Girlfriends (1978)

A photographer and her best friend are roommates. She is stuck with small-change shooting jobs and dreams of success. When her roommate decides to get married and leave, she feels hurt and has to learn how to deal with living alone.


Claudia Weill's Girlfriends (1978) is a sweet and simple slice of life dramady the current indie scene owes a lot to. I've seen people tie it to the mumblecore movement and to Lena Dunham's Girls, and I don't think they're wrong, and since it takes place in the New York art world, you can easily throw in Gerwig and Baumbach as film makers who were influenced by this largely female-made film. It's the story of a a young photographer (played by the eminently watchable Melanie Mayron) who loses her best friend and room mate to marriage, and struggles with loneliness and her own growing independence. It's all very mundane, but psychologically rich, whether it's the way her conversations with a new boyfriend are complete nonsense, which can be opposed to the silent chemistry she had with her friend Ann, or the moment she decides not to live in boxes anymore, or that final shot where friendship is necessarily interrupted even though she's found an acceptable middle ground. The most important moment to me is when Mayron gets a picture accepted in a magazine, but seeing it has been cropped, says it's not her picture anymore. This is a life cropped without her consent, and there's something missing from the image. It's about her re-framing that life so that she can own it again. Deceptively complex.

a year ago

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