Frances Ha
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Frances Ha

‘Frances Ha’ is a very unusual film which is one glaring feature that is sure to turn a lot of people off, it is in black and white. There is an unwarranted prejudiced against his plea among younger cinephiles were been up raised on blockbuster hits with amazing 3-D video, or at least exceptionally well produced color. If you’re of this opinion then it is quite likely that you have missed out on a very large number of excellent films including this one. It is also very likely that you are not prone to have a number of discs in your collection from the Criterion Collection once again this film is an excellent example. ‘Frances Ha’ is about a young woman in her 20s who exemplifies a dominant malaise of regeneration, aimlessness. She bounces from couch to couch after a disagreement with her best friend and roommate. She fancies herself as a professional dancer though she really can’t get a job in that field. She holds onto her dreams even though the likelihood of them ever coming true is rapidly diminishing. This in so much is grown apart from her friend they’re just going in different directions, something that almost all of us have experienced. The most notable aspect of this film is that it is an example of a vital movement within independent film; mumblecore. This focuses around for most of the millennium and focuses on naturalism as the basis for moviemaking. The dialogue is exceptionally conversational and frequently improvised. There is also an emphasis on maintaining a fairly low budget. The concentration is on the performance rather than the production. This is often achieved by using relocations rather than studio sets in the addition of soundtracks is minimal if at all. There is a diverse community of actors, writers, directors and other crewmembers form this very tightknit community. Frequently the star of a film directs in another and provides the screenplay for someone else in the group. This gives the participants of this movement an incredible understanding of what it is to be a filmmaker in the truest sense. Many very popular stars today have been involved in this movement including Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham.

Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) is a 27-year-old woman living in Brooklyn with a best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). So he is finally in a position to move out of Brooklyn into the neighborhood that she is to be stripped of living in, Tribeca, a trendy section of the lower Manhattan. Unfortunately Francis is not doing well as are intended location of dance instructor and she is unable to afford to move. This leads to a somewhat heated discussion of real-life story for Frances. Sophie has moved on with life achieving her goals and moving up but Frances appears to be stagnated, unable to move forward at all. She’s forced to set out on a journey consisting of looking for place to crash into a force to move on. This is very difficult for Frances Sophie was one of the very few stabilizing influences in her life. They’ve enjoyed their time together so much and have grown so close together emotionally that Frances once quips "that they are like a lesbian couple" that no longer have sex." An example of the growing apart is that Sophie is always with a smart phone, never out of touch: the visible manifestation of her drive. In stark contrast Frances is unable to manage even the most meager grip on reality finding that she is completely confused over such fundamental things as credit card limits for ATM fees. Making matters worse when Sophie gets a new apartment she also manages to have a new boyfriend further making Frances feel incomplete as a person. Sophie works at Random House which is really her career as a writer and editor while Frances is currently an understudy in a modern dance company she is notably outclassed by the other dancers. One in particular, Rachel (Grace Gummer), a perfectly slim and graceful young woman who face is never marred by even the slightest trace of emotion. This character is a case that clearly demonstrates the brilliance of this movie. Although relatively minor character the part is handled by an incredibly impressive actress. Ms. Gummer is the daughter of Hollywood legend Meryl Streep but did not require that connection become one of the most sought after actresses with significant parts in such a claim television shows as, ‘Mr. Robot’, ‘American Horror Story ‘and ‘Extant ‘. This is typical of mumblecore, attracting some of the greatest young talent available one not about taking lesser roles in the production. The character also heightens the contrast with Frances. Rachel is a perfectionist while Frances and barely make it through a day.

The journey that Frances takes to find a place to rest ahead includes moving in for a while in Chinatown briefly staying with her friends Lev (Adam Driver) and Benji (Michael Zegen). Frances does try to broaden out from New York City with a Christmas visit to her parents in her hometown of Sacramento, California. She’s manages a two-day getaway to Paris France which she blithely charges on the credit card. Her travels bring Frances to Poughkeepsie where she works for a friend from Vassar as a waitress over the summer. Finally the circuit is complete and she winds up in Washington Heights. Throughout all this time she is constantly complaining about the lack of funds have dancing is not working out. Still she does very little to correct the situation. Borrowing a phrase from Scarlett O’Hara you might say that Frances is always lived by the kindness of others.

The main reason why independent the film is so crucial for the development of the cinematic arts is that a story like this is so beautifully told and yet a major studio would be very reluctant to take a chance on it. They we would just see that the protagonist of the story is such that it is extremely difficult to make a likable. Although Frances is a generally amiable person but her lack of conviction and drive to be irritating even the best friend. Mumblecore typically focuses on twentysomethings telling a story from within their ranks. The cloud of contributors provide a vast repository of experience both in telling stories that this and having lived them. Ideas tend to float between productions expanding and contracting as necessary. You might notice that Frances is quite similar to a character in the HBO series space ‘Girls’. Lena Dunham may not have been involved directly in this production but undoubtedly a friendship with most of the participants was of great influence. This is supported by how the character of Lev as portrayed by Adam Driver is very similar to his role as Adam on ‘Girls’. Although mumblecore film such as this rarely achieves the recognition they deserve in most of the major award ceremonies although they are certainly an excellent training ground because many of their alumni to stand on the podium accepted golden trophies. It is fantastic that this film has been inducted into the Criterion Collection which recognizes some of the most influential achievements in cinema ever made. It might be an acquired taste but ‘Frances Ha’ is a movie that will definitely even lasting emotional imprint. This is a gentle film that just cannot be ignored and should be viewed by anyone claiming to be a devotee of film.

bulletNew Conversation Between Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich And Baumbach
bulletNew Conversation Between Actor And Filmmaker Sarah Polley And The Film’s Cowriter and Star, Greta Gerwig
bulletA New Conversation About The Look Of Frances Ha Between Baumback, Director Of Photography Sam Levy, And Pascal Dangin, Who Did The Film's Cowriter and Star, Greta Gerwig
bulletNew Conversation About The Look Of Frances Ha Between Baumbach, Director Of Photography Sam Levy, and Pascal Dangin, Who Did The Film's Color Mastering
bulletBooklet Featuring An Essay By Playwright Annie Baker

Posted 03/07/2016

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