Daily Archives: August 19, 2012

Your Sister’s Sister by Lynn Shelton (2011)

Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt play half sisters (Iris and Hannah) and Mark Duplass is the guy who stands between them (Jack).

The story is so twisted that it surely is taken from life, as had it been written for a film it would not sound credible (I’m not wrong, am I?). Jack’s brother Tom used to be involved with Iris, but he died. Therefore (skewed logic somehow?) Jack fell in love with Iris (Emily Blunt). Given he never told her, they are just friends and she sends him off to her father’s house on a deserted island for him to seek solitude. Obviously she is also in love with him. And unbeknowingly to her, the sis is there as well. The guy and the sis spend the night together, the next morning Iris appears and it turns out the big sister is a lesbian, but she wanted to get pregnant.

Should I go on?

OK, jokes aside – the above scenario is so absurd that I am not sure what to focus on. Maybe let’s try the genre?

Is it a social drama? Buddy movie? Comedy? Woody Allenesque comedy of errors? Hardly any of the mentioned I’m afraid. Maybe a rom com? It seems not kitchy enough.

It seems to be a film created in a parallel system to the mainstream or non-mainstream American cinema. It is a third dimension somehow.

Great lighting, cinematography, awkward costume design, realistic interior design.

Convincing acting – apparently a lot of it was improvised and unscripted.

The situations depicted are annoying to the extent I would like to interact with the characters and try to persuade them to behave a bit more reasonably. I hated this film to the extent of laughing at the dialogues – but perhaps that was a reflexive reaction proving how dangerously close to life Shelton brought the situations? In real life we don’t talk to other people, to those closest to us, least about our emotions, about how we feel, what we feel, right?

I feel I could live without having watched this film. But perhaps it would help some couples who hide their feelings from themselves to go watch it and undergo some sort of communicative catharsis? Not sure.

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Filed under 2012 cinema releases, film reviews

Rebel Without a Cause by Nicholas Ray (1955)

Some films are called classic masterpieces for a reason. And this is one of such films.

Watching this film is emotionally exhausting. And not because the plot reminded me of my youthful times or life as a gang member. I was never a gang member if anyone cares to ask. The most powerful notion was that it felt like watching myself being 17 again and re-living my first fascination and closeness with another person my age. Of course we had our issues with ‘the folks’ as do all the three youngsters in this film. Perhaps not that extreme and perhaps we did not end up meeting for the first time at the juvenile retention, but still – the emotional phenomenon of discovering who we really are and who we want to be seems to universally transcribe  throughout decades.

James Dean, although he is 24 and plays a 17-year old (and looks a contemporary 32-year old),  carries through the magic and power of how it is to be on the verge of becoming one’s true self. He walks, moves, looks like my 17-year old counterparts back in my day. The red jacket he’s wearing (apparently the costume decision was made once it turned out the film will be shot in colour) works like a magnet and forces us to closely watch him and rarely do our eyes turn away. This is a film that needs to be watched with 100% attention as there are so many details crucial to the story, shown rather than described. Shown rather than told.

Also, Jim Stark reminded me of someone and I only realised it late into the film – my first boyfriend back at high school, even though he does not look like James Dean at all. That’s what I’m talking about. The energy, the emotions, the question marks, the will to no longer be in this place and the realisation that when you’re 17, you really are alone with your issues and surprisingly it is your first boyfriend/girlfriend who will become your ally. Not your parents anymore.

There were other films made later touching upon the same notes of coming of age but so far I haven’t seen a more successful one.

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Filed under Catching Up, Cult Classics, film reviews