Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Amelie in Isolation

Amelie exists in the same universe as Enid Coleslaw and Lux Lisbon, the celluloid secret of teenage girls. There's an identi-kit isolation of watching these same movies, in the same suburban homes, intrinsically connected but utterly alone.  

It is a barrel fish target of a movie, it has a Wes Anderson level appreciation for yellow (and consequently a Wes level of whiteness) there are bicycles and garden gnomes and Parisian music. It's corny. It's twee. It's cliche. It's saccharine. Or maybe it isn't any of those things. And these are just the words painted over  the pleasure of any mass media that makes teenage girls happy. Maybe. 

Or maybe cliche is not the question and these simultaneous (but solitary viewings) reflect a broader issue of mass alienation, expressed in minor engagements with a mass media that appears marginal only because you don't have any friends to watch it with. 

A model of viewership that like the girl in the painting is both "in the middle" and "outside".

Because this is a lonely movie:

-Chick Flicks: Contemporary Women at the Movies

And whilst Amelie fills her empty space space with fantasy stories and impossible missions we fill ours with her, pieced together with carefully curated screenshots and handwritten movie quotes. 

'I hate those girls who want to be Amelie' says a girl in my class.
She thinks I am too 'smart' to be lost in such a world but Amelie is as dear to me as the Virgin Suicides and as intrinsic to my survival as Matilda. It taught me to find the bright corners in my seemingly sad, small secondary school life. It introduced me to joy.

As long as times are hard for dreamers young women will need films like Amelie, in all their technicolour unsubtleties, and young men (and sadly young women too), in turn, will need to make fun of them. In short:

"In such a dead world Amelie prefers to dream."