Friday, December 11, 2009

Invisible Explosions: Exploding Girl

The Exploding Girl (2009) - Gray
Photobucket
Upon seeing above picture, against my better judgment I went to see Exploding Girl. You see, I don't really watch these kind of movies. It is directed by Bradley Rust Gray, an indie director better known as the husband/partner of more famed indie director So Young Kim (In Between Days, Treeless Mountain), shown as a part of BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music) Cinemateque's Bradley/Kim mini retro(They've done only two features each), paired up with some of their favorite films.

With its misleading, ironic title, The Exploding Girl (I hear it's a riff on the Cure's Exploding Boy) is a small movie in every sense. The film observes Ivy (Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of Elia Kazan), a college student back home in New York City during the Summer break going through a little bit of heartbreak and little bit of romance. Garden State it's not- not much of narrative/dialog, no parent/child drama. It's not a statement on today's youth nor about womanhood and there is no grand acting to speak of. This economically done film belongs to Kazan- with a lot of tight close ups, we intimately get to observe Ivy, a rather introverted, unremarkable college girl. Perhaps it's her youthful looks and inquisitive eyes full of wonder or her vulnerability that appealed to me. Even though I didn't think the ending was that necessary, I liked this small film a lot.

The quick Q & A session was intimate, as recognized Gray's cinematographer (Eric Lin) who's been shooting a lot of student films. Certainly my generation of filmmakers (in their late 20s to 30s) were influenced heavily by WKW. Gray confirmed that. Then he mentioned Cafe Lumiere, and how he wanted to emulate the look and feel of the film. With Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo) and other minimalist Americanindie filmmakers (Kim, Kelly Reichardt), Gray has a sensitive, economical way of doing things which appeals to me greatly. Their films may lack the smooth stylings of their idols but they have this unkempt grittiness that is quite unique and endearing.

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