lunedì 15 luglio 2013

Frances Ha

I am crazy about movies quoting other movies.
Because I feel the joy of having found soul mates, people who go through their lives constantly thinking about cinema, talking about cinema, making cinema referring to other cinema. Basically, cinema freaks like me, who can’t conceive life without the filter of movies.
When I watch films made by people like this, I feel like they’re telling me: Hey you, welcome home!
It doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen.
It is something I have constantly felt looking at the last Noah Baumbach’s movie, Frances Ha, written by him and by the main actress of the film, Greta Gerwig

The two, who already worked together in the previous Baumbach's movie, Greenberg,
are now a couple à la ville.
Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and Frances (Greta Gerwig)
Frances Ha tells the story of Frances, a 27 years old girl who lives in Brooklyn together with her best friend, Sophie. While Sophie works for a publishing house, Frances has a precarious job: she is an apprentice dancer who dreams to integrate a dancing company but always fails at it. When Sophie announces to her that she is moving to Manhattan with another friend, Frances's world starts progressively to collapse. She looses the apartment, the job and, after a monumental fight, also her best friend. It will take time, to Frances, to put together all the pieces that will bring her to become Frances Ha.
New York filmed in black and white: it is so Manhattanesque that you almost believe to have heard a Gershwin music somewhere, but instead, quite surprisingly, what you really hear is a piece called “L’école Buissonière” by Jean Constantin, taken from Les 400 Coups by François Truffaut. The whole music, as a matter of fact, is taken from Nouvelle Vague films, with a prominent presence of Georges Delerue and a hint of Antoine Duhamel
I have prevented you: this is home.
It is home to the point that, when Frances starts walking/dancing on the streets of New York on Modern Love by David Bowie, the image of Denis Lavant in Mauvais Sang by Leos Carax naturally arises, overlapping the one on the screen. 

Modern Love - Baumbach Version
Modern Love - Carax Version
And how is it possible not to think about Samy Frey, Claude Brasseur and Anna Karina in Bande à Part by Jean-Luc Godard when Frances is sharing the apartment together with Lev and Benji? Nobody will be surprised if these three would start running together in the corridors of the MET…
Bande à part - Baumbach Version
Bande à part - Godard Version
... and, of course, during her short trip to Paris, somebody wants to invite Frances to a party where there is a guy "Who looks like Jean-Pierre Léaud!"
Thus said, Frances Ha is not a good movie because of its hommages to the Nouvelle Vague universe. You can (of course!) see the movie completely unaware of them and enjoy it immensely. Frances character is super interesting: captured in one of those weird moments of life where adulthood should be installed but in fact is not already there, this young woman invades the screen with her clumsy gestures, her free-flowing monologues, her disarming need to be loved and to find her place in the world. Slightly irritating at first, gripping while struggling to survive among many difficulties, absolutely charming in her candid attempts to assert herself. The moment where, completely drunk, she explains what a relationship should be for her, is a little masterpiece, and Gerwig is astonishing in this made-to-measure role.
But be careful: this is not a rom com or a chick flick, this is a modern movie about a young woman whose first need is not to find a man but to find herself. 
Undatable, as her friend Benji keeps describing her? 
Maybe, but also very irresistible!

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