her mirror. Entranced by his beauty and splendor, she succumbs to temptation and looks out the window to better see him. This act activates the curse, compelling her to leave the island and navigate the river towards Camelot, fully cognizant of the fatal outcome. En route, her boat sinks and she perishes, though her body continues to drift towards Camelot.

In 1875, the English painter John Atkinson Grimshaw captured this moment in a poignant painting depicting "The Lady of Shalott," where her lifeless body is seen on the boat, nestled in a still, serene, and tragic current.

Grimshaw’s artwork later becomes the desktop wallpaper of the protagonist in "Red Rooms," a 2023 film by Pascal Plante. The film delves into the obsession of its protagonist—a young, detached, apathetic model—with the trial of an alleged torturer and murderer of teenage girls. These victims are portrayed in "red rooms," virtual spaces where their murders are filmed and broadcasted.

Similar to "The Lady of Shalott," the protagonist endures her curse; the computer serves as her mirror, and the horrific images to which she exposes herself define her existence.

The narrative of "Red Rooms" incites reflection on how the desire for the 'red room,' essentially a death wish, paradoxically represents a yearning for life. Faced with modernity’s challenges—diminished empathy, urban isolation, addiction, social withdrawal, and voyeuristic engagement with others’ lives—the unchecked and rampant spread of all types of imagery saps life of its meaning: the protagonist finds a perverse vitality only in violent images and her obsession with the murderer. This desire for life through the longing for death creates a dichotomy of contrasts and reflections, a cycle that can only be broken when the mirror shatters, forcing a return to reality.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page