GOSH! is a Chicago band I heard play live at The Mill in Iowa City last Sunday. They’re a guitar (with numerous pedals), bass, and a stripped down drum kit (just floor tom and snare). I dug their slow, gritty, noise pop. As such, I’ve been listening to their self-titled 2015 release on Bandcamp a lot this week. My favorite track, and a song I would totally use in a film if I made a film wherein the content were about love: “Blows My Mind”. They have a show in Chicago on November 2nd I would TOTALLY go to, but alas, I have already bought tickets to another show that night. TOO MANY SHOWS. LIVE MUSIC YAY!
BINGEING #52FilmsByWomen. I won’t make it to the new year but considering I started this quest in like August, I’m going to give myself until next August to actual finish watching #52FilmsByWomen. I don’t think it’ll be hard as there are so many in my queue right now!
Anyway, this week I watched A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Amirpour, 2014), Fish Tank (Arnold, 2009), and Breathe (Laurent, 2014). A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Fish Tank have been on my list for a while and frankly I don’t know why it took me this long.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was just beautiful with it’s vampire spaghetti western mise-en-scene. The black and white. The claustrophobic framing. It feels David Lynchian. Dream-like. Unsettling. There’s very little dialogue (I like dialogue so… when I like a film with little dialogue it’s pretty good in my book) and the beats sometimes felt muttled, but honestly you could just watch it for the visuals and it would be worth your time. My favorite scene is when The Girl takes Arash home with her because he’s tripping on drugs and there’s it’s this lovely scene where they connect emotionally.
Fish Tank was also amazing. The premise is a teenager has sexual tension with her absentee mom’s new boyfriend, played by Michael “Adonis” Fassbender. Given this often-done premise, it was still thoroughly compelling, most likely because of the script (also by Arnold) and the realistic performances. I appreciated the fact that Michael Fassbender’s character is not entirely creepy. Obviously he is somewhat creepy, but this premise has been done so many times and this is the only portrayal where I wasn’t repulsed.
Breathe popped up on my Netflix as something I’d be interested in and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had no idea Melanie Laurent (Shoshana in Inglourious Basterds [Tarantino, 2009]) was a director and that her films are great (granted I’ve only seen this one). It’s about a girl who’s parents are in an unhealthy relationship and she enters into a toxic friendship with a new girl at school. The film has some amazing performances by the lead actresses and some beautiful shots. It is gripping until the final frames. Check it out.
Watching these films was great. I especially enjoyed learning a little bit about the processes of directors Amirpour and Arnold. I watched a VICE interview with Amirpour and actress Sheila Vand and it was cool to see Amirpour’s philosophies on filmmaking and how the final product comes together. With regards to Fish Tank, I was surprised to hear how Arnold’s casting director found the main teen actress on a train platform when she was having a fight with her boyfriend. A similar thing happened with the casting of the lead actress in American Honey (Arnold, 2016).
I’m looking forward to being back in Chicago as well because there are movies in theatres right now that have not made it to Iowa City. I plan to have a movie theatre day in which I stay in the movie theatre and watch: Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016), Certain Women (Reichardt, 2016), and The Handmaiden (Park, 2016).