Barbara Palvin for Black Magazine No.22
A sly, slinky creeper set in an imaginary Iranian underworld — appropriately realized in glistening black and white — U.S.-based writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s auspicious debut feature spices its genre stew with elements of Lynchian neo-noir and even spaghetti Western, but the film’s pointed, contemporary gender politics are very much its own. Even allowing for the recent cultural ubiquity of fang fiction, “Girl” is too arch and deliberate to cross over in the manner of “Let the Right One In,” but will continue to draw blood on the festival circuit.
Film Comment: Interview: Ana Lily Amirpour
The cat in this film is an exceptional actor. I remember you talking about it at your Q&A at Sundance.
The cat is a gangster! The gangster star in the movie. I was so worried that this was going to be the hardest part. It was Sina’s cat, my producer. Really early on I was auditioning other cats, and he was like, why don’t you give my cat a shot? And I was like, he’s too fat, he’s not right, he’s not good-looking enough. And then I met him and he was really good, so calm, so chill—he behaves like a dog almost. And then we did some tests and I thought, OK, he’s the cat, but then he was just beyond. In some scenes he would just be like: “No, no, this is what we’re doing.” He was always awesome, always doing something special. He had great ideas. It’s so weird to say that. He’d just be like: “No coverage, no cutting, one shot, let’s just do it like this.”
Born in England, Amirpour moved with her family to Miami when she was young. “I watched the making of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video thousands of times,” she says. “It taught me how to be an American.” The family settled in Bakersfield, where Amirpour made shorts, like a slumber party slasher pic, on her dad’s Sony Sport Hi-8 camera. She went to college as a biology major but dropped out, snowboarding for a summer before going to art school in San Francisco and film school at University of California-Los Angeles. She signed early with Hollywood agents and managers, but it was while in Germany, making a short for the Berlinale Talent Campus, that she decided to stop playing the studio game. “I ended not making those [Hollywood] films, and I am so glad. They were not my pure soul matter. In Germany, I got to sit and think about the shit that I love. I thought, I’m going to write something where everything people say and do turns me on.” In less than a year she was through production. “I feel like you have to get your own ball rolling, fast and hard, until it’s this undeniable giant boulder rolling down the hill,” she says.
Opaline is the new collaboration between director and producer, Roger Spy, leading hairstylist Johanna Cree Brown and prize winning makeup artist, Joseph Harwood. The 2 minute stylised beauty piece is the result of an ongoing study into the reflection of light upon human hair and the emerging aesthetics. Shot in high definition, starring models Valerie Van der Graaf and Dioni Tabbers, the video is enhanced by rich graphics and soft focus, filmic 60's new wave psychedelia liquid lights, that bathe our flower power girls as they innocently gyrate in slow motion to Yoko Ono’s seminal tune, “You and I”. Its looped chorus, 'Just turned nine, we’re both fine You and I, You and I' …creating the perfect pink sunrise, bubble narrative for a snappy yet immersive trip into Spy, Brown and Harwood’s dreamy retro-futuristic world right up until the final credits.
Looks amazing, by first time director A.J. Edwards.
Update: Looking at Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews are not good.
At an isolated log cabin in the harsh wilderness of Indiana circa 1817, the rhythms of love, tragedy, and the daily hardships of life on the developing frontier shaped one of our nation’s greatest heroes: Abraham Lincoln. Using glorious black and white cinematography to conjure an America where the land was raw, The Better Angels sheds new light on the formative years of the future president and the two women who molded him into one of the most revered men in American history. Based on 19th-century interviews with Lincoln's family members, The Better Angels is a beautiful, insightful, and brilliantly composed feature debut from producer Terrence Malick's longtime protégé, A.J. Edwards.
To coincide with the launch of GarageMag.com, we got video wunderkind Ricky Saiz together with a gang of our favorite GARAGE Girls in – where else? – a garage. Clad in Calvin Klein and searing attitude, they take us on an access-all-areas tour of their workshop. Motors run, sweat and grime pervades, cars and bodies get washed. Grease monkeys never looked so sexy.
Tyrone Lebon has released a new documentary called ‘Reely and Truly’. The 30-minute film is a visual poem on contemporary photographers and their practices. Lebon’s intention is for the film to be a photographic object in itself. It is shot on all available celluloid formats (including 65mm, 35mm, super 16mm, 16mm, and super 8mm). The film has a free structure with an unconventional narrative, taking on the form of a visual poem.
Featuring DoBeDo contributors such as Mark Lebon, Dick Jewell, Jason Evans, Nigel Shafran, and Charchakaj Waikawee, as well as Juergen Teller, Jack Webb, Sean Vegezzi, Fumiko Imano, Lina Scheynius, Nobuyoshi Araki, Takashi Homma, Ari Marcopoulos, Jill Freedman, Nick Sethi, Asger Carlsen, Arne Svenson, Petra Collins, Tim Barber, Renee Cox, Mario Sorrenti, and Lele Saveri.
The film is part of the ongoing ‘Reely and Truly’ project which will culminate in a book of photographs, texts and films about the practice of over 30 contemporary photographers to be published by DoBeDo in 2015. The 30 minute film is an extended trailer for that project.