LISTENING

I watched Under The Skin (Glazer, 2013), the film about a mysterious woman kidnapping men in Scotland. The film was interesting and a bit too slow and cerebral for me, but the reason I continued watching the film was entirely because of the score, which is the most inventive score I’ve heard in years, from Mica Levi.

“Love” and “Lips to Void” are my two favorites, but this week I just listened to the whole soundtrack on shuffle repeat for hours. It’s good background music for any activity – writing lesson plans, cooking, luring men into a black tar-like substance that transports them across galaxies.

I’d heard some Mica Levi songs via her indie pop band Micachu and the Shapes, specifically songs like “Golden Phone” and “Low Dogg,” but this score is obviously much different from those. Overall, Mica Levi seems like an awesomely original musician. Check out the New Yorker piece on her that came out during Oscar season (her score for Jackie was nominated but lost to La La Land).

WATCHING

I recently binge-rented $0.99 Pedro Almodovar films from the iTunes store, so I’m going to talk about them here. The films are: Pepi, Luci, y Bom y Otras Chicas Del Montón (Pepi, Luci, and Bom and Other Girls Like Mom) (1980); Labyrinth of Passion (1982); Matador (1986); Law of Desire (1987); Bad Education (2004); The Skin I Live In (2011); I’m So Excited (2013).

There are three similarities I feel I should point out across all the Almodovar films in this series:

1. Someone is always raped. Even in the light-hearted ensemble comedy film I’m So Excited someone has sex with someone else who is unconscious and this is played off as funny (because she’s a virgin who final has sex by having sex with a man in economy class who’s been drugged to stay pacified on a trans-Atlantic flight). In Pepi, Luci, y Bom the rape is the inciting incident and also a complete caricature that feels so tone-deaf to watch.

2. Occam’s Razor states the simplest explanation for an occurrence is the most likely. I feel we should create a film theory called Almodovar’s Razor in which the most ridiculous of all possible outcomes of a film is the outcome. This is especially true in The Skin I Live In. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but if halfway through the film you think “it couldn’t possible be that, could it?!” It is.

3. Antonio Banderas is hot, even when he’s old and even when he is mentally unstable.

My favorite of these films was oddly Labyrinth of Passion. It’s an ensemble film featuring a wide cast of characters and intersecting plots. At first the threads of the narrative seem disjointed, but as they come together it becomes really engaging. Plus Pedro Almodovar makes a cameo and sings a punk rock song! I would encourage every weirdo to check out early Almodovar because he gives me hope that you’re first film can be incredibly ridiculous and shitty and eventually you can make a Volver.

READING

Nothing! I was too busy binge-watching my Almodovar films before my rentals expired!

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