Sally Potter, UK, 2009
It’s got mediocre reviews, but I really liked this. I thought it was an excellent piece of original drama.
A schoolboy in NYC is spending a week at a fashion house, interviewing the characters and apparently posting them online. For the time it was made (pre-Instagram!), it’s remarkably prescient. Everyone is totally image obsessed.
The story is told mostly in monologues, with action unfolding offscreen in sound effects and the reaction of the characters. Interviewees talk to camera against a single-coloured backdrop, answering unheard questions from the unseen Michelangelo, the work experience kid who records a crazy week in the life of the business and ends up being a key part of what happens.
So with nothing else to hold our attention than a person talking, the characters have to be strong, the acting really good, and the dialogue well-written. And it all was. For me, it’s why it counts more as pure drama, perhaps, than cinema (although it would be impressive on a big screen). I particularly loved Jude Law’s faux-Russian cross-dressing model/darling ‘Minx’. I didn’t even recognise him at first. Steve Buschemi can do no wrong. Lily Cole looks like a china doll.
Other home cinema viewings in this ‘confinement’ (the term reminds me of unmarried mothers-to-be, hidden away during their pregnancy to avoid social shame) include Lynne Ramsey’s We Need To Talk About Kevin (powerful), Vincent Price as The Last Man on Earth in Magic Lantern Film Club’s simultaneous YouTube screening, and a Saturday matinee of Fritz Lang’s 1952 Clash by Night, which started off well but just became an uninteresting relationship melodrama.