swiftsnowmane: (Anidala - The Arena)
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Anidala Week 2017 ☆ Day 2: Favourite Scene || Lovers’ Embrace (+ binary sunset)

atooine is my all-time favourite Star Wars location, so it is no surprise that it is also the setting for one of my most beloved Anidala scenes. For such a brief interlude, it is impeccably crafted. From the direction, to the lighting, to the costuming, the attention to detail is most impressive. Anakin and Padme are especially striking in their contrasting physical appearances here, and this scene provides a tantalizing view of them as a 'union of opposites' ...in both a visual and thematic sense. 

At the start of the scene, Anakin stands brooding in his dark, velvety cloak that seems to absorb all the light, his arms crossed in front of him in that distinctly Vader-esque pose. And Padme…oh, Padme. Even with the concerned expression on her face, her beauty is so exquisite it is almost painful to behold. The way her hair is styled beneath the intricate silver headpiece is possibly my favourite of all of her many elaborate hairstyles throughout the prequel films. Even out there in the middle of nowhere, she exudes a queenly countenance. In the evening light she practically shimmers, a pale blue oasis in Anakin’s seemingly-endless desert.

This is one the first major instances of (literal!) foreshadowing in their scenes, as Padme emerges from the homestead, and, for a split second, Anakin’s shadow takes the unmistakable shape of Vader. But that particular hint of darkness is fleeting, and the focus shifts immediately back to the present, and to their sweet but sorrowful parting. Anakin reassures Padme that she will be safe there, and that ‘these are good people’. Even here, on the brink of his ultimately tragic search for his missing mother, Anakin’s longing for family is more apparent than ever. 

But it is the way in which their parting embrace is shot that particularly stands out—instead of focusing on their faces, we instead see their shadows cast upon the outer wall of the iconic Lars homestead. For me, this is one of the most memorable and beautiful romantic visuals in the entire saga. Their shadows, at first separate, then become one. Another literal foreshadowing, this time of their coming union. It is almost as though they are leaving some ghostly imprint of themselves—of their love—upon the very walls of the place their son will eventually grow up.

Padme steps into Anakin’s arms, and he gathers her to him….all reticence between them now fled under the emotionally charged circumstances. Despite not being formally ‘together’, their embrace is a lovers’ embrace.  Even the way Padme speaks his name, plaintive and soft, as though she doesn’t want him to go, but understands why he must, conveys her true depth of feeling for him. And Anakin’s intensely passionate nature is on full display here…the way he buries his head into her neck, the way his hands linger upon her waist and hips as he reluctantly parts from her. For a couple who are supposedly not even a couple yet, their body language—lower bodies pressed together, foreheads touching— is extremely sensual, even intimate. Back on Naboo, Padme may have tried to delay the inevitable, but here the symbolism of the ‘forbidden fruit’ is made clear: Persephone has entered Hades’ underworld.

Just as in my other favourite long-distance shot of these two (aka, the reunion scene in RotS), here they are shown standing in shadow—hinting not only at the secrecy of their forbidden relationship (how they must always meet and love in the shadows), but also the approaching darkness of the Clone Wars…and, of course, the eventual doom that awaits them. And yet, there is still that ‘barest flicker of persistent light’—for even though they are both standing in (and surrounded by) shadow, the fading light of day still reaches them, illuminating Padme, who shines brightly even as she is enveloped by Anakin’s dark, looming figure. So while the scene may speak of coming danger and swiftly-approaching darkness, it simultaneously hints that there is still light and hope in the future.

The score at the beginning of the scene is urgent yet melancholy as it merges into the binary sunset/Force theme during the lovers’ embrace, once again powerfully linking Anakin and Padme with their son, Luke. As they break apart, Anakin turns slightly to look back at Padme before turning away again, his cloak billowing behind him. Here, we catch a glimpse of the ‘dark avenger’ that he will soon embody in the following scenes…just as the score gives way to the foreboding ‘Duel of the Fates’ theme.

The scene ends with Padme watching as Anakin disappears beyond the horizon…and with Anakin, speeding away across the desert landscape, silhouetted against the twin setting suns. We are left with yet another haunting image of the future: Padme as the war-bride, the lady in waiting, left behind even as her beloved knight rushes headlong into unknown peril and shrouded darkness. And Anakin as the troubled but well-meaning warrior, fighting his way across the galaxy, unwittingly moving closer and closer to his own downfall.

In this way, this bittersweet farewell feels like yet another taste of what is to come during the Clone Wars, each and every time Anakin goes off to the front lines. The knowledge that, in parting from Padme, he leaves his true heart—and his true home—behind.

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