Thursday, 19 May 2005

shallow clothes-related movie review

The film we saw at Cinematheque on Wednesday, Eric Rohmer's Full Moon in Paris is a really terrific thing, fun and clever and original, and if you ever get a chance to see it, take that chance up, especially if (like me) you're a fan of the movies of Whit Stillman. Naturally, there is a heap of thoughtful and insightful criticism and analysis of Rohmer's movie published already. But here's the thing: none of it addresses one of its more immediate virtues, which is the fact that the movie is a mid-1980s fashion textbook/time capsule of unequalled resplendence. I've never seen anything that even comes close. Not even Pretty in Pink.

Selected highlights:

* The protagonist, Louise, does her hair with the largest fluffiest quiff ever constructed, sometimes finished off with a grey chiffon scarf tied in a big floppy bow. Think Thompson Twins / Boy George. She goes off to work wearing a baggy, shoulder-padded mohair duffle coat and a hot-pink scarf. Under this is a sort of black jumpsuit / tracksuit that has an elastic waist, baggy tapered short legs, and a zip front. She wears converse sneakers with this get-up.

* When relaxing about the house, Louise's preferred wear is tight grey marle leggings, a yellow dropped shoulder cropped t-shirt, a charcoal grey cropped off-the-shoulder cardigan, matched with the all-important yellow fluffy hair bow and the cut-down black sandshoes.

* For a party one evening, Louise changes into a tight black dress of which the shoulder straps are two metal zippers. At the party is her friend Camille, who is wearing a lime green velvet asymetrical toga-type arrangement, to match her asymetrically bobbed hair. There are lots of people doing fantastic 80s dancing which I won't even try to describe, just rent the movie for chrissakes. At another party, wearing her "Addicted to Love" black minidress, Louise hooks up with a boy who looks like he stepped straight out of the Uncanny X-Men: he wears a sleeveless pink t-shirt, rag round the neck, high-waisted stonewashed jeans (with Winfield Reds poking out the front pocket), and skin-coloured fingerless gloves. This dear fellow has Warwick Capper hair. Oh, the humanity.

Louise redecorates her Paris apartment: like the true 80s woman she is, everything gets painted various shades of grey, except the white truncated corinthian column in the corner atop which rests a neon light in the shape of a lady in a cocktail hat. All the furniture is draped in grey blankets to make it more sophisticatedly grey. Beside her bed, which has a black doona cover with little white squiggles, there is a tray with a black & white checkerboard pattern, a fluoro pink alarm clock, and a funny-shaped aluminium lamp. There is also a blue steel lunchbox where Louise keeps her cassette tape collection.

Louise in fact is the undisputed queen of funny neon lighting, later in the movie she shows Camille a lamp she made herself which consists of: yellow enamel base, long twisted neon tube, red and blue strips of metal, triangular bit of mirror. She shows it to Camille because C. brought her, as a gift, a bunch of Memphis catalogues. Hipsters!

I give it two most enthusiastic thumbs up.


ben said...

Nice blog you got here;)

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Um, no pressure or anything, but no Friday statue? Fyodor

P.S. you have excellent taste in movies. Loved Metropolitan and Last Days. Barcelona I wasn't so crazy about.

Lucy Tartan said...

hey Fyodor, I have a statue lined up but I just got home. Give me a few minutes to calm down :)

Lucy Tartan said...

And yeah, Barcelona I don't think I'd have looked at twice if it wasn't sort of bundled with the other two. Stillman's meant to be working on a Jane Austen adaptation at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Stillman? Austen? Curiouser and curiouser...

*disappears into the ether*
*apparates 'midst a cloud of sulphur*

A very ambitious project:

[scroll down to the news section]

The choice of project doesn't surprise me. It seemed to me there were significant elements of Austen in Metropolitan and Last Days, particularly the tendency of young women of feeling to fall for deceitful cads & bounders.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll follow Stillman's progress. F.