Not really a review. (Yes.)
If you are somewhat versed in underground-ish NYC locations in regards to cinematic experiences. If you like to watch people do shit on the big screen and you have easy cash to spend. Those seats that have more diseases than God saturated in Lysol. If you’re lonely and bored and want to be enlightened or humiliated etc. etc. Well here’s your chance at redemption!
“I Hate Myself :)” (Rooftop Films) opens tomorrow, Friday. This movie is a different kind of conjuring. I liked this movie very much, for a variety of reasons. One reason being if you like GIRLS you might like this movie except its Funny is so black and you might choke on it. It’s make up is no make up. This movie will never make you a phenomenon, and Joanna Arnow, director, won’t be dating that guy from FUN. Or whatever. No. That’s not a nice thing to say. Hollywood here we come!
It is a documentary but it is a sorely different beast than most documentaries I have seen. It is quite devious. It wants you to think it is a documentary about a relationship. In the first scene we are given a premise (that is corrected for not being a premise, but a question): Is James a good person to have a relationship with? James is our very own James Browning Kepple, hosting a lawless Harlem open mic gig in a juice bar decorated with paintings that have no paintings in them, just frames. But this is not a movie about James. This might be a movie about frames.
The title is very fitting. I hate myself :) The smiley face is very fitting. This might be an introspective kind of documentary, exploring this notion, to look really closely at yourself so you might learn something and grow or whatever, but I don’t think it primarily is. I like this movie mostly because it seems to actually be a movie about making a movie more than anything else. Something that you’re suppose to hide, your artifice, your ambitions. Here it is on full display in every scene. One of the primary characters is the editor. They talk about the movie. The editor is naked. They talk about this. This is mostly a movie concerned with what it means to make a movie, and what does life mean when you’re making a movie about it? In a way, the relationship is just an excuse to make a movie about a relationship. Or make a movie about something. Anything. Are we ever not making a movie about our life as we’re living it? What is real and artificial? It seems we should be ashamed to dress up life too much, make it artificial, we are either hiding or being excessive. Want too much. A striving to make life more than life, to want more, which is beautiful.
The movie reminds me of GIRLS but also of Lars Von Trier’s The Idiots. It is very artsy to make a movie about making a movie, as it is artsy to make up rules for yourself pretending to make things more “real” like those DOGMA people did. There’s also a scene in The Idiots toward the end where one of the characters performs her act, her handicap, her art, in front of her family. There is similar uncomfortable explorations in this movie. There’s a lot of uncomfortable stuff going on in this movie. It might make you feel bad but hopefully feeling bad might make you feel good again.
One of my favorite scenes is a scene that wrecks the poetic in a beautiful way. In the scene she wants to film a park bench and narrate something wise or conclusive about the relationship or about the movie, as movies tend to do, this metaphor of the empty park bench and the open sea, but she can’t do it because some guy wants to use the park bench to wash his feet.
In another beautiful/disturbing scene we are watching a fish swimming in an aquarium while a woman announces in hushed conversation: “how can you fuck her?” There is some beauty here in humiliation, and the movie explores this too. The smiley face. I hate myself. And I kind of like it. Sometimes. Love me. Hate me.
I don’t think I have quite seen a movie like this before, so you should definitely finagle a way to see it.
Where and how and stuff: http://rooftopfilms.com/2013/schedule/i-hate-myself/
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