Still adore and at random think about the way Sylvia (Chiara Mastroianni) says “Angela Bassett”…which is more like, “Ann-Gé-lah Bah-ssette” when ribbing about Faunia’s (Emmanuelle Devos) butt in Arnaud Desplechin’s Un conte de Noël.
While this realization was a glaring one, so glaring that I wouldn’t even call it a realization, but more of a baiting thought, it still interrupted my attention during a recent press screening. I was suddenly gripped by the idea that this film I was watching was not yet “out,” and that its release was in a month from now, perhaps even longer depending on what city you live in. My response was an elaborate one—I trailed for a good two minutes and thought about this overt truth while a character on screen was being drowned in the ocean—and I even considered why this was a new notion for me, (a charley horse!) considering how many press screenings I’ve attended, and how I’ve never stopped to realize that I’m seeing something that hasn’t yet wallpapered the city with posters and late night TV with two-minute clips. Nobody knows about this yet ‘(although many do of course) was a very palpable feeling I had. Nobody is talking about this yet was a very surreal, almost cumulative and overwhelming thought. I didn’t know, and still do not know what to do with why this meant something to me during that particular screening. Perhaps it was the violence on screen that I wasn’t prepared for? Or how highly-stylized the whole affair was? Those two attributes can really make a movie pulse, without aligning with your own. But there’s still something very itchy and unresolved at work. I’ve bought the book the movie is based on because I’m hoping it will iron out some kinks (related to plot) but also iron out that side of me uncomfortable (for now) with having seen something before it really happens.
In some ways, the time-lapse sequence animating the construction of the Transamerica Pyramid in Fincher’s Zodiac mimics his tilt-shift miniature faking of the Henley Royal Regatta in The Social Network. Both scenes warp time—speeding it up while simultaneously pausing narrative—and exercise a different set of muscles that diverge from but still restore each film’s tone. A pair of showy mini-intermissions from Gyllenhaal’s buggy eyes and Eisenberg’s irreverance.
The unexpected doses of humour that appear in Sophie Fiennes portrait of Anselm Kiefer, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, are somewhat miraculous in that, without them, we might—much like the camera’s hypnotic travel shots through a series of tunnels and sculptures—experience the film at a distance, as if held under a spell. But with these sparks of funny—the interactions between Kiefer and his assistants, in particular the silent and hardworking, Alain—we become bound to it as a narrative. One laugh and we are a little more involved, and we are no longer staring at the way light catches the heads of those sitting in rows ahead of us. Humour, especially in a documentary like this one, builds stamina.
That distinctly teenage “August” body language, as summer ends and as school nears, as she rides the subway mid morning with her mother, presumably on the way to a dentist or doctor’s appointment, or first gynecologist appointment, as she plays with her phone or opens and closes the snap on her purse, or keeps re-listening to the same song on her ipod that she might as well have put on “repeat” but like most things these days, she needs to effect manually, on her own and with willful purpose. She sits a bit slouched as her mother sits a bit too upright. She might occasionally fix a strand of hair, or pull at the sides of her ribbed tank top, or tuck her legs under the seat—the soles of her worn out summer flats thinned and weary. But never once does she look at her mother, never once does she look at anyone except for women in their twenties or maybe younger—by the end of summer, ages seem harder to distinguish; girls have learned a thing or two, and tanned skin is a tricky disguise, and dresses can age you, and haircuts have grown out.
Still thinking about a conversation I had with an old friend a couple weeks ago when I was home. He told me some stories as we walked around my neighborhood, past my elementary school, past a house I once deemed my “dream house,” past a few old buildings now gone, past friends of friends’ homes —that strange degree of separation (the most glaring during adolescence) where you might have memorized a family’s car, porch, seasonal trimmings, while also knowing details of their lives, and yet, having never officially met.
Some of the stories he told me as we walked were anecdotes that I didn’t really pursue, but that had distinct images or sounds. The sort of stuff that sticks in my mind for no clear or pressing reason—like a fallen acorn I might have pocketed and brought home with me as a kid, for no clear or pressing reason. Here are a few of those images:
- A story about his best friend, Greg, who despite having brown hair, has a red beard. Last summer, my friend got Greg a job painting inground swimming pools, and no matter what time of day or how many showers later, all summer, Greg had specks of blue paint in his red beard.
- A preview of the rest of my friend’s summer. His girlfriend and him have bought a van and will be driving and surfing down the west coast. The way my friend said he was “fixing it up for her,” when talking about her surf board, was romantic in an everyday way. Other people’s romance and romantic gestures can be so incredibly alien and private, despite love and the way people love, being what interests me most.
- A mutual friend of ours, who was actually my prom date, his family owns, (or I guess owned,) a lavender field that sadly, was burned in a fire. I haven’t stopped thinking about all that lavender…burning.