Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"Frances Ha": such a little black-and-white comedy about pretensions

Frances Ha”, by Noah Baumbach, is a little black-and-white movie in the film style of the 50s.  It was even smaller than the previews (which had shown it as full wide screen) had made it look (it’s “just” 1.85:1).  This time, in the worlds of New York, Sacramento CA (at Christmas) and Paris, and in the woods in upstate New York, I really wanted to fill in the color.
Of course the theme is touching enough, for comedy.  How many of us pretend to have capabilities or influence we really don’t have?  Frances, marginally lesbian, doesn’t really have a relationship, or a stable apartment, or any artistic skills, as at dance, even though she “apprentices” at a dance company. The owner tries to get her to take a “real” day job.
The dance sequence reminded me of “Angels, Demons and Savages” which played at the Phillips Collection in Washington, review on my “drama” blog Feb. 14 – even the music was similar.

Frances (Greta Gerwig) is supposed to be getting somewhere with Sophie (Mickey Sumner), and when she isn’t, well, maybe she’ll move in with a boy  friend, but won’t.  She runs around in annoying circles.

The young men in the movie (Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Patrick Heusinger) are all attractive and appeling, but you don’t see much of them, literally or figuratively.

I saw this film Monday before a small crowd at the AMC Shirlington.

The official site (IFC and Celluloid Dreams) is here
Does the “Ha” mean anything?  A  tech writer friend recently responded to a direct tweet with that word – anticipating the movie?

Picture: San Diego (not Sacramento); an aunt's house, a picture from the late 1950's (father's estate).  

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