Posts Tagged ‘coming of age’

Love In Thoughts/ Wäs Nützt die Liebe in Gedanken (von Borries, 2004. DE)

The defining image of Love In Thoughts is that of  a butterfly delicately balancing on the trigger guard of a cocked revolver. “Dear Universe,” writes our protagonist and thus begins a hazy elegy to youth and summer and a maligned land, suspended in a historically condemned time, where it is easy to forget young people who played no part in the last war and had not yet anticipated the next. Young people who must still come of age, regardless of politics, where the wealthy and the privileged still occupied unsullied, beautiful spaces.

This film is a visual poem, a dreamy recollection of a bygone age, in a land caught like a fly in amber. The written poetry, which weaves throughout-binding together snapshots, clearly loses something in translation, but the point is still clear- what is the value of a life lived in ideas?

Noble theories and poetic notions have their place, but they are a dream and the poet is a sleepwalker.

The delicate balance between the thoughts and actions of impetuous, idealistic youth mirrors the wider situation in Europe- precarious equilibrium; before the full might of the Soviets is reached, before a resentful Germany is sunk into a crippling depression. (more…)

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Welcome To the Dollhouse (wpd. Solondz, 1995. US)

I love this film.

Some people think it’s harsh, but it’s funny because it’s true. Many of us know that ‘fly buzzing against a window’ sensation; the endless procession of tiny humiliations and defeats that was senior school (or Junior High, or whatever your national equivalent is for thirteen year olds.) From the ironic, lingering zoom in to the idealised, patriarchal American family portrait, to our first view of Dawn in an almost mesmerising tracking shot of her long walk through the school cafeteria in search of a seat, and the irrational abuse thrown at her by even the other bullied misfits, to culmination in the awful, jangling discordance of her brother’s band scoring the cutesy Americana of their sister’s ‘ballet’; every moment of the first five minutes of Dollhouse proclaims everything you need to know about Dawn Weiner’s life and Todd Solondz’s world view. This is no testimony for the nuclear family and a Middle American childhood.

Shit happens. He says. Mainly to you. Live with it. The rhythms of editing in Dollhouse are as important as the actors’ comic timing. Though Heather Matarazzo’s perpetually bemused, bespectacled mouth breather does chip in at the opportune moment almost every time.

Dawn’s ongoing battle with her parents and her obnoxious siblings will strike a chord with anyone who has a) a family b) a bit of pragmatism. (more…)

Disco Pigs: (Sheridan, 2001. ROI)

****Some spoilers****

I saw DiscoElaine Cassidy and Cillian Murphy in Disco Pigs Pigs on video many years ago, sourced at great length from the depths of my county library service, and I liked it but I was a little bewildered by some of the actions and motivations of the characters.  After not thinking about it for eons I was recently making a list of British and Irish films to blog about and this little flick came to mind. I was wondering how to track it down  when utterly coincidentally I was staying over at a house blessed with Freeview [that’s digital/cable type channels not available on terrestrial television- for overseas readers] and chanced upon it on Film4 at some unsociable hour. With the wisdom and emotional maturity that come with great age, it made far more sense this time round and my intervening Film Studies training meant I could appreciate the form far more.  I think this is a film people should see in adolescence and again in early adulthood; it’ll probably tell you something about yourself, or at least about your evolving understanding of people and the great intensity of youthful emotion.

Disco Pigs was written by Enda Walsh, based on her play of the same name and is a two-hander featuring my two favourite Irish actors, Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy, (two of the Emerald Isle’s most bankable big screen exports, both of whom have transcended the Republic since, for better or worse) in their fresh faced days. Last seen in The Dark Knight and US horror serial Harper’s Island respectively, Murphy gets a dress rehearsal for his schtick as the intense and introverted Irish rake here, at his leanest and most wired- full of adolescent energy, while Cassidy does that distant wistful-yet-mischievous thing she does best. (more…)