Rebecca Filbin

I feel that, even though my film choices for the theme “Paper,” might be cliché hits on almost every Tumblrgirl’s favorite film list, they all bring a unique quality and perspective to the film industry.  Writing is a big part of each of these films, since putting the characters’ thoughts on papers help connect their relatable feelings to their audiences.  So I now introduce my top three “Paper” themed films.

1.  The Virgin Suicides.  Sofia Coppola’s great hit film, right behind Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette,
both of which I have yet to see, embodies the feeling of this month’s theme almost to a T.  The Lisbon Girls express ethereal personalities
which entrances a group of nameless boys in their town of Grosse Pointe.  Ceceilia write in a journal, commenting on her
depressing, mysterious life and surrondings.  When (spoiler alert) she dies, the journal is a compass used to direct the boys
in their adventure of dissecting the Lisbon girls’ thoughts.  After Lux wins Prom Queen and has a wonderful night with the local
dreamboat Trip, only for him to drop off the face of the Earth, she utilizes postcards to communicated with the infatuated group.

However, not only does The Virgin Suicides fill the literal requirement of “Paper,” but also expresses this “floating” feelings.  The Lisbon Girls are an enigma not only to the curious boys in town, but also the themselves.  They flit along, with a falsifies sense of security and safety, when really they are just as depressed and confused as the rest of us.  Coppola has a way with film from what little I have seen from her, but only two movies (The Blink Ring and this film) are need to express her prowess as a female director.

2.  Moonrise Kingdom.  Wes Anderson, just like Sofia Coppola, has a way with film.  Moonrise Kingdom is no exception.  The two protagonists, young lovers Sam and Suzy, communicate their love, and eventual plans to run away together, via letters.

Although the letter writing process isn’t a major part of the film, it still is an important catalyst for their relationship, as when Suzy delivered her mailing address to Sam, she didn’t just gain a  new pen pal, but a stable family (well, as stable as Sherriff Sharp can be) for her sweet orphan Khaki Scout boyfriend.   Anderson does a remarkably beautiful job with the film’s cinematography and costume design, creating this alternate world of finding a soul mate with the help of some cursive words on a piece of bright pink paper.

MoonrisePenPals

3.  Fire Walk With Me  David Lynch’s sequel/prequel to his cult-hit tv show Twin Peaks was first met with jeers and boos in the theaters it was released in. However, as I and many other fans of the films feel, this movie deserves a second glance. When first watched, the film can be misinterpreted as a half-hearted attempt to revive the world of Twin Peaks. Fire Walk with Me is so much more than that. This is an inside glance into the life of Laura Palmer, prom queen / drug addict / sexual assault victim. Laura seemed out of character to most in this film, but I disagree. Lynch saw an opportunity to revive and retell Laura’s story and he did with a simple item. A big indicator of her personality, in canon and out in the real life, has been her diary. A constant presence since the pilot episode, Laura used her diary as an escape from her life. An item of extreme power is what that bound stack of papers was and is. Harold, Donna, everyone who tried to read her diary viewed it as a window into Laura’s secret life. And oh what a window it was. Her diary broke her away from a preppy prom queen, starlet of the town. It rebuilt her as a scared teenager. It revealed her private thoughts and experiences with B.O.B. (spoilers), aka her possessed father. Inked paper revealed the true Laura Palmer to all fans of Twin Peaks, and that must have been what scared audiences into hating this strange, Lynch-esque film.

Ava Hazelmyer

1. Mister Lonely (2007) directed by Harmony Korine

This movie is spectacular. Coming from the genius Harmony Korine, who has a

knack for making beauty out of the most bizarre concepts; I think it is by far his

sweetest movie. It is the story of a lifelong outsider, a Michael Jackson impersonator,

who moves to a commune of similar “celebrities”. I think it relates to the theme of

Paper because it is ultimately about self-expression, and Michael writing in his diary

is one of the most beautiful scenes I can think of.

2. Pecker (1998) directed by John Waters

Pecker is about the rise of a photographer, Pecker, and the effects his fame have

on the neighborhood. It reflects on what art is and exploitation in art while still

keeping John Water’s amazingly campy style.

