The Diary of a Teenage Girl

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Marielle Heller, director & script based on the graphic novel/autobiography by Phoebe Gloeckner Starring: Bel Powley (Minnie Goetze), Alexander Skarsgard (Monroe), Kristen Wiig (Charlotte, her mother), Christopher Meloni (Pascal MacCorkill), Abigail Wait (Gretel), Madeleine Waters (Kimmie) “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” These words, written by L.P. Hartley, over 60 years ago in the novel The Go-Between echo when thinking about Marielle Heller’s film adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s controversial graphic novel/partial memoir Diary of a Teenage Girl. Things were different back in the Sixties and Seventies especially if you were living in San Francisco or New York. Now it seems nearly impossible to imagine a story without dire consequences about a sexual relationship between a 15-year old girl and a man twice her age, who is her mother’s lover. Yet, that’s what happens to “little” Minnie (Bel Rowley) and Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), who is not only older but impossibly taller than his secret girlfriend. Minnie is living in the chaos of Seventies San Francisco. The hippies have gone but remnants of their culture are everywhere; so are burgeoning gay and punk scenes. Her mom Charlotte (Kristen Wiig) works at a library until she’s fired; then, they seem to live off of air until one of her ex-husbands comes through with a check. Everyone smokes marijuana and drinks including Minnie—and no one opposes it. The film’s tone is struck in the opening scene when we see Minnie walking gleefully through a park filled with local hipsters (ex-beats, hippies and punks) while she thinks, “I just had sex. Holy S@#%!” No self-recrimination here. Minnie is besotted...
Around the World in 50 Concerts

Around the World in 50 Concerts

Heddy Honigmann, director Featuring: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gustavo Nunez, Alice and Portia Makgorane, Michael Masote, Sergei Bogdanov Let’s cut to the chase. Classical 96.3 film and music fans—Around the World in 50 Concerts is made for you. I’ll be astonished if you don’t love it. Put the fine musicians of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw’s Orchestra on tour in Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and St. Petersburg, all beautiful locales, and have them play such old favourites as Bruckner’s 7th, Mahler’s 8th and Shostakovich’s 10th Symphonies. What have you got? About as close as you can get to perfection. But wait—there’s more. Around the World in 50 Concerts is far more than a music film. Frankly, 50 concerts by anyone in 90 minutes would be too much— or too little—of a good thing. Happily, this film is directed by the inimitable Heddy Honigmann. Not known in North America except among aficionados, Honigmann is a true artist and arguably, the finest Dutch documentary director living today. (Like Canada, Holland has a fine documentary tradition, so that’s quite a statement). Honigmann makes films that honour their subjects but go farther than you expect to see. In Around the World, she starts the film with the orchestra’s percussionist. What’s it like to play for only one minute in a symphony? The musician lights up and launches into a detailed explanation of how one plays the cymbals quite spectacularly—but briefly—in the second movement of Bruckner’s 7th. The anticipation of the moment and the delight when he rises and adds his spectacular KLANG to the piece is blissfully human. That’s Honigmann’s great gift. Humanism can seem like...