Hey Film Muse-ers,
Recently I've been thinking a lot about this blog: what it has become and what it will be. To be honest, I never intended Curbside Fashion to be a blog of almost solely film reviews - yet here we are. I started to question why I liked doing these posts and I realized that it's because I really enjoy other people's visions and success. When the music lines up perfectly and the shot is awe-inspiring I can't help but document it and share it with others. Ever since I was a kid I was mesmerized of how film can generate undeniable empathy within its viewers. All it takes is one good film to see the world differently.
I've learned from my experience as a Fashion Blogger that the field is very individualistic. Your dress size, hair color, and trendy accessories are all compared to the mass consumer market and sometimes the beauty of fashion gets lost. It is hard to explain. Yet I truly believe that watching films can inspire many facets of your life, including fashion. Even flawed films are worth seeing and talking about if they inspire you in other ways, and I believe it is important to support those who put their ideas into the world and don't get enough credit for doing so.
Today I'm bringing you a short film from Grant Singer called IRL (2013).
IRL is a twenty minute long short film starring Sky Ferreira as Angel, a girl who is trying to remember her previous trip-induced NYC night out with a mysterious woman. As Angel tries to piece together the evening, she learns of a murder that took place on the "L" train tracks that she may or may not have been linked to. IRL's characters are hyper stylized, reminiscent of Gregg Araki's '90s teenage crews (Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, Nowhere) - this group peppered with 2013 texting lingo. The underground club scenes are breathtaking, as they would be - given that Grant Singer has done so many great music videos in the past (Night Time My Time, You're Not The One). What I particularly enjoyed about Singer's direction is his curated aesthetic to create a mystery urban world of sterile apartments and neon smoke infused raves. It is clear that Singer's strong suit lies within musical montages that evoke unspoken emotions.
Originally written by Patrick Sandberg, I was very intrigued of the IRL script. As previously mentioned, the artistic head nod to Gregg Araki was crystal clear in terms of the character's dialogue. Araki's characters often spit some kind of razor sharp banter among each other. Araki's films have been ripped apart by critics, mainly for this reason. It isn't always easy to like such blunt (and sometimes vapid) characters. IRL dangerously goes further. Angel's friends obsessively snark at their iPhone screens, creating an insipid cloud of meaningless modern friendships. Although it was clear that Sandberg wanted to show the emptiness of these characters, something did not sit right with me. In fact, I cringed a bit while watching these scenes. Not only is it hard to digest representations of internet subcultures on screen, but I'd imagine that it's even harder to act out the dialogue in a likeable way itself. Some non-actors fumbled with this delivery, yet where IRL lacked in acting it made up for itself in visuals. Watching IRL is a good study in understanding the importance of acting, especially in stylistic settings.
The reason I'm probably the most partial to IRL is because of the cinematographer Jason McCormick's work. The compositions of nearly every shot are so beautiful. The day scenes are washed out in the best way possible, while the night scenes seem to be pulsing with glowing energy. In particular, the warped shots of Angel in the convenience store are some of the most visually interesting frames I've seen recently.
Sky's performance is one of the best. Her expressions are hauntingly meant for this film, and her voice carries the story along. These past few years I've kept a tab on Ferreira, especially when she collaborated with Gaspar Noé (Enter The Void) for her Night Time, My Time album cover. Sky has some great tastes, not only in pop culture - but in collaborators as well. She is one of those artists to keep an eye on.
The stand out characters of IRL were actually Damien Echols and Genesis P-Orridge. They both looked like they stepped out of a Harmony Korine/Gregg Araki movie. It is so clear that they had the vibe that Singer was going for, and they delivered their lines perfectly. They were intensely eerie and somewhat comical - heightening the potency of the film's suspense.
For music fans out there, Salem's John Holland and Gatekeeper's Aaron David Ross among others contributed to IRL as well. Their grainy slow pitched sounds permeate the plot line, so make sure you have a good speaker system or pop in those headphones when you watch the film.
Overall, IRL is one of those films that you should study. While some of the acting is crude, by no means should the film be dismissed. You can learn from films' mistakes while still appreciating the effort, and that is why I make Film Muse posts. I respect this film enough to share it with you all because I see the potential and the seams of the idea. If you are an artist, you should be familiar with these refinement gaps already, and I believe it's important to support those who are still mastering the craft. Regardless, IRL was an enjoyable short film and I will be keeping tabs on all of the film's collaborators. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.