Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Cameron and “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

Today in Art History class we learned about Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. One of the paintings we talked about was Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. When I first saw the painting on the PowerPoint slide, I sort of chuckled because I instantly thought of the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Cameron stares at the little girl in the painting.

We learned about the technique that Seurat used, a technique called pointillism where the artist {using a textbook definition here} separate color into its component parts and then applies the component colors to the canvas in tiny dots, or points. The image becomes comprehensible only from a distance, when the viewer’s eyes optically blend the pigment dots. \\ So basically what it boils down to is that when looked at far away the image is obvious, but the closer you get, the blurrier and unrecognizable it becomes.

After we learned about that painting and technique, my teacher asked us if we had seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; most people answered yes but she still wanted to show us the clip in the art museum because there are so many paintings in that scene that we learned about today. Before I go on, you should know that I have two major movie character boyfriends/husbands: C.C. Baxter from Billy Wilder’s The Apartment and Cameron Frye from John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Don’t ask me why, but these two characters just fell in love with head over heels. But let me focus on Cameron since that’s who this post is about. I feel that we are similar in many ways and I can relate to him on many levels: stress, paranoia, his sense of humor, and being a nerd I guess? {Plus Alan Ruck is totally my type.} But anyways, you just need to know that I love Cameron Frye so much that if he were an actual person I would snatch him up ASAP.

Keeping Cameron’s background in mind, I expected to watch the scene again and chuckle at the Cameron part expect…I didn’t :/ I wasn’t even planning on “analyzing” the scene because I always assumed it was just for kicks and giggles, it just sort of hit me/fell into place? {The part starts at 1:20}

At the beginning of the Cameron part, my teacher said, “His face always makes me laugh because he looks so confused at the painting.” Expect it wasn’t funny for me at all. Instead, I only saw pain, yes some confusion, but also a sense of realization. If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you watch it or look it up on Wikipedia or something because I don’t want to ruin it for you. So if you haven’t seen it, stop reading lol.

Bearing in mind the technique of pointillism, the closer the camera frames in on the little girl, the more disoriented she becomes. The camera follows the same pattern with Cameron, only we close in on Cameron’s eyes.

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{I decided to add some shots of the art work for reference points}

This part I realized is so important to Cameron’s character. It’s a turning point for him; he is coming to an important realization about himself, his life at the moment, and his potential future. The closer you look at the little girl, who appears very put together and orderly from looked at far away, is really a complete jumble and disarray of colors up close. Essentially, that’s Cameron. He can see himself in this painting as this little girl. This is the current state of his life and he sees he needs to fix it. He needs to stand up to his verbally abusive father and, more importantly, being to stand up for himself in all respects; he is finally understanding that now. Thus, follow the rest of the film.

So art truly is inspirational and it does affect people; Cameron is a perfect example of that.


And I never thought I’d ever get anything like this out of a John Hughes movie.



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