Today I went with my mother to see Spring Breakers for Mother’s Day (there’s a juxtaposition for you), which she walked out of just before James Franco showed up. I can’t say I blame her, although I really enjoyed the film; but if I tried to explain why I enjoyed it … well, I think I’ll start off with something that I can actually articulate first.
Over the past year, my mum has been very supportive and encouraging of my writing, pushing me every now and again in ways I found uncomfortable and intrusive, but almost always ended up being for the right reasons. If it hadn’t been for her, I would probably still be working on the first draft, instead of having almost reached the end of my first revision of it; she got me to really look at the way I was working and why the things about it that didn’t work didn’t work, and to try *gasp* making a schedule and *gasp again* stick to it, to hold myself accountable for doing work by recording my process. And she read my draft and gave me notes on it, and called me up today just to tell me that she read the ending again and thought it was wonderful. So I want to thank her for that. Love ya, mum.
Hence taking her to a film that she ended up walking out of was a little lame; I offered to go see something else with her but she was fine going into a session of Into Darkness that had already begun, and so I stayed and watched the film.
Okay. I take a lot of my inspiration for stories and characters from film and TV rather than books, simply because I watch more films and TV than I read books. Of course, many of the films and TV shows that I like are based on books, and they share similar kinds of emphasis: characters and plot, broadly speaking. So in a sense, I actually do take most of my inspiration from books, even if I interact with them through a different media.
Then you get films like Spring Breakers, and I can’t really ‘do’ anything with it. I enjoyed the film; it was apparently intended to be very uncomfortable for the audience, and again, my mother walked out about half an hour into it, so mission accomplished bro, but I do think that ‘enjoyed’ is the word I’m looking for. I am glad that I saw it, and I enjoy being uncomfortable sometimes. It was a very confrontational film, but not in the way I’d expected it to be. I suppose that just goes to show that trailers don’t always tell you the whole story (although an embarrassing amount of the time, not only do they tell you the story, they tell it better than the actual film).
The only thing I could really say about it, though, was that it left an impression. It was very Freudian, it was saturated with gendered imagery and iconography, and despite how abstract and impressionistic it was, it was also very much rooted in reality, very much commenting on and interacting with modern-day sensibilities – various scenes were shot and scored with all the spectacularised glorification of a music video while depicting events that were downright abhorrent at times; freaking Skrillex contributed to the score; bits of dialogue were looped like a song on repeats; unrelated sounds and images were juxtaposed together and created a disjointed, postmodern miasma that was kind of like a dream, but more like the random, tangential connections of surfing the internet or skipping through a playlist on a whim – it’s very much an ‘ideas film’ rather than a story or character-driven narrative. And the ideas that it brought up were very interesting. It certainly has something to say about the way life is lived nowadays, the way we experience things and the sources from which we draw our identities and understandings. And this kind of exploration of ideas is very well-suited to film.
I have no idea if I could do that in a book, but after seeing this film, I’m starting to realise just how much one of my ideas for a book falls into this same kind of category. Which is a little depressing, really, as I don’t have access to the kind of money it would take to make a film.
And it would be interesting to try and do that with a book. Or just with one of my projects in general, regardless of medium; it is so unlike me.
Much like Tallulah is, really, looking at my body of work, so unlike me. It was an idea that resonated with me because it was so unlike me.
So maybe there’s something in that.
I just might not want to give it to my mother to read.
To whom it may concern: happy mother’s day. I hope you had a good one, whether you were receiving or applying the pampering.