Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Amelie in Isolation

Amelie exists in the same universe as Enid Coleslaw and Lux Lisbon, the celluloid secret of teenage girls. There's an identi-kit isolation of watching these same movies, in the same suburban homes, intrinsically connected but utterly alone.  

It is a barrel fish target of a movie, it has a Wes Anderson level appreciation for yellow (and consequently a Wes level of whiteness) there are bicycles and garden gnomes and Parisian music. It's corny. It's twee. It's cliche. It's saccharine. Or maybe it isn't any of those things. And these are just the words painted over  the pleasure of any mass media that makes teenage girls happy. Maybe. 

Or maybe cliche is not the question and these simultaneous (but solitary viewings) reflect a broader issue of mass alienation, expressed in minor engagements with a mass media that appears marginal only because you don't have any friends to watch it with. 

A model of viewership that like the girl in the painting is both "in the middle" and "outside".

Because this is a lonely movie:

-Chick Flicks: Contemporary Women at the Movies

And whilst Amelie fills her empty space space with fantasy stories and impossible missions we fill ours with her, pieced together with carefully curated screenshots and handwritten movie quotes. 

'I hate those girls who want to be Amelie' says a girl in my class.
She thinks I am too 'smart' to be lost in such a world but Amelie is as dear to me as the Virgin Suicides and as intrinsic to my survival as Matilda. It taught me to find the bright corners in my seemingly sad, small secondary school life. It introduced me to joy.

As long as times are hard for dreamers young women will need films like Amelie, in all their technicolour unsubtleties, and young men (and sadly young women too), in turn, will need to make fun of them. In short:

"In such a dead world Amelie prefers to dream."

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Driving in cars from boys

"Someday our youth will be tiny, distant flags
behind us (it is hard to picture this,
but try), and we will tell our sons and daughters
that when the world is too big, and everyone
just wants to be larger than life, it helps
to feel little again."

It Follows isn't a film about sex it's a film about suburbia. 

(Sex is just a vehicle like a second hand car or a pair of pink underwear to get you from a to b after all)

Time hurts. Ghosts and time travellers chase me slowly and it is cruel that embarrassment still packs a punch when coupled with post traumatic stress disorder. And there is something deeply suburban to childhood sexual abuse, which in turn is deeply 90s, all those contained spaces...shopping malls belong to that decade too. 

It Follows is a cinematic study of where the suburbs end and cities begin, of the impossibility of escape from the window watching and spot picking psychosis induced by the absent minded parent to child transformation, the lazy river of adolescence. (Waiting, waiting for the miracle to come but everyone's gone to the rapture without me).

This is the wish for grown-upness gone wrong that slides so stickily into the inevitable inverted terror of the previously so elusive but eventually accomplished escape. Escape is not necessarily the same as freedom and driving in cars with boys (from boys?) can be horrific as well as euphoric. Or rather it can be both simultaneously. Carrie did it, Lux did, we did it, you remember right?