Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Emo-Cinema in the age of Tumblr

When I was a kid I was allowed to watch men getting sliced up and peppered with metal, soft willing tits and fearsome pirate jive, killer sharks and babes from space. I sobbed in five-year-old terror through Jurassic Park (1993), dad called it an education while mum wrung her hands. So I was always surprised when friends had rules and adhered to the rating system. For most of them the Euro art house and contraband slashers came much later. More scrupulous parents tutted at my watch list. Poor innocent babes, my sister and I.

The Red Shoes (1948)

But it wasn’t Barbarella’s orgasmatron or Hannibal Lecter’s Chianti supper that fucked me up, it was Catherine Deneuve. The onscreen ice queen in La Chamade (1968) and Belle du Jour (1967), the glamorous blonde who, way before Tyra, said it all behind the eyes. And then there was Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes (1948), the prima ballerina forced to campily decide between great talent and great love. Technicolor passion splashed across the screen and into my teens. I became a master of the loaded glare, the tragic glance. I drank Oolong tea and stole my mother’s clothes. While everyone else was out having fun in tank tops and blue WKD I was busy staring mournfully out of the window or listening to Serge Gainsbourg and reading A Certain Smile. I started smoking and thought I was as glamorous and damaged as panda-eyed Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).

Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Then one day – LOL, OMG – along came Myspace. From the glowing window in my teenage bedroom I could stare into a sea of similarly kohled-up girls and sensitive boys. And now there’s Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and 8track to host a new generation of troubled femmes in soft grain and pastels, subtitled avatars artfully reflecting their emotional state. Not so unique a tortured soul after all.

I still like Catherine Deneuve but, for the record, I’m pretty big on tank tops now too.

Ella Plevin

This is an online extra 'Notes' feature from Garageland 14: Film

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