The Lady Is Dead and The Irrepressibles


The lady may be dead but the art here is very much alive. The second great video of the week comes via the always essential Homotography, a short piece by director Roy Raz whose film features a pair of tattooed lesbians, a tennis match involving meat (or something), boys stripping out of their underwear to indulge in some peculiar—and for all we know, metaphysical—sexual congress, an elderly lady dancing round a piano, and a gang of luscious hunks who soap a car before sponging down their own bodies.


Do we have to worry about What It All Means? Of course we don’t, although the usual crowd of bewildered YouTube commenters struggle with comprehension like medieval rustics attempting to decipher so many signs and wonders. Think of it as the kind of thing Wes Anderson might create if someone dosed him with psychotropic chemicals that also turned him gay.


More important for me is the utterly fantastic song which Roy Raz uses, a number entitled In This Shirt by a ten-piece British group, The Irrepressibles, whose name I recognised but whose music I hadn’t heard until this. Lead singer Jamie McDermott’s voice is very reminiscent of Antony Hegarty which is no bad thing, although McDermott is probably weary of the comparison. Our musical culture would be greatly improved by more people taking their lead from Antony. The Irrepressibles’ site has a Soundcloud page where you can hear other songs from their recent Mirror, Mirror album, the CD of which is now on my shopping list. They also have a couple of videos showing their live performances which look rather spectacular. 2010 is turning out to be a good year for British music; when that music comes with cute guys attached it’s an added bonus.


Update: Roy Raz’s film is now also on Vimeo with other of his works.

The Darjeeling Limited


There aren’t many directors whose next films I await with impatience but Wes Anderson is one of them. I still haven’t seen his debut, Bottle Rocket (1996), but Rushmore (1998) was good, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) was great and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) was a masterpiece. The Darjeeling Limited will be out later this year and stars Owen Wilson (who’s been in all of Anderson’s films apart from Rushmore but he did co-write that one) Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman who made his debut in Rushmore and can be seen in another odd and inventive comedy, I Heart Huckabees. Schwartzman also co-writes this new opus. I have an unproven theory that Anderson is responsible for an annoying trend in recent American independent cinema—the “quirky comedy” which features multiple shots of charmingly flawed characters standing motionless centre-screen while staring at the camera. With groovy music playing on the soundtrack. Anderson does (or did) enough of this but he does a lot more besides. His films are better written and a lot more inventive than those of his imitators.

The most striking thing about the Darjeeling Limited trailers and poster (although it’s not something most people would notice) is the complete absence of Futura. Anderson is possibly unique among filmmakers in having what amounts to an obsession with a single typeface; Futura appears in different weights and styles throughout Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic. I’m not quite sure which typeface is used on the poster (and neither are the people at Typophile); Proxima Sans is the closest match I can find but it may be a grotesk variant created specially for the film. I ask you: how many filmmakers are there that can get people talking about their work simply by changing a font?

Previously on { feuilleton }
Masonic fonts and the designer’s dark materials
Helvetica: the film