Sunday, April 08, 2012

New Girls

If you're tired of hearing about Lena Dunham and her upcoming HBO series Girls then this week will be a painful one for you. Dunham and her colleague Jenni Konner talk about the show here. My anticipation is heightened by the fact Dunham cites Whit Stillman's Last Days of Disco as a favorite film, and as Glenn Kenny points out Dunham is in a unique position to explore rarely seen layers of female friendship.
Dunham led off by saying one reason she loved Disco was its portrayal of a "great female friendship," a description that made Stillman raise at least one eyebrow. The film's central relationship is between Chloe Sevigny's Alice and Kate Beckinsale's Charlotte. Charlotte's, as it happens, is one of the most hilarious archetypal underminers in the history of fiction, so blatant in her manipulations that the joke becomes (in my mind at least) how much Charlotte only thinks she's being something like passive-aggressive. Sweet and inexperienced Alice falls for Charlotte's nonsense with a credulity that would make her an utter dupe in a less nuanced film, and this credulity leads to such classic lines as "I think Uncle Scrooge...is sexy." But on reflection, it seems that the fact that Dunham takes the relationship in the film as a friendship is not unrelated to what makes Dunham interesting as a filmmaker.

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