Independent filmmaking has always been the driving force behind new cinematic boundaries, and the up-and-coming filmmakers of today are no different. Interdisciplinary short-film series ‘Draping’ focuses on the under-examined subject of black femme identities and centres the voices of these identities in its examination of a myriad of complex issues – ranging from mental health, to queerness, to colorism, spirituality and motherhood.
We’ve been lucky enough to interview co-creators Kennedie King and Tiffany Ike and took the opportunity to ask them a few questions about their inspiration, the process of film-making on a micro-budget, and the necessity of black female voices in the media.
On the surface, you’ve definitely seen stories similar to You Were Never Really Here before. It follows Joe, an ex-veteran/FBI agent turned vigilante hero. His stoic masculine character trope has been explored in genre thrillers of this kind, such as Drive and most comparatively to Taxi Driver. The former a tired, male fantasy with regressive messages of masculinity and chivalric romance, the latter being an interesting study of masculinity, the main character played by De Niro going on a path to self-destruction to cope with his isolation. These movies both show a celebratory and a critical side to a masculine hero, perspectives both painted by white male directors.
What makes You Were Never Really Here a valuable addition to this canon of masculine genre thrillers, is that it becomes a character study to reveal a new kind of masculinity offered by a female director (Lynne Ramsay) that these previously mentioned films do not offer. But rather than showing a toxic male character on screen and showing his path of destruction like Scorsese did, Ramsay shows a new kind of masculine character under her own perspective. Portrayed with a career best performance by Joaquin Phoenix, Joe is a unique character to this genre because while he rescues girls sold off in human trafficking through methods of violence, but he doesn’t revel or indulge in violence. Joe suffers with a life of trauma and seeks heroism to cope with his psychological wounds, and learns what greater responsibility means through his experiences.
This essay is by our guest writer, Maddy Lovelace.
It is evident in the way Elio Perlman’s entire psyche is altered by mature graduate student Oliver within the summer of 1983 that there is a new funk hidden in this archetype we’ve seen before, possibly a homage to film in previous times that mirrored life and love and sensuality. Director of 2017’s Call me by your name Luca Guadagnino’s direct view of these themes can be attributed to similar work such as James Ivory’s 1987 film Maurice, revealing just how impactful an insightful reception of a cinematic journey can be upon a wandering eye. There is a direct link between the lovers in the two films, how they carry their heavy consciousness regarding love around like a summer coat. Coming of age continues to carry this magnified burden of life through the generations, consequently allowing itself to unfold through emerging artist’s diverse and retrospective lenses. In Guadagnino’s usage of Elio’s ambiguous yet direct understanding of his sexuality, he plays to this new medium that audiences of cinema have come to love because they parallel the undertones of the self that linger within the events at hand. Elio is not shocked by the way his love for Oliver takes place so hauntingly because he knew, as audiences come to feel in the film’s soft essence, Elio knows of his truth long before Oliver arrives. Oliver in this sense serves as the catalyst for Elio’s subconscious desires that have been there since the beginning yet remained dormant. Guadagnino captures the fire and flame of Coming of age cinema in his perceptive parallelism to reality. Could this be the new standard for films based on
a shifting point in life?
Approximately seven months ago, I started off this blog with a list of lesbian rom-com recommendations. At that point, myself and Dilara had no idea how far Much Ado could go; for all intents and purposes, this blog would be a place where we could occasionally throw written work, the odd opinion piece, or a review that required a platform slightly more formal than letterboxd.
Nine regular writers, twelve guest writers, 136 posts, 2700 twitter followers, and ten festivals later, Much Ado About Cinema has become a space where young developing critics can hone their skills and produce content for a new generation of film fans. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to do a follow-up post to my very first article – a continued vent about the wonder of the lesbian romcom. These five films may be slightly rough around the edges, with some even veering into cringeworthy territory, but they all provide the kind of gay warm fuzzies that every queer woman deserves.
Show Me Love/Fucking Åmål (1998)
Potentially more of a romantic drama than a true romantic comedy, ‘Show Me Love’ provides an insightful tale of teen love that will resonate with any lesbian who crushed on the popular girl in high school. Agnes is a depressed, closeted sixteen-year-old with a passionate love for Elin, an outgoing but bratty teen. Both girls are unhappy with their lives in different ways; Agnes is lonely and stuck in the juvenile social class of “weirdo outcast”, whilst Elin is bored with her seemingly perfect life. After a cruel kiss on a dare, Elin becomes intrigued by Agnes, and their mismatched romance flourishes through the peaks and troughs of adolescent life.
This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and it’s bound to be a thrilling two weeks in lower Manhattan. With a variety of events and screenings, Tribeca stands out as a festival that explores different types of filmmaking, especially in its inclusion of virtual reality. In light of the Me Too movement, the festival is also hosting a Time’s Up event to further the conversation about sexual harassment in Hollywood, though the festival seems to be taking initiative in including women in film with the many films by female-filmmakers featured in the line-up. This year’s festival looks to be a phenomenal one, so here are a few recommendations.
Despite the rise of LGBTQ+ films in recent years, films that revolve around young lesbians remain hard one to come by. This is why Desiree Akhavan’s second feature “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” has been one of the films I was most excited to see this year after it premiered at Sundance, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It’s a film that perfectly balances comedy and drama; it is funny without being incongruous and is tragic without being exploitative.
Jennifer Lawrence, the Hollywood sweetheart of this decade, is stumbling. Not in her performances, let’s be clear—Ms. Jennifer has proven herself time and time again to be a formidable actress—yet her choice in movies has led her down a path of box office disappointments and critical flops. To put the star’s recent struggles in perspective, let’s consider one of her films that’s so bad, and was so quickly buried, barely anyone has seen it. Before there was Red Sparrow, mother! and Passengers, there was Serena.
The little-known 2014 film—which stars Lawrence alongside permanent love interest Bradley Cooper—barely made it to distribution, pulling box office earnings of under half a million dollars worldwide. How could a movie starring two A-listers, one at the peak of their it-girl moment, go so wrong?
In all fairness, Serena starts off just fine. As one might expect of a Depression-era period piece about the North Carolina timber industry—if ever there were such a genre—the film begins with the camera lovingly gliding over wooded, misty mountains. The landscape is beautiful, even breathtakingly so, and has an eeriness and personality to it that gestures towards drama to come. How exciting! Perhaps the opening credits seem like could have been produced on iMovie, but that’s part of the charm, right?