Saturday, May 9

"I ain't LYING"

Coming off the heels of a rather mild, or rather mildly annoying, experience with Kelly Reichard's newest WENDY AND LUCY- which started strong but eventually mired in it's relentlessly futile, though utterly believable, portrayal of the minor tragedies in the slightly pathetic life of a generation-why? gal- it was not without some considerable trepidation that I found myself reaching for yet another *soft* indie flic, LYING.

But with the tag-line, "five women. one weekend. too many lies." you just have to stop asking questions, especially considering that at least two of those women are the frequently charming Chloe Sevigny and Jena Malone. What I never expected is that I would spend the greater portion of the films modest 90min running time virtually transfixed- lost in the dreamy, intimate and graceful air created by relative newbie director M Blash (who incidentally appears in WENDY AND LUCY as a voice!!!).

While not much actually goes on in the film, it is centered around an all girl weekend getaway at a posh old farm house somewhere deep in the woods of New England. As the ladies hang out, view the garden, picnic, etc. we slowly discern the nature vague nature of their relation to one another and sense a plot coming. This sense of *something* coming grows and grows, without getting much closer in terms of clarity. This is not one of those kind of elicit mind-game/power-play scenarios. Something much quieter, more curious is at foot here.

In his gushing interview with the not-so-mysterious M, Todd Haynes points to Altman's THREE WOMEN and Peter Weir's PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (yeah, I even watched the Bonus Features) while groping at an apt context for LYING. Films that take place within the seductive, strangely mystifying world of women among women, and enjoy a prolonged sense of anticipation, of profound looming mystery. Perhaps even more so due to the fact that they were all made by men, who must forever be outsiders-looking-in at this feminine world.

To call these films feminist would be incorrect. But for the discerning viewer weary of the over-fueled, adrenalin/testosterone driven punch that's the basis for 90% of the crud getting made these days, they come as a most welcome relief (even WENDY AND LUCY for that matter). There is this brilliant scene in LYING where the girls are about to toast and it is decided that there be 'no clanking' this weekend. As if to say, we've had enough of that, this time is for something els-e a breath of fresh air!!!

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