3. Bunny and the Bull (2009) directed by Paul King

The Bunny and the Bull is touching, funny, and slightly depressing at times. It

recounts two friend’s ill-fated road trip through an agoraphobic’s collection of

items, using incredibly creative and surreal set design. The story moves along like a

memory, and I think it is lovely, I can really relate to the feeling of constantly being

reminded of something from your past.

4. Mr. Nobody (2009) directed by Jaco Van Dormael

When I think of paper I think of chronicling memories, we use paper to preserve our

pasts with journals, scrapbooks, and photographs. This movie is a nicely confusing

trip down memory lane- for someone that lived in the worlds of multiple different

decisions. Honestly, it is hard for me to explain but it is a very interesting movie

about choices in our lives, starting with the last mortal man on earth recounting his

youth.

5. Stand By Me (1986) directed by Rob Reiner

Okay, I had to include this one. Stand By Me is seriously the king of nostalgic movies.

No matter who you are it will make you want to get a striped shirt and go on

crazy summer adventures with your childhood pals (and cry like a baby). Paper is

nostalgia to me- a lot of what we use it for is to remember the past, and Stand By Me

reminds me instantly of summers I spent with all of my friends biking around the

neighborhood (we never found any dead bodies though).

Alexa Diaz

My Mad Fat Diary – A brief thought on a television show that left me wanting to take over the world

My Mad Fat Diary reminded me that the little folds and ripples across my skin are okay.

My Mad Fat Diary reminded me that I am more important than my schoolwork.

The show makes me want to take over the world as a strong, beautiful, chubby girl.

With two seasons complete, My Mad Fat Diary, stands as a revolutionary media outlet

that reminds girls to remain strong, and have the utmost appreciation for themselves, even if they

live in a world where their body type is not catered to, or even conveyed in a positive manner.

In a world where each episode or TV movie with a somewhat positive representation of a

woman is interrupted by diet or fat-shaming cosmetic surgery commercial, My Mad Fat Diary is

more than a breath of fresh air – it is a new turn of the diary page.

Set in Stamford, Lincolnshire in the year 1996, the television show has gained a

following a fans from all over the world who are able to relate to the characters and the problems

they face as they come of age; for many, the incredible soundtrack is solely a bonus.

The UK series follows 16-year-old Rae Earl, a fat teenage girl who has spent the last four

months of her life in a psychiatric hospital and continues to be held back by her own body image

and perception of herself. As she struggles to adapt to life outside of her safety zone, Rae is

forced to deal with her mental health, social anxiety, and having to fit back in with old friends.

As she makes contact with her best friend since the beginning of time, Chloe, Rae is

thrown back into a world where she realizes that everyone is fighting off their own demons. As

she makes new friends from reconnecting with Chloe, over time, she witnesses these friends

struggle with identity issues such as sexual orientation, pressures to have sex, and teenage

pregnancy.

As Rae’s therapist once said, the show unites its audience because it sends the message

that “there’s a part in all of us that’s scared and not sure. And when you get the ability to see that

in yourself, you start to see that everyone is fighting. Everyday.”

What sets MMFD aside in the television world is its ability to tie in eating disorders,

mental illness, and body image without romanticizing the issues, but utilizes them in a way that

it reminds the audience that they are human; to remind girls that we are humans too.

Solely based upon the first episode, Rae becomes an icon for girls and young women

who are made to feel out of place for their appearance, mental health, and themselves as an

individual. She is clever, she is funny, she is smart, she has an incredible taste in music, but

continues to only define herself by her body type at the end of the day.

Although the audience will see her crumble and break down at several points throughout

the course of the show, Rae always picks herself back up, as difficult as it may be.

For this, she is a hero.

Rae proves to girls who watch the show that they can take back their worlds; it just takes

communication, confidence, patience, and several diaries.

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April 12, 2014

Comments

This post was really lovely and nostalgic at the same time. The Virgin Suicides, Moonrise KIngdom and MMFD are all dear favourites of mine, and I entirely agree with everything said about MMFD. I absolutely adore Rae, and I’m so glad people have Mad Fat because I love having more awesome, unconventional protagonists and it makes me glad that issues which tackle people from many walks of society feature in it. MMFD makes me remember that I’m not just a body with fat and folds and bruises, but a soul, and I think it’s excellent that people can feel more confident and be educated by Rae’s experiences.

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