Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dolla Dolla Bill Y'all

It's always so weird when people start talking about money in American movies. I mean in the realistic sense -- not in the Money Train (it's a train, loaded with money!) sense; not in the "Demi Moore in her underwear rolling around in it" sense -- but in the practical, day-to-day, stealing-a-loaf-of-bread sense. Honestly it makes me immediately uncomfortable, because a part of me is a simpleton who longs for an escape from my bank account (the real horror movie) when I step into the cool shadows of a movie-house. 

There is something "foreign" seeming about it. Not because other cultures are more obsessed with notions of class -- news-flash, everybody is; it's just Americans are just the best liars on the planet. We buy cavernous refrigerators and large screen TVs and plunk them down in our disposable double-decker cardboard hovels and talk about what's in them and on them, pretending we're in the room with the Kardashians, being gratuitously everything alongside. 

So watching Ira Sachs' new film Little Men kept making me think about foreign movies. Not quite so far back The Bicycle Thief, although that bread line would make you think so - I guess that's just the gold standard. More like Two Days One Night and Farhadi films like The Past and A Separation, and I am guessing that Sachs will be flattered by the company I say he keeps, as he should be.

Like those movies Little Men is intimate, at times unbearably so, focused on the minutia of actual living by actual people in small not terribly well-lit spaces. How dark and sparse and unadorned is that first floor shop? I have walked by shops like that in off-brand neighborhoods, seen the random assortments of things in the windows, and wondered... many things. How they live, who goes in there. Little Men wonders those things, and shows us one possible story - one possible story that feels natural, and right, and speaks in an even, lovely voice of all of our own stories.

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