God's Little Acre

God's Little Acre
Lord, make way for gold

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea's work

Trash Humpers

Trash Humpers
broken, faked, MADE

Monday, September 29, 2014

BIGGER THAN YOU

Asia Argento's INCOMPRESA (English translation MISUNDERSTOOD) elevates the childhood memoir film.  Yes, it expertly depicts the early 1980s, and yes the music , decor and wardrobe selection is a worthy experience in itself.
Sure, there are comical characters and irreverent wit in the depiction of family dynamics.  Indeed, the style is attractive, the filmmaking is hip and the music is cool.

What is novel, and also an aspect in some of the truly great childhood memoir films (Truffaut's QUATRE CENT COUPS, Soderbergh's KING OF THE HILL, Saura's CRIA CUERVOS) is what is depicted alongside the pop interiors and evocative synth song,  the immense weight and mature inner turbulence that a child must bear.
All a child wants is to be loved and to be bigger.  Sometimes, neither is achieved, and the only thing bigger a child has is the volume of her burden of existence, feeling so unwanted.

Much of Asia's tone is light, comical, though there is always a depth alluded to , even in the most literal visual sense; the range of colors in her pallette, the depth of angles to every friendship and relationship.  What may start out in the spectators eye as a common close female friendship eventually radiates further and further outward, in dizzying orbits of complex dynamics. Every relation is shown in much the same way.  A loving mother is also a fashion icon and also a cocaine abuser and also someone who is a blanket of comfort.

There are scenes that depict events that are not exactly real, yet the degree to which things are imagined or exaggerated or happening is purposefully conflated, messy and not to be untangled.
I experienced this film recollecting my own (though non famous and  middle class) upbringing, remembering halfway jumping out my third flr window before changing my mind and trying to climb back inside....recalling physical pain from hard sobbing when a relative told me they love my sister more than me.
sneaking drinks + blow at the parentals bday party supposedly for the daughter they all forget


The heart of the film is  beautiful dreadlock, a tightly woven knot of causation, brilliance, loneliness, genetically inherited misery and clinical depression.  One also feels the presence of a normal child who is so devoid of unconditional love and preference (by any friend or boy or parent) that she can not imagine the point in being alive.
By film's end, we are left with a colorful little girl whose costume changes and passionate attachments have been distracting from a girl who wants people to know what pain lives inside her, under the mask. Maybe if people knew they would simply choose to be nicer.


Aria + Dac, her stolen cat and 1 true friend

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

graceful acquistion: Assayas' THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

I wish i could more clearly relay my impression of seeing Olivier Assayas' THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA.  I was tired, even jet lagged, and i saw it late my last night in Amsterdam for a romantic (reservation for one) fast paced three day travel weekend.

 The film was both dreamy and sober,  experiential and plot driven, a love story and a horror story.  American and French.

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche play personal assistant to a star and aging theatrical and film star, respectively. Both women surprise.  Stewart's American assistant  is a no nonsense young woman who is capable above her job title, a woman who Binoche's renowned, confident yet still insecure actor relies on as the eyes and ears experiencing her performance.  Stewart speaks quickly and intelligently in the role, informative, well schooled on acting, better informed than her boss about the current crop of  filmmaking and acting stars.
The women connected create a bonded relationship, each partner bolder, more solid and self fulfilled.
Binoche plays a great actor, and a great actor can not exist in a vacuum.  She must be a part of the world, a part of a relationship, to authentically portray an experience and a connection.

Each woman verifies the other, and informs her stability. But the relationship is not equally distributed, for there is still a vital tension at the center of it, the desire for youth and for new knowledge with the yearning for wisdom, wealth and experience.
Assayas' film refuses to be a straight art film that doubles as modernist vampire genre film as much as it refuses to be straight "making of a film"..film.  You could not quite call it a female melodrama either, though it beautifully takes many of the melodrama's elements and runs with them.  There is a symbiotic union, struggle and replacement of the Image, (with the female icon as image) and there is also a story of money , sex , seduction (on multiple tiers, be it the seduction of friendship and of Moretz with her author boyfriend) and duplicity.
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is really all of these things, and all of them at once.  It is elusive and rich; the mirroring of any image is more of a collection of  shards of  glass. The movie is dense, yet
quiet in it's construction.

The relationship  fulfills a vital need for both women, but when one disappears, is it because her need has been surpassed? Her role replaced...or is  her position and its inherent tension stifled?



The bottom line is that this film encompasses everything that interests me most about Assayas.
It has elements of the Vampire film genre that is an aspect of the corporate take over and female character immolation in DEMONLOVERCLOUDS echoes IRMA VEP in its self reflexivity of actresses as well as the way it nods to other films (Assayas' own SUMMER HOURS , BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, GERRY.)  Much is being acted out here. The single film Assayas has made encompasses at least four themes and genres he has previously explored, yet all coexist coherently. Like in Gus Van Sant's GERRY,  the film image and structure itself is forefront and death is on the horizon.  In the last quarter of the movie, one of the main women vanishes from the storyline, and she may have also dropped off a cliff in the Alps. She is not brought up again,  image surpassing image until one fades away, too far to see, without further mention.

                            

Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence
spirit interrupts

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea managing the business

l'Interieur

l'Interieur
cutting through the walls